Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 43 | Page 58

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Data Centres A next-generation data centre for a next-generation world The global data centre services market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 13.69% during the 2019 to 2024 period, reflecting their importance in a digitally-driven business environment. As part of this, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) will provide further impetus as more companies shift towards a multi-cloud approach. The focus on HCI reflects the growing momentum around the movement to embrace software-defined IT architecture as a more effective way of overcoming the limitations of traditional hardware-defined systems. However, the combined opportunities provided by data centres and HCI have resulted in an increasingly crowded market where companies are finding it challenging to differentiate between the various service provider offerings. Understanding convergence “Hyperconvergence has been getting a lot of airtime and for a good reason. It provides organisations with more user-friendly and cost-effective ways to manage their cloud environments as opposed to traditional data centre architectures. Providing improved agility over the expensive and difficult to maintain architecture of the past, HCI ensures the IT infrastructure of the organisation is closely aligned to its strategic business deliverables,” said Daniel Thenga, NetApp Technical BDM at Comstor. Finding the right service provider or solution set that best meets the unique organisational needs is therefore critical to help drive growth and create competitive differentiation. “From a top-line perspective, decision makers should apply criteria such as scalability, feature set, ease of use, flexibility, the partner ecosystem and the total cost of ownership as part of their process to find the ideal fit. Further impacting this, is how the HCI and data centre environment supports the growth of Edge Computing and the Internet of Things along with the associated increase in data points. Being able to integrate all these aspects effectively must be a priority as companies rely more on finding value in their data than ever before,” added Thenga. Gaining value At its core, HCI is managed centrally by a single piece of software. So, storage, computing and virtual machines are all managed by the same application. But as companies are getting used to HCI, there is already a movement to extend beyond that with disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure (dHCI). This allows customers to scale in a nonlinear fashion. In other words, companies can consolidate workloads and deliver private clouds with public cloud simplicity while moderating application licensing with consistent management between clouds. Thenga said: “As technologies continue to evolve, companies are under pressure to do more with less. HCI and dHCI innovations give them more effective ways to unlock the value of data centres while giving them the flexibility to easily move between cloud models as their business needs change.” Introducing intelligence All this is contributing to how the data centre is being used. While some might have only used it as a storage repository or, at best, a way to collaborate between branches, the next-generation data centre delivers more value through the high-performance computing capabilities delivered to its users. “Take Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an example. Leveraging the power of data centres, AI delivers invaluable automation and Machine Learning capabilities to organisations across industries irrespective of their size,” said Thenga. • 58 INTELLIGENTCIO