Guest Blogger: Adelaide O’Brien, Research Director, Government Digital Transformation Strategies at IDC
Through her work at IDC, Adelaide drives better understanding of the full scope of efforts needed for digital transformation. This includes focusing on innovative technologies like Big Data, AI, cognitive, and cloud in the context of government. Her research includes threats and opportunities facing government ecosystems in leveraging agency information as a critical asset, allowing stakeholders to make better decisions, providing better services and experiences for constituents, and reacting in real time to limit liabilities and manage risks.
This is the first in a two-part series addressing how to make multi-cloud work for government, covering hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) as an iterative step beyond converged infrastructure.
The future of cloud
As IDC analyzes the future, we believe that multiple cloud options will continue to be an enabler of 3rd platform technologies such as mobility, Big Data/analytics, and social business, as well as innovation accelerators such as IoT, AI, machine learning, and cognitive computing. Agencies will continue to deploy cloud options not only for lower total cost of ownership, but increasingly to support a better customer experience, better SLAs, and reallocate today’s maintenance dollars to digital transformation initiatives.
Cloud service operations — such as provisioning and monitoring — will need to evolve to a structured and consistent framework, and will need a more autonomous IT environment. This need becomes even more significant in a multi-cloud world where different providers have different APIs, workflows, and tools to manage their services. And with the growing importance of analyzing real-time critical infrastructure data, smarter technologies are required. Also, systems that ensure reliability, security, and performance across hybrid-IT will become increasingly critical for mission success.
Today, many agencies are aware that their IT resource consumption is not optimal. Line of business workload needs change over time, and this drives variable compute and storage needs. One way to prevent this underutilization of resources is to introduce flexibility into the architecture by expanding computing and storage resources independently.
And, as agencies deploy applications to improve efficient and effective services, agencies may require a simple and efficient IT platform that provides easy consumption for application workloads. Complex systems require the expertise of a highly skilled technical staff, and typically take longer to deploy the required computing, storage, and network infrastructure.
As part of an IT modernization strategy, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) can provide the agility of cloud while still retaining control of on-premise infrastructure. Sometimes referred to as a “datacenter” in a box, HCI combines storage, computing, and networking into a single system to reduce data center costs and complexity, while increasing scalability. If properly designed, hyper-converged infrastructure can rival the speed and simplicity of public cloud solutions:
- HCI takes converged infrastructure to the next level, virtually implementing software-defined elements, providing seamless integration into the hypervisor environment, and simplifying deployment of all four phases – implement, design, operate, and troubleshoot.
- HCI can integrate both hyper converged hardware and software to improve OPEX and provide better TCO and configuration simplicity with less variability.
- Predictable pay-as-you-grow economics as resource demand drives scale, allowing agencies to easily and efficiently expand capacity.
Benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure
IDC believes hyper-converged infrastructure represents an important evolution of convergence through eliminating the silo-approach to the network, compute, and storage components that make up the data center stack. HCI allows IT to spend less time provisioning, integrating, and operating infrastructure and spend more time adding value to the application lifecycle process, such as managing virtual machines, applications, and software, and ensuring mission outcomes.
To learn more, read the IDC Analyst Connection paper, Maximizing the Value of Cloud in Government Transformation.