Is digital transformation just the buzzword du jour? Maybe, but there are real business and technical needs driving all of the trends that fall into that bucket. This week’s articles may not mention digital transformation in so many words, but they all address the changes to both IT infrastructure and business processes that are necessary for companies of all sizes to stay competitive in today’s – and tomorrow’s - world.
Hyperscale data centers, digital transformation, Cloud, IoT, SDN… how do you tie it all together and make it work for your organization? That’s an ongoing discussion in the tech media, and one with at least as many answers as there are writers!
This week’s roundup takes a look at a few of them, from how to “right-size” a data center, to a collection of four different digital transformation journeys.
These news roundups tend to have a strong focus on new innovations and bleeding-edge technology, which is great if you’re planning a new data center network deployment.
But what about the vast majority of organizations that have an existing infrastructure to maintain, while staying competitive and keeping up with new developments? This week’s articles all relate to the question of improving efficiency and capacity through integrating new technology into existing systems. This approach means extending the life of legacy infrastructure, while architecting new network and data center infrastructure to open up future opportunities.
This week, I’m pleased to share the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster from Jason Bloomberg of Intellyx. Fiber Mountain is a sponsor, but I also love the way it ties in all the different elements and interdependencies that go into digital transformation, from DevOps to Enterprise Architecture to Customer Experience and APIs. Click here to download the full-sized PDF.
Moving on from Fiber Mountain news - I have three articles for you this week providing different views of data center transformation. Is the enterprise data center waning as hyperscales and public cloud ascend? Or will hybrid cloud – the optimization of combined cloud and private data center resources – lead to a new resurgence of enterprise-owned data centers? One thing is certain – the new generation of data center architectures, and components such as servers, are far more energy efficient than most of us realize yet.
You might have noticed a theme in these weekly news round-ups: I can’t get enough of news about the intersection of emerging technologies and practical applications in the network! This week, I have some excellent articles to share that tie together the concept of Digital Transformation of the enterprise with the infrastructure innovations necessary to support it.
Last week, our news roundup looked to the far future, examining developments in the physics of light and technology of fiber optics, advances that will start to bear fruit in the next couple of decades.
This week, I’m bringing the focus back to the present, starting with a new study out from Viavi Solutions on the “State of the Network” based on responses from 740 enterprise network professionals. Keeping to the enterprise theme, check out what Arthur Cole has to say about the maturity of virtualization, and Jeremy Rossbach’s advice on how to keep SDN from “going bump in the night.”
Looking through the news we shared in social media this week, the underlying theme was one of changing architectures and new approaches to network infrastructure. These trends are not new, but where they were once only visible in hyperscale deployments and test labs, software defined architecture and open hardware are increasingly accessible to any business running a network. Add in the dropping cost and wide-ranging advantages of fiber-optic cable over copper, and the next couple of years are going to be very interesting!
Looking at the industry news we shared this week, I see a theme of digital and technological transformation, from the latest advances in AI which have led Google’s AlphaGo to win the first two of five matches against Go champion Lee Se-dol, to re-evaluations of how security, data centers and business processes are changing to keep up with the dangers and opportunities of our constantly evolving technological landscape.
Everyone knows what Ethernet is, but how many people who started their careers in the past fifteen years have heard of ATM? No, not Automatic Teller Machine – Asynchronous Transfer Mode, a technology that dominated the hype cycle in the 90’s and then disappeared from public awareness, despite the fact that many applications still make use of it today.
I have had the pleasure of being deeply involved in the industry through many changes. In 1980, I was in the field with Digital Equipment Corporation when the Ethernet DIX standard was launched to market. Later, I became a product manager of Ethernet at Prime Computer. In the 90’s, I was heavily involved in ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) with General DataComm, heading up ATM product management and marketing. Moving on, I led cloud operations for a VoIP provider. Most recently I became deeply immersed in the SDN (Software Defined Networking) world with Fiber Mountain.
The way I see it, the past four decades were dominated by four main networking technologies:
Over the past several years server, network, storage and application virtualization has revolutionized the way hyperscale data centers are built by consolidating workloads. The trend has simplified network architecture significantly and resulted in huge cost savings as well. In fact, according to a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. governmental agencies alone saved $1.1 billion from 2011-2013 with virtualization.
Still, as hyperscale data centers grow, so do their costs for real estate, power, cooling and racks. To combat this growing problem, these data centers need more than a tweaking of traditional network architectures—they need a complete re-imagining.
Instead of continuing to expand the network with increasingly large and expensive equipment—like core and aggregation switches, for example—what if hyperscale data centers could visualize and control every part of the network, including the physical layer, from a single pane of glass? What if they could connect any two points on the network using intelligent, software-controlled optical fiber? And what if every packet and flow could be optimized on this software-controlled fiber infrastructure via a central orchestration system?
Achieving this connectivity virtualization would completely change the data center architecture landscape for hyperscale environments. It would relieve many of the inevitable problems that will emerge if these data centers continue to use traditional network architectures in this age of information expansion.
The bleeding-edge solutions mentioned above are brand new, and as such, are sure to provoke deeper discussions and a host of questions from network engineers and data center managers. If your data center is struggling to scale efficiently and you’d like to learn more about how tomorrow’s solutions can help solve these problems, check out the Fiber Mountain: Scaling Hyperscale white paper from Intellyx.