“It is time to leave behind the old data management methods that involved working with individual data silos, preventing us from leveraging the power of this data to its maximum potential. An automated, collaborative and unified form of working is what the industry demands,” says Sanjay Agrawal, Technology Head, Hitachi Vantara in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises effectively optimize their private and hybrid cloud to improve cost-efficiency and manageability?
Sanjay Agrawal: The key to cost efficiency and operations management for enterprises is an automated, agile, and efficient infrastructure. With the pandemic accelerating digital transformation across sectors, most companies have taken the hybrid cloud route. Hybrid cloud adds to the private cloud by keeping selected applications and data on a public cloud while controlling everything locally.
Start by identifying your cloud goals and exploring solutions that are in line with your business outcomes. Adopting pre-designed and pre-engineered solutions allows for quick and risk-free implementation while freeing up your resources for other business needs. Today, most enterprises choose a secure, fully managed, flexible and end-to-end hybrid cloud with automated cloud-native solutions that deliver leading DevOps and data services for maximum cost-efficiency and manageability.
Ensuring the right balance of workloads across private and public clouds in the hybrid model is critical to success. For example, a business application with changing usage patterns and occasional high peaks may be best suited for public cloud deployment if it is not business-critical. Similarly, a dataset accessed frequently with lower latency must be placed locally on-premise.
A workload assessment will ensure accurate placement of workloads and maintain an appropriate balance in the hybrid cloud bringing in the desired level of cost efficiency and manageability. The selection of a suitable technology partner in this cloud journey plays an important role. The partner should not only have technology solutions for a hybrid cloud approach but also have the necessary professional services and expertise to recommend the right balance for a hybrid cloud. Additionally, they should also be able to help enterprises migrate identified workloads to the public cloud. Their expertise and services for modernising applications into becoming cloud-native can provide excellent results in terms of cost efficiency and agility.
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ET Bureau: With rapid digital transformation increasing the workloads on the data centers, how can converged infrastructure deliver better customer outcomes?
Sanjay Agrawal: Enterprises are now becoming completely data-driven in today’s digital age, thereby increasing the workload on data centers. There is a demand for data-driven, future-proof solutions that can take on these modern workloads to deliver improved customer outcomes.
The convergence of different smartphone features like instant messaging, camera, internet, etc., has made our days highly productive without any operational challenges. Converged infrastructure deployment in data centers has redefined efficiency benchmarks and helped enterprises shift the focus from IT operations to business innovations.
It helps minimize Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) significantly with pre-optimized configuration, integration, simplified and unified management. It also reduces compatibility issues between different subsystems like servers and storage systems.
Converged infrastructure with its accelerated deployment results in faster time-to-production and go-to-market, giving enterprises a competitive advantage. A further developed model with a higher level of convergence of servers and storage is also becoming common these days, and it is called hyper converged infrastructure (HCI).
Data-driven enterprises have workloads that need to manage huge amounts of data in their data centers, for which an optimized hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) deployment becomes critical. It functions as an extension of HCI for data with LAN, SAN and Object storage for managing file data, block data and objects, respectively without the need to unnecessarily scale compute nodes. It ensures significant cost reduction and improved manageability.
ET Bureau: According to you, What steps do you suggest CIOs should take to manage data across applications, VMs and hybrid cloud for a greater business value?
Sanjay Agrawal: It is time to leave behind the old data management methods that involved working with individual data silos, preventing us from leveraging the power of this data to its maximum potential. An automated, collaborative and unified form of working is what the industry demands.
Challenges of siloed data are being addressed by enterprises with the evolution of data lakes from a platform perspective for all types of data that are generated by business applications, humans and machines or IT systems. Data lakes should have native capability to manage data of many petabytes and help in data discovery. Data lake platforms based on object storage have demonstrated value for big data management, compliance and discovery. Additionally, a metadata-based approach helps create a structure for unstructured data, thus delivering more business insights.
DataOps connects data consumers with data creators for effective data management. It promises to bring the same level of benefits in terms of agility and accelerated outcomes as we have seen with DevOps in the applications space. DataOps help bridge the gap between the data preparation team and analysts that help accelerate decision-making for data-driven enterprises. After data platform optimization and discovery, the next important initiative for enterprises is to create an intelligent data cataloguing solution to solve data challenges for decision making across edge to core to cloud environments.
ET Bureau: What trends do you expect to emerge in the automated hybrid cloud environment?
Sanjay Agrawal: Hybrid cloud has already become the go-to cloud model for most enterprises. In the years approaching, with rising concerns around cybersecurity and data privacy risks, security strategies will also begin to adapt to the hybrid cloud environments and the associated cloud-native ecosystem more tangibly. Siloed governance between on-premise infrastructure and the cloud is no longer an option. Enterprises will now unify security practices across environments to reach negligible risk levels and deploy best policies/practices for maximum security.
Automation is the key to success for most IT initiatives and will be one of the most important contributors in cloud environments. Automated tasks reduce human errors significantly and is not only limited to routine tasks but can also be extended to IT provisioning with a self-service approach, to businesses and its life cycle management including compliance. Automated provisioning is common for the entire IT stack including applications to help enterprises accelerate time to application with little or no human intervention. Automation is instrumental in a hybrid cloud environment to migrate and run workloads in the public cloud while providing a single operating model that manages workloads across both environments.
Sanjay Agrawal is the Technology Lead, Hitachi Vantara, India. Sanjay joined Hitachi Vantara in 2017 and brings with him over 30+ years of industry experience. In this role, Sanjay is responsible for the technical direction at Hitachi Vantara and leads a team of solutions-focused business consultants and technical experts in India to help customers realize business transformation. His team is responsible for developing solutions in Analytics, IOT, Content Platform, Public Safety Solutions, Enterprise Storage and Server solutions.