Going Virtual — and Beyond
Virtualization is only the first step toward fully benefiting from the investments made in a modern platform.
by Chris Flaesch and Chris Swan
Virtualization requires a solid strategy, but it’s not the last step of the journey
From switches and routers to servers and storage, virtualization is sweeping through data centers in every industry and every market around the world. Nearly every component in the IT stack is transmogrifying into software.
On the whole, that’s a good thing. The benefits of transforming physical IT systems into virtual environments are well known. Virtualization enables more secure, productive, efficient systems and cuts costs for the companies that take advantage of it.
But virtualization takes a strategy, and it’s really only the first step toward fully benefiting from the infrastructure investment. Here are some ideas about how to get to virtualization, and what comes next in the journey to a modern platform.
No app left behind
In the frenzied race to virtualization and the cloud, some organizations forget that not all applications and infrastructure actually belong there — at least, not yet.
Many applications that are core to a business — legacy applications from the early 2000s, specialized human resources or payroll apps, perhaps — can’t be easily virtualized. It takes an investment of time and money to modernize them first.
That modernization requires a full and coherent platform plan, where businesses take inventory of what they have, where it lives and how much it costs to maintain. A business may have to refresh an old piece of hardware that runs a dated application. Perhaps the app is spun down and restored only when the company needs to run it. Maybe a firewall is deployed around it, since it no longer gets updates or security patches.
Whatever the case, it’s essential to take those actions to prepare for the future.
Turning on the jets
When a company achieves virtualization, as many have, the next level of innovation and savings comes from improved management of that virtualization.
One way to do that is by further reducing the physical server footprint, replacing older servers with newer, faster, cheaper models with more storage. The modern platform is distinguished from traditional virtualized environments by the type of hardware used (it’s vastly simplified) and by the use of standard data center designs and software.
When connected to a network, the platform becomes a defined quantity of storage, computing and memory that can be cut and redistributed into blocks of computing resources. And these can be billed on a usage basis.
Using this approach, businesses today can cut the physical IT estate by as much as half, resulting in half the number of servers to manage and half the number of licenses required. That can result in major cost savings and a much lower total cost of ownership.
Another advantage comes from using software-defined networks and modern platforms to gain complete oversight and control over the provisioning of applications, computers and storage, and the latest analytics tools. Storage now turns from a standalone asset into an integrated one that can be bought and managed on a discrete basis. This can result in huge efficiencies for the company.
A platform of partnerships
A truly modern platform, built from standard hardware and software components and orchestrated with the right platform management solution, is a platform of partnerships, not a closed or proprietary system. Workloads can be freely moved between private and public infrastructure to achieve the best performance, the lowest cost or a balance of both.
In addition to creating and managing the platform, knowledgeable platform partners can do far more. They can help a business evaluate its real estate, develop a platform strategy, and support all applications and infrastructure, while modernizing at a pace that drives results.
The journey to a modern, hyperconverged platform is about more than the drive to virtualize the IT stack. It’s about finding the path that works best for the business, with an eye on a true digital transformation. And, ultimately, a promise to leave no apps behind.
Four Aspects of CSC’s Modern Platform
We believe the platform underpins everything, and we aim to help clients on a “Start Small, Think Big” journey to agile cloud. Our Modern Platform offering has four elements:
1. Hyperconverged infrastructure brings together compute, storage and networking as generic blocks of computing capability that can be turned on or off, scaled up or down, instantly.
2. Hardware partners design, assemble, test and to a certain extent support the platform. Customers can plug it in, add it to the network, turn the power on and begin managing the environment in about 15 minutes.
3. Entry-level scalability is low, creating the right entry point for many organizations. The entry-level scale for CSC’s Modern Platform offering is 100 virtual machines. Virtualization makes the process of growth easier than ever.
4. Value-driven architecture optimizes both the hardware and the software licensing. Businesses can spin up and wind down applications and test environments easily with the required levels of control and security, and they can do it all at a much lower cost. Customers who choose this approach over traditional self-built infrastructure environments are more likely to save money, gain flexibility and reach their digital business goals.
CHRIS FLAESCH is the global general manager for platform offerings
CHRIS SWAN is chief technology officer for global infrastructure services at CSC.