December 29, 2015
If there is one thing consistent in the technology industry, it’s that nothing stays the same. IT Directors and CIOs need to stay abreast of new technologies and be aware of their environment’s present and future challenges. A major component of this responsibility is looking ahead at what’s to come and finding ways to leverage cutting-edge technology to better meet those needs. With that in mind, Mindsight has assembled three key IT strategies for 2016. This list may not cover every new technology, approach, or possibility out there, but these are the hot topic strategies we see for the coming year.
Top IT Strategies from Mindsight
First and foremost, every IT department across the industry should be looking into the viability of the cloud for their environment. The cloud is the next step in data center technology, and within several years, it is likely the cloud will be widely adopted in virtually every industry. Cloud computing is the virtualization of the entire data center, so every server and storage array becomes a homogeneous pool of resources. This allows the data center greater flexibility to provision resources for applications.
From rudimentary backup and disaster recovery applications to more advanced deployments, such as Infrastructure as a Service or Software as a Service, companies must assess how the cloud can be leveraged to their advantage. Using cloud technology, companies can host their entire data center or multiple software applications off-site in a cloud data center enabling them to free up time, resources, and capital.
However, not every company will be able to use cloud computing in the same way. There are financial and technical considerations to be made. For example, there are many legacy applications that require thick client access. These applications often lack the elasticity to properly move to the cloud. If the company’s environment supports numerous applications with this issue, it can quickly become economically impractical to upgrade each application and move it to the cloud at the same time.
Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
Every year, security is going to make the list of top considerations. No one wants to be the next company to be hit with a data breach, and security threats are only becoming more sophisticated. We encourage you to look into the advancements in software-defined networking. Using this technology, networks can be made into zero-trust segmented environments, otherwise known as micro-segmented environments.
SDN is the abstraction of the control layer of the network. By lifting control and forwarding functions of the network into a virtual, software-defined space, network administrators enjoy greater cost-effectiveness and adaptability, however, SDN also creates a few security advantages.
Namely, SDN provides a central location from which to control and distribute security policies. With greater visibility into the network, it is easier to enact sweeping policies and consistently enforce it.
All Flash Storage Arrays
Flash storage or solid state drives/disks (SSD) have been traditionally used as a supplement to hard disk drive (HDD) storage solutions. Before recently, this storage technology was simply too expensive to be deployed outside of these hybrid arrays. However, flash storage can now be purchased and implemented for approximately the same price that serial attached small computer system interface (SAS) was at a year ago. This technology is now much more viable, and in 2016, all-flash storage should be high on your list of strategies to research.
Unlike HDD, all-flash has no moving parts. Instead, memory is stored using electricity in chips on a printed circuit board (PCB). HDD, by contrast, requires a central spindle to spin an electro-magnetic disk. While spinning a read/write arm must seek out, read, and transmit the desired information located on a specific portion of the disk. This process takes time.
Without moving parts, SSDs are not slowed down by the physical movements of the mechanisms involved and yield a much lower latency as a result.
Flash Arrays are powerful, cost-effective, and backed by major players in the technology industry. For example, the SmartStack is a converged infrastructure solution released by both Cisco and Nimble Storage. It utilizes a Cisco Unified Computing System along with Nimble all-flash storage for a complete data center solution. Cisco even listed the SmartStack as a Cisco Validated Design.
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