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Technology Trends To Watch: Transform Your Infrastructure to Take Your Business to the Next Level

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Chances are you have been delaying IT investments for infrastructure upgrades, including for those mission-critical applications that are still dependent on legacy infrastructure and their associated tools and processes. If you are thinking about new technologies, you may also be spending too much on wrapping them around legacy infrastructure and applications.

That’s a major problem because legacy applications and technology infrastructure can prevent you from satisfying increasing customer demands and efficiently delivering the products, capabilities and services necessary to compete in what the research analysts at Forrester have dubbed “the age of the customer.”*

So what can you do? The answer is: consolidate and optimize your technology infrastructure.

Specifically, embrace and adopt new technologies and next-generation infrastructure that enable higher virtualization density, better performance and greater stability. Leverage integrated technology stacks to simplify and automate orchestration of a hybrid environment ─ one which incorporates private or public cloud services, colocation and the other components necessary to meet your organization’s needs.  This is what it will take to ensure a faster, more reliable and more efficient platform to support and promote business growth ─ and ultimately deliver the services and products your customers want and expect.

Of course, migrating applications to converged infrastructure (CI), a vendor-supported data center or the cloud won’t eliminate application and infrastructure sprawl. You’ll need to make sure the technology infrastructure you choose meets your organization’s current and future demands, and that it can provide your business with technology-enabled capabilities and services that can be repurposed and reconfigured based on changing market demands.

There’s more. Consider replacing any legacy storage. If you use tier one storage for legacy applications ─ often among your most critical applications ─ you may view upgrades as less risky than replacing your old storage arrays. Doing so means you’re missing out on the benefits inherent in improved storage virtualization, high-performance flash arrays, automatic tiering and deduplication. The pricing is much better these days, and the technologies can simplify storage provisioning, increase performance without changing the application or compute infrastructure, improve recovery time objectives and reduce operational expenditures due to lower power consumption and fewer disk failures.

To support application workloads, you should also look at automated provisioning, policy-based orchestration and network function virtualization (NFV) — software versions of firewalls, application delivery controllers and wide-area network optimization services. (To support software-defined networks, your underlying infrastructure must support NFV.)

You can now segment a single physical network device into multiple virtual networks. A firewall appliance with multiple virtual contexts can be shared among a number of virtual networks with a dedicated virtual firewall context per virtual network, improving network device utilization and lowering your overall cost. (Note: by 2016 firms will commonly use 40-gigabit Ethernet to support east-west traffic flow in hybrid environments.)

Bottom line: you need technology infrastructure that can support changing business objectives, provide for a reliable, consistent customer experience and keep your organization in forward motion. Don’t let legacy infrastructure and applications hold you back.

*Source Material: Forrester Research, Inc.: Key I&O Technology Trends To Watch In 2014, Part 1 by Sudhanshu Bhandari, April 29, 2014

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