Data center networks are under pressure. Expectations are far too great as our life at work, the business processes we are part of, and the information exchange we rely on depends on digital technologies more than ever. What we usually refer to as “business apps” accelerate innovation in everything we do. The change of pace when it comes to enabling new business apps for the mobile workforce of today has been increasing non-stop.
As the private and secure information that your business relies on moves to digital, your data center network must stay strong and offer the highest level of reliability. Reliability is usually regarded as a contradiction to the ability to move fast. However, you can continue to automate operations in your data center, move your network at the speed of “business app” delivery and deployment, without giving up on what’s essential --- the need for your data center network to eliminate downtime and keep up with the pace.
At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we are thrilled to get a chance to partner up with some of the best brands globally as they change and improve the way they do business with investments into digital technologies. As they move their day-to-day business processes to digital apps hosted either in their private or hybrid infrastructure, they continue to trust us with their needs for data center networking.
The common theme we are seeing across the board is the need for these customers to innovate faster than ever before, move their business and everyone in it to digital technologies as quickly as possible. And their expectation from the network was simple: minimize downtime, avoid data loss and eliminate application disruption.
What’s really putting pressure on the networking infrastructure in the data center?
The first piece of the puzzle is that the ultimate judge for the usefulness, speed, quality of the digital services enabled from the data center is the knowledge worker.
Knowledge workers include programmers, systems analysts, technical writers, academic professionals, researchers, and so forth. They are the basic capital resource for today’s economy where they put to work what they have learned in systematic education – concepts, ideas, and theories – rather than putting to work manual skill or muscle. They use traditional apps that are designed to support existing business processes such as supply chain or web infrastructure, and then, a new breed of digital services to enable faster R&D, positively influence customer experience, improve business operations with big data analytics, to name a few.
One thing is common is that a majority of the digital data that these knowledge workers interact with needs to remain private and secure, within the four walls of a private data center.
Secondly, as work processes are digitized, interaction with business processes happen on a variety of digital interfaces in terms of data entry, consumption and compute.
Digital devices in use can include IoT devices like connected security cameras, thin clients providing access to virtual desktops (VDI), desktop or laptop based workstations for design and computing projects and digital signage systems that are dependent on highly available data centers for data access. The innovation cycle for the availability of these new set of digital devices is also growing at a rapid pace – disrupting and/or improving a variety of business workflows due to increased ease of use by the knowledge worker.
The traffic generated by the end devices themselves might not amount to much individually. But as different applications come with different bandwidth, latency and storage requirements in the data center, server virtualization and container-based deployments take charge to do more with less. This, in turn, demands greater capacity and reliability from the network to support server to server and server to storage communication within the data center.
Last but not least, it is apparent that, now more than ever, a greater collection of business leaders has a say in data center infrastructure decisions.
IT has traditionally been seen as a cost to the organization, and one of the CIO's key tasks was to protect the interests of the IT department. Today, given how important digital transformation is to the growth of any organization, enterprises are realizing that priorities for their business has a direct correlation to priorities and requirements for IT. While in the past the CIO and network manager were solely in control of IT budgets, we see other stakeholders being involved in the decision-making process.
As a result, the role of the network manager and networking team is moving from "keeping the lights on" with regard to network connectivity to being a true partner in line-of-business strategy and revenue generation.
These three trends are resulting in increased demands on the network infrastructure, but these challenges can be turned into great opportunities for IT teams as they partner up with business leaders across the board.
We would love to chat more on how you can take advantage of these opportunities to truly enable your digital workplace. Give us a call!
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