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John Martin, Director of Strategy and Technology, Office of the CTO, APAC, NetApp
It won’t be long till we are surrounded by data. With a self-driving car today generating about 6GB of data every 30 seconds, it is not surprising that the world is forecasted to create 163ZB of data annually by 2025. Home to more than half of the world’s connected users, Asia Pacific will be a major contributor to that data deluge and the growth of the internet/digital economy.
There is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to take advantage of Asia Pacific’s US$1.16 trillion digital economy growth – but it will require enterprises to become Data Thrivers, wherein they aggressively use digital technologies and data to continuously innovate and disrupt the market. This is a result of IDC finding that Data Thrivers experience three times better profitability, new customer acquisition and employee productivity as compared to their lagging counterparts (also known as Data Survivors), who execute digital transformation initiatives on an adhoc basis.
CIOs can help their organizations become Data Thrivers by adopting the next-generation data center (NGDC). Here are three reasons why this is so.
1. Creates a Robust and Future-ready Backbone for the Digital Enterprise
Even though IDC expects organizations in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) to spend US$15.08 billion this year on public cloud services and infrastructure, many enterprises are still reluctant to migrate all their mission- critical apps to the public cloud. This sets up an opening for the data center to meet changing business needs while seamlessly integrating to and supporting the existing (on-premises) infrastructure. With a NGDC, IT teams can easily automate, orchestrate, and scale across multiple platforms at cloud-like operational costs, which in turn helps to accelerate workload and analytical processes since data is able to move to the right location (regardless of environment) at the right time.
A NGDC is also essential for enterprises looking to use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to introduce new services and improve operations. Since AI requires massive yet varying levels of compute power and storage capacity at different phases of the AI pipeline, it will cause performance and data management issues for organizations relying on traditional data centers to operationalize AI. Here’s one way how a NGDC can help: it provides a single platform that unifies the hybrid Fabric-Attached Storage (FAS) used for the data lake, the all-flash FAS used for the training, clustering and testing phase, and cloud used for archive, to ensure a smooth and secure flow of data for AI workloads.
2. Provides the Ability to Optimize Unstructured Data
According to IDC, data challenges commonly faced by enterprises include not having access or control to data, the inability to find the right data (especially for enterprises that adopt hybrid cloud), and data analysis. These issues could potentially worsen in future as enterprises will be increasingly faced with a shortage of IT talents to manage the rapidly growing unstructured data.
A NGDC can help CIOs overcome those challenges and become data-driven by delivering services that ensures data availability and provide data visibility and insights. Moreover, a NGDC enables enterprises to store and manage data securely at scale, which is crucial for handling the fast-growing workloads that the Internet of Things is introducing.
With a NGDC, it will become an enabler – instead of an obstacle – to innovation and business growth
3. Simplifies and Automates Provisioning to Accelerate Innovation
Manual provisioning is still dominant, with nearly half (46 percent) of the IT professionals surveyed by 451 Research indicating that their workload or service provisioning process uses limited automation tools. However, manual provisioning takes up a lot of time and resources. It hinders enterprises from efficiently handling fast-growing data volumes and new dynamic workloads such as those in the cloud. CIOs should therefore leverage policy-based automation and orchestration tools (which are part of a NGDC) to empower staff with self-service provisioning to enable faster big data analysis and accelerate DevOps and innovation.
One organization that has benefitted from modernizing their IT infrastructure with elements of a NGDC is Hoka Hoka Bento (HokBen). By adopting virtualization solutions and a unified storage architecture, the popular Japanese fast food chain in Indonesia managed to increase data storage utilization by 40 percent, which helped speed up its system responsiveness with real-time data discovery and reporting. The new system also enabled it to cope with the growing volume of data coming from restaurant outlets and scale as needed to support the company’s expansion plans.
Data is the new currency—CIOs need to enhance their organization’s ability to gather, manage, and leverage data to better compete in the digital economy. With a NGDC, IT will become an enabler—instead of an obstacle— to innovation and business growth, elevating the role of the CIO from being a service provider to a strategic business partner.