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DataCore Software 2018 Predictions: Digital Transformation Requires Real-Time Response and Software-Defined Technologies to Reduce the Pain of Disruption

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by George Teixeira, Executive Chairman, DataCore Software

Digital Transformation Requires Real-Time Response and Software-Defined Technologies to Reduce the Pain of Disruption

The world is increasingly moving to real-time business operations, largely driven by the need to align and adapt quickly to changes as well as to improve customer experience -- the life-blood of business success. These goals of enabling real-time business response and creating a better customer experience are what is ultimately driving digital transformation initiatives for many.

As technology has become the driver of customer experience and the foundation which business innovation is built on, it is now imperative for enterprises to become increasingly digital to remain competitive and relevant. However, according to Forrester's 2018 Predictions report, more than 60% of executives believe they are behind in their digital transformation efforts. Digital transformation can be both expensive and disruptive. CEOs can't drive operational savings fast enough to fund it and want to be careful about eroding profit margins. There is a more practical approach to digital transformation: adopting a hybrid approach that maximizes current IT investments with software-defined solutions while successfully evolving and building out digital transformation initiatives.

Today's enterprises ultimately want to make infrastructure invisible, move to more cloud-like service models, and deal with running their businesses and core applications versus getting bogged down within the complexity of the underlying infrastructure, hard-wiring systems or drowning in the details of running IT operations. As a result, they are demanding simplicity and software-defined agility.

In more infrastructure-related areas like data storage, where complexity and the degree of IT integration is increased, the power of next generation software-defined and hyperconverged storage approaches can greatly simplify and automate the provisioning, management and orchestration of resources and data access. A smart software-defined approach avoids the "rip and replace" hardware-minded models of the past to better support digital transformation by making the infrastructure more invisible to the applications and users. Customers need the flexibility and common management services that span the continuum of data storage, all-flash arrays, server SANs, software-defined storage, hyperconvergence and hybrid-cloud deployment models that exist today -  all while preserving the value of their existing investments in data infrastructure. Moving forward, these new and more powerful software-defined technologies will be supportive of modern cloud-like interfaces and technologies like containers, making them very adaptable to support digital transformation.

Application workloads, especially those built on critical databases, also need to be more responsive as business becomes real-time. However, changes and optimizations to databases and especially their associated legacy application workloads can be very disruptive affairs. Therefore, new solutions are available that can take advantage of innovations like Parallel I/O and can now be downloaded to allow "plug and play" self-tuning software that requires no programming or hardware changes, and yet increase performance and improve response times. DataCore, as an example, is working diligently to deliver more of these type of ‘non-disruptive' solutions to a wider range of applications and use cases in 2018.

It is a Hybrid Cloud World, and Software-Defined Solutions are the Bridge

Despite the ever-growing popularity of the cloud, there will always be a need for on-premise technology. Some applications also face larger obstacles in moving to the cloud; latency, intermittent connectivity, and regulation requirements being primary examples. As a result, hybrid cloud technologies will continue to grow in importance in 2018 and beyond.

Fundamentally, hybrid cloud applications can help enterprises more effectively achieve mission-critical business objectives such as accelerating response times and providing more efficient disaster recovery as critical data is continuously replicated within this quickly-deployable hybrid-cloud configuration.

DataCore, for example, has embraced hybrid-cloud, providing a suite of solutions now available both on-premise or on the cloud. Database optimization software offerings are packaged up on cloud marketplaces making them simple and cost effective to deploy. Users for example can evaluate and test drive ‘before and after' database results  on these solutions quickly and use them to accelerate and improve the productivity for their applications and initiatives.

DataCore users with on-premise deployments of software-defined and hyperconverged storage solutions can also run their existing software investments in the cloud or utilize new offerings such as DataCore Cloud Replication as a way to use the cloud as an added replication location to safeguard highly available systems and do disaster recovery. This makes it much simpler for enterprises to take advantage of the scalability, agility and cost-efficiencies of the cloud to quickly roll out a secure remote replication site, while enjoying unified storage management between their on-premises infrastructure and the cloud.

The infrastructure, whether located on-premise or in the cloud, needs to become invisible. Data can be anywhere, and access and responsiveness to meet customer expectations drive what matters. Software-defined solutions are key to bridging these worlds.

Making Infrastructure Invisible: Software-Defined and Hyperconverged Become Hybrid-Converged

Software-defined is the vehicle to modernization and the bridge to digital transformation that unifies old and new technologies. It makes underlying changes invisible to the applications on which organizations depend.

Next generation software-defined storage solutions will continue their momentum as they bridge the gap between complicated legacy infrastructure and modern "invisible" storage infrastructure needs. 

In large part due to digital transformation, the need for speed will drive many to deploy software-defined infrastructure. IDC forecasts that the software-defined storage market will grow at a rate of 13.5% from 2017-2021, growing to a $16.2B market by the end of the forecast period.  According to Forrester's Predictions 2018 report, software-defined infrastructure is set to become mainstream in 2018. Forrester further recommended that production workloads should be placed on software-defined storage and compute platforms.

A hot segment of the software-defined storage (SDS) market over the last few years has been hyperconverged storage. DataCore itself, has seen well over 60% growth rates in its hyperconverged solutions over the last year alone. In 2018, hyperconvergence and SDS will blur their lines, and hyperconvergence will become a subset of an overall software-defined model where customers can have the flexibility to choose how to deploy, whether on physical hardware, virtual machines, on appliances, or in the cloud. The end result is still optimizing business productivity and agility.

The two methods will continue to blend into more of a "hybrid-converged" model that is part of a larger continuum of infrastructure modernization and convergence, and users will be able to easily move among deployment options - from storage virtualization, through converged/server SAN, to hyperconverged, to cloud, to hybrid-converged - all under the control of a unified management plane spanning existing legacy infrastructure and new hybrid-converged infrastructure, with the software-defined flexibility to absorb future technologies.

However, while the move to greater virtualization has made the data center more agile and easier to deploy, it came with the price of greater complexity. At DataCore, having had a unique industry vantage point where we have seen the evolution of software-defined storage over the past 20 years, what is obvious is that IT teams can no longer deal with the different silos to manage their resources and deal with all of the complexity and details involved. Software-defined architecture is the essential bridge, not only across deployment model alternatives, but also between on-premises and cloud infrastructures. But IT will need help from technologies such as automation and machine learning to take software-defined storage to the next level.

Next generation software-defined storage with its emphasis on analytics, automation and low-latency performance to support data anywhere models is critical to getting complexity under control and breaking the chains to allow greater freedom of mobility from private clouds, to multi-site clouds and the public cloud. 2018 will be a key year to see how software-defined storage evolves to the next generation.

Stay tuned to DataCore in 2018; we are excited about rolling-out our next generation software-defined and hyperconverged storage solutions - a new and modern hybrid-converged approach to storage is on its way.


About the Author

George Teixeira 

George Teixeira creates and executes the overall strategic direction and vision for DataCore Software. Mr. Teixeira co-founded the company in 1998 and currently serves as executive chairman. Prior to that time, he served in a number of executive management positions including worldwide vice president of marketing and general manager of the product business group at Encore Computer Corporation, where he and his team that pioneered storage virtualization culminated their work with the $185-million sale of Encore's storage control business to Sun Microsystems in 1997. Mr. Teixeira also held a number of senior executive management positions at the Computer Systems Division of Gould Electronics.

Published Tuesday, January 16, 2018 7:57 AM by David Marshall
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