In my regular conversations about the transformational impact of the Cloud, focus is put on only three of the four enabling components of digital services: user devices, connectivity between devices and data centers, and flexible servers and storage infrastructure (IaaS). The fourth critical component, data center networking (DCN), is often assumed "just" to match performance and security requirements. But in reality, this is the big, rising transformational challenge introduced by Cloud.
In fact, the degree of elasticity progressively deployed in other data center components is far from being achieved in DCN. The evolution of networking technologies and architectures based on open standards, such as HP FlexNetwork, is generating a tremendous acceleration toward more flexible, scalable DCN. However, Cloud is changing the traditional planning, delivery and operation of networking, as usage of resources cannot be predicted on a deterministic basis (for example, from population, design, and applications).
At the same time, prosumers – individuals applying unpredictable consumer behavior in their professional environment – simply ignore any attempt to limit their activities. This is an opportunity to improve business outcomes by leveraging individual behavior. But it has generated unprecedented challenges for connectivity, security, scalability, and now for DCN.
In addition to those factors, consider application elasticity, which has been achieved by combining standardization, consolidation, virtualization and automation of services. All facets and components of DCN have been under stress, hitting their limits from the technical, operational and financial perspectives. The tumultuous growth of service usage is paired with the unpredictable, dynamic combination of services for bottom-up business process innovation driven by prosumers, heavily impacting DCN configuration and performance.
For example, the business report that’s made immediately available on my tablet today could stimulate the execution of tasks in a planning application, as my immediate reaction to received information. The application workload and operational window could then change, under pressure from the business to capture the new best practice. DCN should flexibly adapt to new requirements, quickly deploying needed configurations across a variety of devices and functional silos but keeping the whole environment under control. Add to that the universal pressure on cost, and it’s clear that the overall equation cannot be solved with the traditional approach.
Here is the essence of HP Network Transformation Services: find the way, unique to each customer, to combine available technological capabilities in innovative architectural models (such as HP Data Center Reference Architecture) in order to achieve the optimal, dynamic balance between planned and unplanned service needs. And do so without negatively impacting current SLA, while reducing capital and operational costs.
The discontinuities introduced by Cloud, prosumers and data center evolution will not allow any IT organization to rely simply on a collection of best practices any more.
Transformation is not necessarily so risky and critical to discourage. Read how HP transformed its own network while avoiding downtime.