Apr 1, 2021

The world of the data-forward enterprise

Data Centres
Big Data
Analytics
storage
Dean Yates
4 min
Dean Yates, Rubrik’s VP for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, takes a look at the road ahead for the digitally enabled, data-forward enterprise.
Dean Yates, Rubrik’s VP for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, takes a look at the road ahead for the digitally enabled, data-forward enterprise...

From florists to hotels, big pharma to healthcare, every industry and every business has gone through, is in the throes of, or is about to dive into its own data revolution.It’s an exciting time for realising the potential of our collective data, and a necessary mind-shift to further edge the enterprise into the modern digital world. Data is the lifeblood of the modern world, but not every business is up to the task of mining it for all it’s worth. IT organisations understand the importance of data management, yet most are not doing enough to prepare for future data challenges: findings from a recent IDC survey found that 44.5% of CIOs anticipate that data sprawl will be a major, potentially devastating issue two years from now if their organisation continues in its current approach to data control and management. Unsurprisingly then, IT organisations are struggling to capitalise on the value of their data, which can drastically impact their bottom line. In fact, organisations that were surveyed without an enterprise-wide data management solution incur 66% more operational costs and are 67% slower to market than their innovative peers.It’s clear that, while recent uptake of cloud services due to a need for remote working show a positive shift in cloud adoption, IT leaders worldwide still aren’t seeing the cloud for what it is: an indispensable part of their IT infrastructure that will be a critical area of investment for effectively managing their growing ocean of data.

Overcoming modern data challenges

The solution, which will allow the enterprise to bridge the gap between their untamed data oceans and the value they know they can mine, lies in a company-wide data management platform. 

The modern enterprise sits on millions if not billions of files of data, yet without a new, ground-up approach, digital businesses will face the same challenges again and again: how do they create backup copies? How do they effectively move and store those copies? And how do they identify and recover the data they need when they need it? 

They’re on the precipice of data greatness, they know they need to shake up their data management strategy, yet they know their current tape-based solution isn’t what’s going to shepherd them to a bright, data-powerful future. A modern cloud data management platform, on the other hand, is custom-built to usher in a new age of data manipulation for these organisations, comprising core features that turn data lakes into a tool, not a hindrance: 

  • Intricate, accessible data archival: a solution worth its salt should make data archival a straightforward, seamless and easy-to-manage process - be that across public or private clouds. Ideally, this includes the ability for users to automate long-term data retention by moving a slider in the same policy engine as their backup and replication schedules, as well as automated SLA compliance reporting that instantly notifies users on capacity utilisation and growth. These features are what will set a good cloud data management platform from a great one.
  • Data security and flexibility, wherever, whenever: the second feature to seek out, especially in this brave new remote world, is the ability to extend data management, and protection, to remote offices or wherever else your scattered workforce may be operating from. From here, these remote locations can backup data locally, replicate it to the central data hub of the enterprise, and archive it to the cloud - preferably via an intuitive, easy-to-navigate UI.
  • Instant backups, instant recovery: in a nutshell, this looks like continuous data protection and instant recovery of your data, without manual storage provisioning slowing you down. As radically simple as it sounds, this puts an end to job scheduling, delivers rapid recovery times, and equips users with the tools to effortlessly search for and identify data across an enterprise.
  • Data replication and recovery in the face of a crisis: Finally, in preparation for the perimeter breach we’ll all one day be faced with, your cloud data management platform must offer an easy to implement, effective disaster recovery strategy. To shine here, your chosen solution will use asynchronous, deduplicated replication, native data recovery orchestration, and cloud instantiation to automate a complete disaster recovery plan - to name a few.

Well-architected cloud data management will be new to many organisations, but it’s a concept they’ll have to bring themselves up to speed with if they don’t want their data lakes turning into unmanageable data swamps in the future. In doing so, the modern digital business will champion digital transformation and data manipulation, better embrace the cloud - and further accelerate that all-important adoption - and begin indexing, organising and utilising their data in new ways that can only strengthen their proposition.

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Jun 6, 2021

Unlocking the next chapter of the digital revolution

Dell
servers
IT
Technology
Tim Loake
5 min
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies highlights the importance of often-overlooked digital infrastructure

As the world retreated to a hybrid world in 2020, our reliance on technology took the spotlight. But it was the jazzy new social and video calling platforms that took the encore. Behind the scenes, our servers worked overtime, keeping us connected and maintaining the drumbeat of always-on newly digital services.  Let’s take a moment to pay our respect to the unsung technology heroes of the pandemic – the often-forgotten IT infrastructure keeping us connected come what may. After all, as we look ahead to more resilient futures, they will be playing a central role.

Servers could be likened to our plumbing – vital to well-functioning homes but rarely top of mind so long as it is functioning. Never seen, rarely heard – our servers do all the graft with little praise. But it is essential to reflect on the incremental advances in GPU and CPU power, which have paved the way for new workloads that previously were not possible. Chatbots and native language processing that provide essential customer touchpoints for businesses across the retail and banking sectors rely on powerful servers. They also keep businesses competitive and customers happy in an always-on world. 

Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies
Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies

Serving workplace transformation

But, as businesses grappled with pandemic disruptions, the focus was largely on adopting connected devices – and awe at the rapid increase in the datasphere.  As they reined in their budgets and attempted to do more with less, one aspect was perhaps overlooked—those hard working servers.

When it came to building resilience into a newly remote workforce, the initial concern was focused on the device endpoints – keeping employees productive.  Many companies did not initially consider whether they had the server infrastructure to enable the entire workforce to log in remotely at the same time. As a result, many experienced a plethora of teething problems: virtual office crashes, long waits to get on servers, and sluggish internet connectivity and application performance, often rendering the shiny new PC frustrating and useless.

Most businesses only had a few outward-facing servers that could authenticate remote workers – a vital gateway as the vector for cyber hacks and attacks increased exponentially. That’s not to mention the fact that many business applications simply weren’t designed to work with the latency required for people working from home. What businesses discovered at that moment was that their plumbing was out of date.  

Business and IT leaders quickly realised that to stay ahead of the curve in the hybrid working world, a renewed focus on building agile, adaptable, and flexible IT infrastructures was critical. More importantly, it accelerated the inevitable digital transformation that would keep them competitive in a data-driven economy. It is now abundantly clear to businesses that they need IT infrastructure to meet the demands of diverse workloads – derive intelligent insights from data, deploy applications effectively, and enhance data management and security.  

Ripe for a digital revolution

Unsurprisingly, IDC noted that there was an increase in purchases of server infrastructure to support changing workloads. However, it also forecasts this uptick will be sustainable and last beyond the pandemic. As the economy begins to reopen, business leaders are looking ahead. IT will continue to play a crucial role in 2021 and beyond – and we have already set the foundations for the digital revolution with next-generation servers. 

As we enter the zettabyte era, new innovative technologies are coming on stream, with 5G turbocharging IoT and putting edge computing to work.  Exciting new services improved day-to-day efficiencies, and the transformation of our digital society will be underpinned by resilient IT infrastructures.  By embracing the technological innovations of our next-generation servers, businesses keep pace with the coming data deluge.

The next generation of server architecture promises more power with less heat, thanks to improved, directed airflow, and direct liquid cooling, resulting in reduced operational costs and environmental impact. As we rebuild post-pandemic, manufacturers and customers alike strive to achieve ever more challenging sustainability goals. With this in mind, a focus on environmentally responsible design is imperative for the servers of tomorrow -  uniquely designed chassis for adaptive cooling and more efficient power consumption will be critical, improving energy efficiency generation over generation.

The most notable evolution is the configuration of these next-gen servers around more specific organisational needs. Unlike clunky and often unstable legacy infrastructure, the infrastructure of tomorrow will be sturdier and more modular. The next iteration is streamlined, and in this modular form, can be more easily tailored to business needs. This equates to essential cost savings as businesses only pay for what they use.  

Resolving the problem of the future, today

Tomorrow's IT challenges will focus on response times and latency as Edge and 5G technologies go mainstream. As businesses develop new and innovative services that utilise supercharged connectivity and real-time analytics, staying on top of these challenges will give them a competitive edge. For example, in the world of retail, automation will power new virtual security guards and even the slightest delay in the data relay could result in financial loss. 

Similarly, in the smart cities of tomorrow, the network must be responsive. With city-centre traffic lights controlled by an AI-powered camera that monitors pedestrians, delays in data transfers could cost the life of an elderly pedestrian who has fallen in the road. The stakes are far higher in a 5G-enabled world. As our reliance on technology deepens, the margins for error narrow, placing greater emphasis on the efficiency of those critical underpinning technologies.

Fully enabling the hybrid work model today is just a stepping-stone towards more fluid, tech-enabled lives. A work Zoom call from an automated vehicle on-route to an intelligent transport hub is a highly probable vision of our future. But it requires incredible amounts of compute and seamless data transfers to make it possible. These glossy snapshots need super servers to come to life, making that IT plumbing glisten with next-gen innovation essential. Without exemplary server architecture, we risk future tech advances and the human progression that it enables. 

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