3 tech megatrends that will redefine business in 2014

Posted by at 8:58 AM

Gartner identified 10 strategic technology trends for 2014 at a symposium last fall, including mobile, the Internet of Everything, and cloud technology. As we enter 2014, several megatrends stand out from the rest, shaping the way we do business and accelerating the transformation of IT. It’s important to understand these trends beyond the buzzwords and marketing lingo. The key to preparing for tech’s imminent shift is recognizing the business drivers behind these changes and acknowledging their impact on the future of business.

Here are the megatrends that should be top of mind for IT departments and business owners alike:

Software-defined anything (SDx)

The traditional datacenter landscape has changed forever, leaving infrastructure abstracted and virtualized, delivered as a service. We’re seeing virtualization extend well beyond just computing, with storage and network virtualization quickly becoming the norm for most organizations.

This model holds true regardless of whether the infrastructure resides internally or in the cloud. Dependency on physical hardware is being eliminated as software manages everything, increasing flexibility and agility. As infrastructure becomes highly virtualized and moves toward the private cloud, traditional IT resources need to evolve or risk becoming irrelevant.

As businesses begin to consume infrastructure as a service, the skills required to architect and support these environments must evolve as well. Once infrastructure is fully abstracted and optimized, organizations can shift their focus to developing applications to support business outcomes. Continue Reading…

4 major announcements made at VMworld and what they mean for SHI customers

Posted by at 2:45 AM

I’m fresh off the 10th annual VMworld, and amid the sea of often conflicting visions for the future IT landscape, one constant remains: Organizations are making IT architecture decisions today that will provide the foundation for future success or failure.

SHI has made significant investments in building resources and processes to help our customers make sense of these different visions. To help wade through the sea of change, here is a summary of the major themes and announcements from last week’s VMworld, along with how SHI can provide additional customer insight and support:

1. vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) becomes generally available to U.S. customers in September.

Back in May, VMware announced vCHS, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering built on VMware vSphere that enables customers to extend the same skills, tools, networking, and security models across both on-premises and off-premises environments. The Early Access Program’s momentum signals the potential demand for vCHS when it becomes generally available this month.

What this means for SHI customers: As one of VMware’s top partners, SHI has substantial experience helping customers transform their business based on VMware’s virtualization platform, of which vCHS is a natural extension. SHI was also one of VMware’s initial vCHS launch partners, so we’ve had a few months’ head start on other technology resellers. In that time, we’ve built resources and processes to support our customers’ adoption of vCHS and help them maximize their IT investment. Continue Reading…

Making sense of the software-defined data center

Posted by at 12:22 PM

Software-defined data center (SDDC) is the latest buzzword in our industry. SDDC is the phrase used to refer to a data center in which all infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service. Management of the data center is automated by software — meaning the configuration of hardware is done through upper-level software systems. This allows new services to be turned on or off rapidly and existing services to grow and shrink as needed.

This is very different from traditional data centers in which the infrastructure is typically defined by hardware and devices that might require multiple IT administrators to configure them, which can greatly extend the time to market for these solutions.

There are three core components of the software-defined data center: network virtualization, server virtualization, and storage virtualization. There is also an overlying layer that has to support the business logic of SLAs and application performance demands of the organization.

The software-defined data center is considered by many to be the next step in the evolution of virtualization and cloud computing. What separates the software-defined data center from the cloud is its ability to support legacy enterprise applications as well as new services written with cloud in mind. Continue Reading…

Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: The business model and transformative ease-of-use

Posted by at 10:23 AM

If you’ve been watching this space over the past few weeks, you know that my past two blog posts have been part of a series of posts dedicated to reflecting on the first year of the SHI Cloud.

When we launched our cloud offering last summer, we knew that interactions with our customers would validate the true differentiators in our service and help us identify areas for improvement. So far, I’ve covered how our unique networking design has helped us build a successful cloud model for our customers, how we learned that customers prefer simplicity in their cloud service, and how keeping track of every single detail of the cloud for the past year has paid off.

Today, I’m nearing the end of the series with the last two lessons that the past year has taught us: the business model conversation and the importance of transformative ease-of-use. Continue Reading…

Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Keeping it simple and paying attention to the details

Posted by at 10:51 AM

In my last post, I talked about how networking from the bottom up helped us reach success when we built the SHI Cloud. In the second part of our “Lessons Learned” series, I want to stress the importance of simplicity and attention to detail.

Lesson #2: Keep it simple

Customers want the SHI Cloud to provide a secure networking model, world-class virtual infrastructure, and appropriate security controls, all backed by a well-designed operations team with a resilient data center of the highest quality. After that, they want us to get out of the way.

Unfortunately, not all cloud providers do this. Amazon, for instance, has developed their own constructs for cloud computing — their own naming conventions, models, and ways of creating configurations pre-packaged for customers. So application teams, development teams, QA teams, and other functional users of IT infrastructure would have to learn to do things differently if they went with the Amazon cloud.

Customers told us they wanted a cloud that fit with their current processes and operations. The SHI Cloud was built so that customers won’t have to change anything they’re already doing. They have virtual machines running applications or hosting development environments, and they do everything in very specific ways. They’ve invested a lot in their own design, and their own view of computing.

Continue Reading…

How to maintain business continuity with a virtualized infrastructure

Posted by at 10:41 AM

The benefits of virtualization are well known at this point. It’s not like it’s a new technology. It’s been an industry standard for the last five or six years, if not longer. However, we’re still seeing some mid-market customers that are hesitant to jump on the virtualization bandwagon. While many of these organizations don’t have a robust Fortune 50-type infrastructure, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from virtualization.

Those benefits are extensive. For example, the consolidation of an organization’s IT infrastructure, and anytime, anywhere access to its applications.

The main concern frequently expressed in our conversations with customers who are considering a switch to virtualization is in regards to business continuity. IT is being challenged more than ever to assure critical applications are always available to support lines of business.

Continue Reading…