It’s been a few weeks since part 1 of this post and I’ve had lots of interesting feedback. much of this was surprise that with all the focus on cost reduction, IT spending patterns have changed very little. Here are three strategies that I believe must be embraced for the future, in order to continue to reduce the cost of running IT, whilst increasing the value that it can offer to the business
1) Build highly efficient and adaptable Infrastructures
2) Embrace Service Providers and Hyperscalers
3) Be disruptive with Technology
Build highly efficient and adaptable Infrastructures It’s possible today to build an infrastructure that has the necessary performance, scalability and data management capabilities to support many applications, be those the applications you have now or applications that you may have in the future. The focus has to move away from building an Infrastructure that’s best for one or two applications to one that’s very good for many applications, not only does this increase the speed of application adoption it also means that they can be deployed into an environment where advanced data management, such as protection, replication and storage efficiency are already in place and available in a consistent way. A good example is the many companies that bought our Converged Infrastructure, FlexPod, to support a number of their applications. Then VDI came along, however, due to our unique cloning technology (FlexClone), combined with our caching technology (FlashCache / Flashpool) FlexPod proved itself not just to be able to support this new workload, but to offer huge value to it, whilst exceeding the unusual and demanding performance requirements. This enables you to have a pool of highly efficient and adaptable resources, controlled by Orchestration and Automation tools enabling the move away from being builder and operator to a broker of services, where there is significantly more opportunity to add value.
Embrace Service Providers and Hyperscalers There are many benefits to this, first there are applications that could and should be delivered ‘as a service’, identifying what these are and the current cost of running them in house offers great opportunities to reduce costs. This also removes the distraction of running them so that you can focus on where there are real opportunities to add value. Cloud also offers a scale of on demand storage and compute that many companies simply can’t afford to invest in, which brings about new possibilities. For example, a company I met with recently has hundreds of franchise partners that sell insurance products on its behalf. Every month all of these partners have to provide detailed reports so that the company knows exactly what it’s total exposure is, some 300TB of data in total. They then use a thousand CPU cores to crunch this data into a 45GB file that they submit to the regulators, and for the next 29 days they have 300TB of storage they don’t use and a thousand CPU cores that sit idle! When they asked me, what I would sell them? they were surprised when I said…’nothing! use a Service Provider! one that can provide you with the Storage and CPU’s just for the time you need them and where you simply pay for them as you need them’. We’ve got over 350 Service Providers that have built their Infrastructures on NetApp, making provisioning and data movement incredibly simple, and as I mentioned in a previous post, with our NetApp Private Storage for AWS and Azure many Cloud options are open to you, pick the one that offers the right governance, security and flexibility.
Be disruptive with technology Always challenge your next investment, technology moves so fast that there may be very good alternatives out there that give you what you need, at a significantly lower cost. In the storage market right now I would look hard at what your investment is into old Tier 1 platforms, whilst these are very clever beasts, there are alternatives. If you bought that old Tier 1 platform for capacity then you’ll likely find that our modular scale out FAS platform powered by cDOT is far more capable, scalable and more cost effective. If you bought it for performance then our All Flash FAS powered by cDOT may well deliver more performance, with rich data management capabilities at a much lower cost. And if the data management capabilities are within the application? then our EF550 offers tremendous performance in a fraction of the footprint, also at a fraction of the cost.
Whilst the three strategies I looked at above have the ability to help IT reduce costs, I think even more focus has to be on what they can enable IT to do differently, what new possibilities do they create. What could this enable you to do?