Building a digital business that harnesses the massive potential of data, requires a new approach to infrastructure. Yet, adopting the right cloud strategy and delivering data innovation is highly complex. IT leaders convened for virtual breakfast in partnership with Equinix, to share experiences and discuss how to unleash infrastructure innovation.
Andrew McCreath, Senior Principal, Equinix, set out the major trends and developments in data and infrastructure that are powering the evolution of the digital business. Since the early days of the internet, Equinix has provided neutral hubs where networks can exchange traffic.
Fast forward to today, where enterprises are adopting multi cloud and hybrid cloud, forming digital ecosystems to exploit the vast reserves of data at their disposal. Interconnection plays a critical role in delivering the experience and innovation that customers expect. When companies connect directly, instead of via the internet or MPLS, network traffic can be reduced by up to 60% and latency by 30% - a major increase in performance by reducing distance and cost.
Creating digital economies requires a speed and agility that can only be delivered with the right infrastructure. A global market study, The Global Interconnection Index (GXI), anticipates that interconnection bandwidth will grow by 51% in 2018-2022. Slow connections mean applications underperform, users become frustrated and customers vote with their feet - closing apps or abandoning platforms. Yet with the right connectivity, the potential for disruption and innovation increases. The next phase of digital services for example, will disrupt the disruptors, as brokers and marketplaces serve as central points to consume and compare the digital services we’ve grown used to.
How do enterprises find competitive advantage when the potential for innovation is vast, but the technology and infrastructure decisions to support it are complex? Equinix alliance partners NetApp and Microsoft Azure provide data fabric and cloud solutions, which, along with connectivity, build high performing digital businesses. Grant Caley, UK& Ireland Chief Technologist, NetApp, Joshua Moore, Principal Technologist, NetApp, and Lucas Searle, Azure Advanced Networking and Storage Manager at Microsoft led three strategy groups to explore optimising on-premise data management and data portability, the roadmap to hybrid cloud, and how to architect digital ecosystems and the ‘cloud first’ enterprise.
ROADMAPPING TO OPTIMISE AND SCALE WITH CLOUD
A number of key points emerged from the discussions. Data is critical to innovation and growth. Yet the cost of data mobility from across the cloud is a key issue - it’s cheap to get in, expensive to get out. Other challenges involve securing identity management across the data, and how to provide accessibility into the data and ensure it remains in a usable format.
Grant Caley advised that organisations need a single data strategy and it is critical to create portability. Covid-19 has forced organisations to ramp up capability in the last three months - exposing the need for data fabric and the connectivity to deliver that.
Delivering hybrid cloud is a major challenge for many organisations. Yet there’s no such thing as a step-by-step guide to the cloud. Enterprises might think that problems disappear in cloud native businesses, yet siloes, technical debt and politics still exist. Tooling is hard to get right and has to be more user friendly. You need to deliver reports - might not give all the info, but is enough to get everyone on the same page.
Joshua Moore advised that the easiest way to migrate to the cloud, is to leave as much behind as you can! Post Covid-19, can you be more aggressive with the historical data you have and take bold decisions about what to let go of?
Digital ecosystems are a key area of interest. Many organisations are increasingly integrating more third-party services, whilst regulatory drivers, such as Open Banking, point to a world where collaboration is the norm. To deliver this, hybrid cloud or multi cloud is inevitable; the roadmap and adoption has to be crystal clear. Digital has forced everyone to be more agile. Yet to make transformation work, cloud adoption has to align with business strategy and vision. All too often, businesses move into the cloud without this clarity of purpose, missing opportunities to find new business models.
Andrew McCreath, Senior Principal at Equinix, left members with a few thoughts. The future of IT infrastructure is everywhere. The role of the corporate data centre may be diminishing, and whilst cloud is not an endgame, the future of the digital business is shifting towards privately interconnected ecosystems. The last three months have shown agility is not about software, it’s a fundamental principle of how business needs to run. Robust cloud, data and connectivity strategies are vital to achieve that goal
This event held was in partnership with Equinix, a cloud and infrastructure solutions provider.