News & Analysis

HCI is Transforming Businesses in This New Data Era

By Surajit Sen

The digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – is growing exponentially. In 2019, organisations in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) managed 13.31 petabytes of data on average, a staggering 693% increase since 2016. With this growth in volume picking pace every year, there is a good chance that much of this data will be difficult to access or cost-prohibitive to store.

After all, massive data quantities need to be collected, stored, managed, moved, and ideally, analysed – all with the end goal of extracting value. A tidal wave of information is upon us, and how businesses react to this data deluge will set the stage for the next era of digital transformation. As the amount of data organisations collect continues to increase exponentially each year, organizations in the region must evaluate their existing infrastructure to stay competitive or just keep up with the pace. The breakneck speed at which data is being generated and accumulated will serve as one of the primary catalysts to transform IT infrastructure in the coming years.

Organizations can consider the introduction of hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) into their IT environment that will enable them to collapse the traditional three-tier infrastructure by natively integrating compute, storage, networking, virtualization, management, and data services. Besides reducing IT administrative tasks, it will also provide businesses with the ability to scale at their own pace, while reducing operating costs and providing flexibility as the foundation for multi-cloud approaches.

So let’s deep-dive and have a look at how HCI transforms the data centre from an overhead expense into a business enabler.

HCI systems bring value to businesses by optimizing efficiency and cutting down on operational costs. The sooner organisations take a hard look and re-evaluate their data centers, the sooner they can stand to benefit from this value – ultimately allowing them to do more, for less.

In India, forward-looking organisations that are keen to modernise their data centres are leveraging HCI as the IT delivery model of choice. In the past, most businesses considering HCI solutions were those implementing new workload requirements.

Today, that number is equalled by those planning a tech refresh. Customers that have or plan to adopt HCI have said that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), accelerated deployment, improved operational efficiencies, improved ability to scale, and the reduction of infrastructure tasks are the top benefits they expect to realise when implementing it.

Moreover, HCI acts as building block for multi-cloud deployments. In the wake of unprecedented data growth, organisations are rapidly becoming aware of the benefits of multi-cloud.  According to an IDC report, cloud technology has become the backbone for new age technologies and by the year 2021, almost half of the enterprises in India will operate in a hybrid multi-cloud environment.

As organisations arm their on-premises clouds to support and optimise IT infrastructures for multiple cloud types, they are looking for solutions that provide optimal performance, flexibility and, ultimately, management consolidations/simplification – all of which HCI offers. We expect to see more organisations turning to HCI as building blocks for multi-cloud approaches, prompted by the need to ensure that data and workloads are stored and managed in environments to suit the changing needs of the business.

HCI at the Edge also accelerates the action-ability of data. 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are rapidly implemented at scale across the region. These technologies are spurring data growth at an incredible rate and changing the data game in terms of speed and accessibility. This growth, however, comes at a cost as it is expensive and cumbersome to bring the entirety of the data on-premises. Organisations should instead adopt a “hub and spoke approach”, where they take in data at Edge locations, glean insights, and take only those insights back to the core hub to act on them. As HCI is easily scalable, it enables users to put the appropriate amount of compute power analysis at those Edge locations.

With increasing emphasis being placed on IoT connectivity and tech adoption in the industry, HCI enables dynamic data compute for devices in Edge locations to accelerate the formation of local analysis and business insights for retailers.

In the new data era, innovating with data will be the hallmark of every digital business. To effectively ride the enormous data waves, organisations in the region must consider modernising their data centres and embracing an HCI delivery model.

(The author is Chief of Staff, Modern Data Centre – APJ, Dell Technologies and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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