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IT’s role in empowering the future business
Kathy Gibson reports from MyWorld of Tomorrow – In the new IT era, systems have to be fundamentally changed, moving from predictable to elastic IT services.
There has been tremendous change in this decade already, says Nigel Page, chief technologist and strategist: EMEA at HP. Terms like cloud have already become almost passe, and blended into the hybrid cloud concept.
The business landscape has also changed dramatically, and there is scarcely a company in the world that is expecting business as usual going forward.
“So how does IT react to that?” he asks. “WE believe, as an IT stakeholder, you need to redefine your IT capability to your end users. If you don’t, your business will potentially be compromised by digital start-ups that are challenging traditional business models.”
IT needs to find ways of doing that in a way that moves from predictive to elastics, capitalising on innovation opportunities.
“But we need to do it in an open and industry standard way,” Page adds.
“Looking ahead, I would make a bold statement that what we are building today won’t scale and be capable in two, three or four years’ time.
“There is evidence to prove that. Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t new, but companies haven’t been able to exploit the data generated. The reason is that, architecturally, they can’t take in the data from edge devices and being able to make decisions around it – this is inherently where we have issues.
“The way we build systems today is designed for today’s use cases. When we look ahead we need to make sure our systems can support the business.”
In the new style of business, companies generate business outcomes by rapidly creating and brokering new services, They predict threats and manage risk. They provide realtime insight and understand. And they do this while delivering continuously.
Today, only 1% of the data we generate is being turned into information, Page points out. “We need to increase that 1% to double digit.”
Page points out that HP has been talking about IoT for some time – and will make some significant announcements around it in December.
A number of elements come together to challenges and change the way organisations do things.
These are the magnitude of data, the flash flooding of legacy databased, the inability to secure systems, time to integrate data, the need for realtime insight, and insufficient resources.
HP’s strategy focuses on four areas: transform to a hybrid infrastructure; protect the digital enterprise; enable workplace productivity; and empower the data-driven organisation.
“There are a couple of things we are doing that will make it a very valuable proposition,” Page says. The ultimate goal is to provide access to the hybrid infrastructure for 100% of the applications, information and workloads that securely powers the enterprise. And this has to be consumed at the right cost and right level, he adds.
Much of this capability will be enabled by the software-defined data centre (SDDC). “This is not a product,” says Page. “It is a strategy.”
In this new style of IT, the application starts to have genuine control and communication with the infrastructure to determine what it needs. IT can enable the control layer so the applications have programmable access to the infrastructure.
This accelerates both cloud and convergence, while allowing IT to manage a unified view of both physical and virtual assets.
The new style of IT also provides open choices for improving technology, processes and the workforce, Page says. “This is incredibly important,”
HP’s new direction is to bring together a software-defined infrastructure that includes application value, operations value and consumption. This allows IT to build an applications portfolio made up of new and traditional workloads that are transformed, integrated and operated. These applications and portfolios will increasingly have API connectivity to the control layer.
Bimodal IT means that the systems of record, managed in an ITIL framework, remain separate from the new systems of engagement that typically take place in a DevOps environment. Page stresses that both need to be managed through the control layer to ensure resources are properly allocated.
In the new style of business, elastic supply is enabled by open standards, converged solutions, virtualised landscape, with integrated management and integrated security, cloud-like agility and a software-defined infrastructure.
Looking forward, Page says we are moving into new age of composable IT. This goes beyond hardware convergence through a single management plane that orchestrates fluid and disaggregated pools of computer, storage and network.
Composable infrastructure is designed with a different approach by starting with a singular architectural view versus traditional siloed infrastructures.
Key to composable infrastructure is that the way IT will be able to access resources via the API, a single line of code to abstract every level of infrastructure.
The new infrastructure will offer software-defined intelligence that is template-based to perform operational changes in a single step. It will be self-discovering, self-assembling, self-securing, self-orchestrating and self-healing.
This will give developers access to resources as never before, and allow them to do things they can’t imagine today, Page says.
“This is a major evolution, a major step forward. Composable is the new way we will build software-defined infrastructure.”
It will enable faster deployment for the new style of business, with instant flexing of traditional workloads.
Beyond composable infrastructure is what HP calls the Machine – it believes this is driving the next era of architecture.
“The role of taking compute, connecting it to storage, this doesn’t scale. There could be as many as 10 hops to get to the data. We are going to move data to in-memory. We can start seeing data retained in persistent memory.
The power of being able to do that – it’s incredibly powerful. Think of the world biggest back keeping all its data in-memory and having access to it.
Photonics will be the way data is accessed. And special purpose cores will access the memory, via photonics, as they need it.
“We believe that, in 18 months’ time, this will be the way we build systems.”