Lynn Collier

Lynn Collier

EMEA Solutions Manager at Hitachi Vantara

Data Centre Magazine speaks with Lynn Collier about the future of hybrid data centres and how Hitachi Vantara is committed to reducing its carbon footprint

As the data centre world continues to adapt and evolve to new technologies, a hybrid setup is proving to be popular. In the world today, data centres need to be adaptable to suit changing business requirements.

A hybrid data centre harnesses virtualisation, cloud and software-defined networking to deliver application workloads everywhere across physical data centres and multi-cloud environments.

This month Data Centre Magazine speaks with Lynn Collier, EMEA Solutions Manager at Hitachi Vantara, about some of the benefits that hybrid data centres can offer businesses, about hybrid cloud-based setups, the importance of sustainable data centres, and what Hitachi Vantara is doing to advance its own carbon footprint reductions.

When it comes to the sustainable data centre, why is having a hybrid cloud setup important?

Hybrid cloud ecosystems are important for sustainable data centres to allow for efficient allocation of resources, in turn enabling organisations to balance their workloads between on-premises infrastructure and cloud services based on demand, energy efficiency, and cost considerations. 

Hybrid cloud is the way forward for sustainable data centres. The flexibility can support the optimisation of energy use, thus reducing the carbon footprint and working towards sustainability goals. Businesses can leverage the best of public cloud extensibility, agility and pre-built services and on-premises capabilities for best performance, control, security and compliance.

What strategic advantages do hybrid data centres offer businesses?

Hybrid cloud bridges the gap for hybrid data centres between data centre resources and cloud environments, offering a balanced approach for organisations navigating their digital transformation. In fact, 79% of UK organisations admit that a hybrid cloud operating model, with its mix of on-premises private cloud and third-party public cloud services, is the right one for their next five-year journey.

By leveraging a mix of on-premises data centres, private clouds, and public cloud services, organisations can enjoy unparalleled flexibility. This model allows for the strategic placement of workloads based on compliance, performance, and cost considerations, addressing the growing complexity of managing data across multiple platforms.

Now more than ever, the hybrid cloud strategy is crucial for businesses dealing with increasing volumes of data. It ensures that data can be managed between on-premises and cloud environments, overcoming potential challenges such as high costs, technical or security issues relating to data transfers. 

Hybrid solutions provide cloud-like velocity with better operational cost and flexibility.

How do businesses navigate the technical complexities of integrating on-prem infrastructure with cloud services in a hybrid setup?

Businesses navigating the technical complexities of integrating on-prem infrastructure and data management practices with the support of the cloud can and should look towards the green data centre model. This is a shift that 60% of IT business leaders and C-suite executives already see as a major priority for their organisations, according to Hitachi Vantara data from 2023.

These centres address these issues and focus on reducing energy consumption and environmental impact by using energy-efficient hardware, renewable energy sources, and innovative cooling technologies. They represent a vital step towards creating a much more sustainable, digital infrastructure, offering a blend of operational cost savings as well as a reduced carbon footprint. 

Utilising this approach will not only align with business and environmental goals but also support the technical and operational efficiencies that businesses look for when integrating diverse IT infrastructure. 

How does a hybrid data centre approach compare to traditional or fully cloud-based models?

In considering operational efficiency, the hybrid data centre approach strikes a balance between traditional on-premises models and fully cloud-based systems. This model allows organisations to leverage the benefits of both worlds, offering flexibility in scaling resources based on demand and workload profile.

The hybrid approach enables efficient cost management by using on-premises infrastructure for specific workloads where performance, control and security may be a priority, while harnessing the scalability and agility of the cloud for variable workloads requiring burst capabilities, agile environments or to take advantage of pre-built services. This dynamic resource allocation can lead to optimised costs, avoiding the potential pitfalls of large upfront capital expenditures associated with traditional models, and benefiting from the flexibility of the pay-as-you-go model of the cloud.

Furthermore, the hybrid approach caters to different organisational needs, addressing concerns related to data governance and compliance. By allowing sensitive data to remain on-premises for compliance reasons and utilising the cloud for less sensitive workloads, organisations can navigate regulatory requirements effectively.

Ultimately, deciding between a hybrid, traditional, or fully cloud-based model depends on an organisation's specific needs, existing infrastructure, and budget considerations. 

What emerging trends or technologies do you foresee influencing the evolution of hybrid data centres?

The evolution of hybrid data centres is set to be influenced by various emerging technologies and trends. One such trend is edge computing, which involves the processing of data closer to the source, or end-user devices. These capabilities enable hybrid data centres to efficiently handle data processing at the edge of the network, reducing latency and improving real-time decision making. 

Another trend that has emerged is the opportunity to create a unified architecture to efficiently manage both public and private cloud challenges. This data platform addresses all environments, managed by a single AI-enabled software stack, enabling businesses to run applications anywhere—on-premises or in the public cloud.   

By eliminating infrastructure silos, businesses are empowered to build a data foundation that enables them to consume the necessary data when and where they need it. This approach allows organisations to optimise their cloud journeys and avoid costly pitfalls that hinder their digital transformation success.  

Finally, sustainability initiatives are increasingly influential in the evolution of the hybrid data centre. Eco-friendly data centres present a range of greater opportunities for organisations, including growing their business, attracting investment, meeting customer expectations, and optimising costs – all while aligning with regulatory requirements and sustainability goals.

How can businesses best prepare for a sustainable and technologically advanced future?

Businesses can prepare for such a future by setting clear, measurable and achievable sustainability goals which also align with broader environmental objectives. To achieve these goals, steps such as minimising waste and working to enable responsible resource consumption will be key.

Hand in hand with these goals, businesses should invest in green technologies and practices across operations, including energy-efficient infrastructures, renewable energy sources, and sustainable supply chain management. There are plenty of viable options available to be explored, such as smart buildings, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and solar power, which significantly reduce environmental impact as well as operational costs.

It’s essential to remain proactive when integrating sustainability into business operations and embracing technological advancements. These changes not only present a golden opportunity to create a better and more sustainable business, but to get ready for a future that will continually be transformed by technology.

What is Hitachi Vantara doing to reduce its own carbon footprint?

We are deeply committed to environmental sustainability at Hitachi Vantara, and to contributing to the creation of a decarbonised, resource-efficient society. We’re striving to be carbon neutral by 2030 in our factories and offices, and across our global chains by 2050.

We’re working tirelessly to reduce our carbon footprint through collaborations and partnerships, which we view as a fundamental piece of the puzzle of solving today’s digital challenges. As an example, our work with our customer Gijima enabled the business to sustainably power its infrastructure, ultimately reducing energy consumption by 66%. We also utilise intelligent data infrastructure and data platforms ourselves to meet our sustainability targets.

Ultimately, our goal is to significantly reduce CO2 emissions through our products and services, aligning our commitments to corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.


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