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IDC Analyst Connection Part 1 - Improving IT Efficiency and Enabling the Business with Converged Infrastructure

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The motivations for adoption of converged infrastructure are threefold: faster time to market, increased cost advantage and improved efficiency, and greater infrastructure and operational …

The motivations for adoption of converged infrastructure are threefold: faster time to market, increased cost advantage and improved efficiency, and greater infrastructure and operational improvements. HP posed 5 questions to Jed Scaramella, research manager for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends practice, including: What are the risks for IT not evolving its infrastructure? How can converged systems deliver efficiency to enterprise IT and overall benefits to the business? This is Part 1 of a 3 part series on IT convergence.

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  • 1. IDC 1634 I D C A N A L Y S T C O N N E C T I O N Jed Scaramella Research Director, Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends Improving IT Efficiency and Enabling the Business with Converged Infrastructure January 2014 IDC forecasts that overall spending on converged systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.7% from $2 billion in 2011 to $17.8 billion in 2016. The motivations for adoption of converged systems are threefold: faster time to service/market, increased cost advantage and improved IT efficiency, and greater infrastructure and operational improvements. Commonly, what drives an initial investment in a converged systems approach is tied to new initiatives, business applications coming online, new IT projects (i.e., VDI, private cloud), or a greater focus on cost containment and IT efficiency gains. The following questions were posed by HP to Jed Scaramella, research director for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends practice, on behalf of HP's customers. Q. What are some of the pressures facing businesses today that IT is being asked to address? A. There is a significant transformation happening in the market today, with industries putting information technology (IT) at the center of accelerating this transformation. Industries are looking to leverage IT to gain a competitive edge in their marketplace, and enterprises that do not keep pace in evolving their IT will risk falling behind. Specifically, this could mean increasing the efficiency in healthcare for greater patient care and fewer days per bed turn (enabling hospitals to treat more patients). It may also mean an airline analyzing massive streams of data volumes to ensure on-time arrivals while reducing costs across its operations. IDC talks about how the "Digital Universe" — all digitized information created, replicated, and consumed in a year — will continue to explode, driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, apps, social media, and the Internet of Things. To target the correct investment opportunities, companies need to be able to drive valuable insights and real-time decision making from this data avalanche. By combining the capabilities of advanced computing, data analytics, and the vast connectivity delivered by the cloud, enterprises have the potential to transform their industries. Innovations driven by IT are enabling enterprises to speed the delivery of products and services, establish deeper connections with their clients, and improve the productivity of their own employees — wherever and whenever they may work.
  • 2. ©2014 IDC2 Q. What are the major challenges facing IT organizations in terms of IT infrastructure? A. One of the major challenges is transforming the IT environment from the old PC era to the new cloud world in which everything is connected — or as IDC refers to it, the "3rd Platform." As people increasingly expect access anywhere to resources, IT really is viewed as something like electricity. The data that organizations have to manage now originates from nontraditional sources (e.g., social media networks and mobile devices), and traditional sources. All this data needs to be accessed, stored, and managed. To handle these requirements, the datacenter has become one of the cornerstones of the business. Enterprise IT systems have to evolve to handle these new requirements. This requires moving away from the traditional siloed architecture in the datacenter in which server, storage, and networking technologies have their own management platforms and processes. The legacy approach to IT is complex and intensive to manage. As a result, there will be a widening gap between what the business demands and what IT can deliver. IT has to figure out how to converge the datacenter and simplify management so that more time can be devoted to value-added initiatives and projects. Q. What are the key factors contributing to inefficiencies in IT system deployment and administration? A. Operational issues are creating major inefficiencies. With the traditional siloed model of IT, the architecture is distributed. Each group — server, storage, networking, application development — is distinct, and they all operate in different silos with different processes and different technologies. Getting pieces of the IT environment to work together requires a lot of integration of the disparate hardware on the customer's part. IDC finds that about 80% of IT staff time is spent just on keeping IT systems up and running. This leaves only 20% of staff time for innovation. The amount of time spent on mundane tasks is a direct result of trying to provision and deploy all the disparate silos of technology and ensuring that they work together, as well as the complexity of the ongoing management. The legacy approach is unsustainable going forward. It is too limiting to the enterprise because each silo has its own administration team, process, management tool, etc. The process of maintaining and coordinating the disparate silos is costly, time consuming, and error prone. Q. What are the risks for IT not evolving its infrastructure? Can the business be impacted? A. There is risk from both the business perspective and the IT perspective. As most IT departments report their budgets are stagnant, they must control capital spend and new purchases. As a result, IT must operate more efficiently by finding new ways of doing more with the same or even smaller budgets. When considering all the initiatives that are required — mobile, cloud, social, and so forth — IT must operate very differently. Just staying the course will cause IT capabilities to fall behind, which in turn will impact the business. Customers expect to be able to interact with the companies they do business with — and not just via the phone anymore. Customers want to connect via the Web, the cloud, and social media. The ability of an organization to connect with customers could be impacted negatively, especially if the internal gap between IT delivery time and business demand widens. It may no longer be acceptable to take 10 weeks to get an application up and running from the time of the request. Today, organizations must implement IT services more quickly; otherwise, the business will be affected. Over the longer term, companies that do not invest in technology to closely align IT with the business will face major challenges in their industry. An enhanced IT ecosystem is required to increase efficiency and enable smarter decision making.
  • 3. ©2014 IDC 3 Q. How can converged systems deliver efficiency to enterprise IT and overall benefits to the business? A. Converged systems are a different approach to enterprise IT. Such systems are built on tested technology that brings together previously disparate silos of server, storage, and networking technology in a preoptimized and preintegrated platform. Converged systems essentially rightsize the compute, storage, and networking needs to a particular infrastructure demand or a particular workload. All the provisioning, sizing, and testing is done by the vendor using its system-building expertise. What this means is that the enterprise IT customer no longer has to worry about the traditional kinds of provisioning, integrating, and tuning of systems. With converged systems, provisioning is greatly enhanced, improving both IT staff productivity and time to workload provisioning. These are two of the biggest benefits that organizations realize. In terms of IT staff, organizations can reallocate their workforce to spend more time on innovative tasks that add value to the business rather than maintenance types of tasks. A converged infrastructure is also enabling IT to more quickly provision IT workloads to the business. One significant advantage of converged systems is the simplified management. With a centralized management platform, all of the components are handled within the integrated system. There is one common management platform across the server, networking, and storage components. This is a much more efficient way to manage previously disparate IT silos. Moving from multiple management platforms to a single unified management system can also reduce costs by eliminating the need to utilize and maintain multiple management tools. A B O U T T H I S A N A L Y S T Jed Scaramella is a research director for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends. In this role, he examines server systems deployed within the datacenter, with an additional focus on integrated solutions. Mr. Scaramella is also responsible for a number of forecasts and studies on datacenter virtualization, cloud adoption, and vendor strategies . A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O N This publication was produced by IDC Custom Solutions. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Custom Solutions makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the Custom Solutions information line at 508-988-7610 or gms@idc.com. Translation and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC, visit www.idc.com. For more information on IDC Custom Solutions, visit www.idc.com/gms. Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015 www.idc.com