Enabling the digital Journey of an Enterprise leveraging a Boundaryless Datacentre

Infrastructure Management Trends in South Africa
Infrastructure Management Trends in South Africa.
Milind Halapeth
Milind Halapeth, General Manager And Global Head, Cloud and Datacentre Practice, Global Infrastructure Services (GIS), Wipro.

Technology without boundaries has revolutionised the way people work, play and do business, as organisations and their customers have dispersed across the world, unhindered by actual physical location. From cloud services and web-scale IT to the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, advanced analytics and smart machines, boundaries between technologies have been broken down, creating vast new opportunities for business.

Removing the traditional boundaries of both technology and IT service models has become key to competitive differentiation and agility, and one important area of this lies within the datacentre. The datacentre, as the hub of business service delivery, is key to leveraging the potential of a world unfettered by geography. The Boundaryless Datacentre has become an indispensable tool to provide the foundation of the boundary-less digital business journey.

Breaking Boundaries of Traditional Data Centres
The Boundaryless Datacentre represents a new IT service paradigm with the goal of ensuring that organisations achieve desired business outcomes and provide convenient, effective IT services to users. The Boundaryless Datacentre is not only about technology, but about transforming IT into an easily consumed and convenient solution for the entire end user community, including developers, business units, consumers and partners. Ultimately, the Boundaryless Datacentre centres on business services.

By converting to a Boundaryless Datacentre, organisations can leverage a number of benefits, including improved responsiveness to unpredictable workloads and faster time to market for next generation applications. It also allows organisations to optimise costs by ensuring that applications and data leverage cost effective resources, ensure business and IT alignment based on business requirements, and enhanced agility and scale, amongst others.

The challenge is to transform the current data centre paradigm into a software-defined approach that embeds intelligence and has the ability to auto correct. Instead of a combination of on premise enterprise datacentres, hosted datacentres, managed and unmanaged sites, organisations need to embrace software-defined everything, which is hyper resilient, supports any and all devices, provides borderless management, security and networking, and enables both service and data mobility. In addition, a software-defined approach within the context of Boundaryless Datacentre also accelerates the lifecycle of business services though policy-driven automation.

Seven steps towards a Boundaryless Data Centre
Migrating from a traditional datacentre service hub to a Boundaryless service hub requires a clear roadmap to guide direction and outcomes.

This process can be summed up into seven recommended steps:

Define business outcomes – it is essential to firstly understand what needs to be achieved from a business and IT perspective, whether the goal is to reduce cost, improve robustness and scalability of infrastructure, enhanced flexibility and resiliency, or any other goal. Measurable metrics and success criteria for each outcome should also be delivered.

Understand the environment – organisations should assess their current datacentre assets and systems and identify any gaps that exist. An inventory list of assets should be built, and interdependencies between processes, systems and contracts must be mapped to create an understanding of workloads, capacity, usage and performance. This is essential for insight into where modernisation opportunities exist, where assets may need replacing, and where investment in infrastructure is required.

Prepare for transformation – when embarking on the Boundaryless Datacentre journey a workload-centric approach is essential. It is necessary to forecast and assess supply and demand for the workload today and in future, and define business parameters such as regulatory and compliance requirements, data criticality, and integration with the core business processes. Scalability and security requirements must also be defined. From this, a blueprint for extending services within and beyond traditional datacentres into external cloud can be developed and a return on investment analysis conducted.

Create central command and control – managing and monitoring a Boundaryless Datacentre requires centralised control, which also ensures a holistic means of provisioning the service catalogue, and creates the required chargeback mechanisms for various business units. It also creates identity and access control for end users for the services they require, in addition to providing reports and analytics for the services they consume.

Migrate workloads – utilising appropriate migration tools, workloads need to be re-allocated and redistributed as required to reach the target state. It is important to focus on automation and standardisation of workloads. The key during this step is safe and secure migration without disruption. To reduce the risk of service outages, it is recommended to use certified reference architectures and proven migration processes.

Operate and manage – once the Boundaryless Datacentre is up and running it is essential to ensure that it continues to be driven by innovation and appropriate guidance. Opting for Boundaryless Datacentre as a managed service can help organisations to ensure this is achieved, maintaining and providing operational insight and critical input for capacity planning, efficiencies and risk management. Operational IT processes, monitoring and service management also need to be tweaked to fit in with the model, and organisations need to move from traditional IT Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to business Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that are based on the required outcomes.

Re-evaluate success criteria – businesses are constantly changing, and models and processes must therefore keep pace. If success criteria and metrics change, the BLDC must be able to deliver according to these new requirements in order to remain relevant.

Maintaining a Boundaryless Enterprise
The above seven-step process towards a Boundaryless Data Centre is supported and enabled by the following transformational solution components. These include: assessment and target placements; a workload-centric approach; reference architecture; software-define datacentre and programmable infrastructure; migration processes; a cloud management portal or cloud service brokerage; and security. The BLDC has the best chance of success when it is based on reference architectures and cloud blueprints that are tried and tested.

Working with manufacturers and service provider partners who validate and support the BLDC architecture is essential to success. Utilising the right process assets and tools and partnering with an expert provider can help organisations to develop replicable workload-centric, software-defined and hyper resilient solutions, which ultimately means agility and flexibility in a boundary-less world.

By Milind Halapeth, General Manager And Global Head, Cloud and Datacentre Practice, Global Infrastructure Services (GIS), Wipro.