The Makings of a Modern Enterprise Datacenter
How to gain speed, increase agility, and control costs by modernizing the platforms that run your workloads.
Enterprise infrastructure has come a long way since the days of dedicated co-locations and closets in commercial buildings.
Beyond just the evolution in technology—processors becoming faster, network speeds exponentially increasing, and improved data performance—enterprises today are increasingly relying upon the cloud in some form or fashion for their computing and data capacity needs.
This sea change in how enterprises can now handle their application workloads is not without its challenges.
Organizations still relying on legacy applications and infrastructure, for example, are often disrupted by startups arriving free from technical debt.
Meanwhile, infrastructure and operations teams are being tasked more and more with delivering solutions that support advanced technologies and create a cloud-like experience without breaking budgets. And they’re being asked to do it at an accelerated speed.
On this page, you will find what you need to know about modern enterprise infrastructure—what makes it modern, how to achieve elite performance, and the path to modernizing your infrastructure.
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What makes enterprise infrastructure modern
During World War II, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was constructed in the basement of the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
Considered the world’s first datacenter, ENIAC consisted of more than 17,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, and 10,000 capacitors, and it was capable of executing a then-blazing 5,000 additions per second.
Obviously, the ensuing seven decades have brought a lot of advances to datacenter technology, but the fundamental raison d’être for the existence remains the same: to provide a platform for the storage of, access to, and the use of information.
While on-premises datacenter solutions are still very much alive and well, a growing number of enterprises are embracing a hybrid or multi-cloud approach with their infrastructure. This agile approach enables innovation and the ability to adopt emerging technologies like DevOps, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning (DL), and machine learning (ML).
Elements of a modern infrastructure
Setting aside the nuts and bolts of hardware, data storage, and networking, every modern infrastructure provides you with each of these elements:
- Automation to streamline workflows, scale on demand, reduce human errors, and create efficiencies in operations
- Virtualization for portability of network components and consistency across platforms
- Visibility into all workloads and network traffic in order to identify problems and guarantee resources are available as needed
- Security to ensure the ever-growing amount of data and connected devices are properly monitored and information is consistently governed
Elite performance: what to aim for
According to a study conducted by IDC Technologies, compared to those still relying on legacy platforms, organizations leveraging a modern infrastructure are able to:
- Reduce operational costs by 2.7x
- Deliver new products and features 46% faster
- Implement new IT services 64% faster
Beyond these very real gains, enterprises fully leveraging a modernized infrastructure are often able to reduce their CapEx substantially through value engineering and the adoption of open-source technologies.
5 big benefits of modern infrastructure
Increased business value and reduced costs
Modern datacenters combine on-site infrastructure with cloud technology. This can greatly reduce spend by giving organizations the ability to tailor their data infrastructure specifically to their needs.
In addition, organizations:
- Don’t have to overpay for capacity
- Are able to dedicate a smaller in-house footprint
- Receive continuous backups
- Are provided with robust disaster recovery
Effectively managing workflows can be a challenge for any organization. Modern datacenters provide organizations with better tools to streamline operations and create a faster time to value. As a result, organizations are able to focus on more high-value activities.
- DevOps makes it easier to create templates on virtual servers for testing applications and software
- Management complexity can be reduced
- Downtimes and disruptions can be minimized
Modern datacenters can help your organization not only work faster, but better.
- New applications can be tested and deployed rapidly
- Automation reduces human errors
- AI, ML, DL provide insights on via vast amounts of data
- Repetitive tasks are reduced, helping to minimize costly employee churn
Unlocked data capital
In a nutshell, data capital is an organization’s use of data to increase value. Modern datacenters excel at helping organizations tap into their data capital by:
- Analyzing large pools of data quickly.
- Better positioning an organization in an increasingly connected world.
- Providing insights into workflows and market trends.
- Accelerating product development, production, and deployment.
Digital transformation enablement
It’s a simple equation:
The right data infrastructure + incorporating data throughout your organization = digital transformation
An organization lagging behind a competitor in bringing products to market, for example, can find efficiencies and accelerate development via digital transformation. Specifically, digital transformation enables organizations to better compete via:
- Access to the speed and flexibility of cloud technology
- Improvements in on-site hardware
- Ability to put emerging technologies like AI to work as they arrive
Levels of modern infrastructure performance
While every organization making the move to the cloud begins from a different starting position, there are generally four different levels that need to be reached in order to fully leverage the cost savings and agility of cloud platforms.
If your organization is currently at this level, you are utilizing highly mixed and scattered hardware, as well as overlapping applications and licenses. You have limited monitoring and may be mired in vendor lock-in with expensive support agreements. In addition, your disaster recovery process is untested.
This makes your organization a prime candidate for infrastructure modernization.
Your operations are reactive, and you continually rotate end-of-life hardware. Still, standardized documentation may or may not exist for provisioning, backup, and disaster recovery.
Additionally, you still rely on manual provisioning and configuration, which slows your ability to provide the infrastructure needed to support your current business initiatives.
Your organization has made modernizing your infrastructure a major focus, and you are able to effectively monitor and adjust the scaling of resources. Standards are applied through automation, you have version-controlled configurations in place, and you are able to utilize capacity management and forecasting.
While you are able to leverage the right infrastructure based on your application profiles, you still have limited automated recovery capabilities in place in case of failure. In other words, you still have some work to do.
The peak level of modern infrastructure performance. You are able to automatically scale resources based on active workloads, the lifecycle of your hardware is continually refined, and you have automated disaster recovery in place to limit user impact.
In addition to having your standards monitored and managed for continual compliance, you are able to stress test during the deployment process. Due to all of these gains, you have achieved much greater speed and flexibility while making better use of your resources.
Building a modern data platform
The foundation of a modern data platform is a large amount of storage.
Not just any storage, but a solution that fits your organization’s unique needs. This means mapping out these components before kicking off your modern data platform efforts:
The point where data is entering your platform, such as social media, IoT devices, customer interactions, etc.
Where you data actually lives and how it is organized.
What apps you run, whether you’re employing AI or ML.
How you’re going to display information derived from your data.
Once you’ve mapped out each of these components, you’re ready to focus on your data storage requirements. In general, there are two requirements: ability to scale up and down as needed, depending on the flow of data, and the ability to handle concurrency (being able to do a number of things at once).
The path to modernizing
Charting your path to having modern enterprise infrastructure begins with a series of questions:
What are your current capabilities?
Modernizing your infrastructure means a fundamental shift in how your teams operate. In order to achieve elite performance, you will want to honestly evaluate your current enterprise infrastructure capabilities.
Take a hard look at what your organization is doing well, where it can improve, and what technologies are needed to make the most impactful progress towards your organizational performance goals.
What processes do you currently have in place?
Answering this question necessitates a hard look at how your company develops new products and services. Then, look for ways to potentially streamline those processes to better utilize a modern infrastructure.
Recognize that many of your current ways of doing things will benefit from—or be outright replaced by—automation, which means roles within your organization will be changing. On a positive note, the new roles for your teams will likely mean more time for working on innovative new products and services.
What technologies are critical to your business results?
Whether your company relies on technology of your own making or off-the-shelf solutions—or both—it’s crucial to catalog and understand what your company uses and why.
Ask whether your company uses too many or too few technologies. Then, determine whether your current technology catalog will continue to be effective with the cloud and a modern infrastructure.
Not knowing this information as you’re getting started with infrastructure modernization can create pain points during the transition. It also runs the risk of frustrating employees.
What value are you expecting from a modern infrastructure?
This is, perhaps, the most important question, since it cuts to the core of why you’re looking to modernize your infrastructure in the first place.
Are you looking to …
- Increase productivity?
- Reduce costs?
- Open new lanes of innovation?
- All of the above?
By knowing what you’re trying to ultimately achieve, you’re better able to bring everyone within your organization in line with the move to modernizing your infrastructure—a critical step in making modernization a success.
Once these fundamental questions are answered, you’re ready to construct your roadmap to infrastructure modernization.
This roadmap needs to include your organization’s performance goals, an assessment of your current enterprise technology state, and a list of what capabilities are needed to reach organizational performance goals.
It also needs to provide you with a detailed plan to reach your desired end state based on industry best practices.
Getting started with a modern infrastructure
Before making a major investment in your organization’s enterprise infrastructure, you need to determine how your technology strategy will help you achieve organizational goals.
- What do your employees need to do their jobs effectively?
- What transformational processes and KPIs are in place?
- What technologies are critical to reaching organizational goals?
- How much are you willing to invest?
- What outcome are you expecting from a modern enterprise infrastructure?
Finding the right partner
Because you’ll have a smoother process—and a better end result—by choosing a partner that is both technically capable and able to understand and translate your business needs, we suggest asking yourself three additional questions:
- How much of the modernization process will you be asking partners to manage?
- Are you looking for an ongoing relationship, such as managed IT services and IT consulting?
- Will you need an array of potential solutions or are you looking for a single recommendation?
In a nutshell …
The simple truth is that staying competitive means innovating faster than your competitors.
Modernizing your enterprise infrastructure is foundational to unlocking speed, agility, cost savings, and advanced technologies like DevOps, AI, and ML. This, in turn, allows you to accelerate your innovation and deliver better products and services to your customers faster than the competition.
Partnering with Redapt
Redapt can assist your enterprise with every step of the infrastructure modernization process, including:
- Infrastructure engineering
- Integration of your hardware and software
- Cloud services across platforms
- Developing advanced analytics capabilities
- Managed services to monitor the health of your infrastructure
Compounding the challenge is the fact that, for many companies, this pressure is coming from a number of fronts.
For help developing your own path to having a modern enterprise infrastructure, contact one of our experts today.