Expert discusses data centre modernisation for transformation success

Expert discusses data centre modernisation for transformation success

Modernising the data centre is about harnessing innovative capabilities to operate with a competitive edge. Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres, discusses the importance of modernising the data centre for successful Digital Transformation, using automation tools such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to swap the rigid architectures of yesterday.

As organisations across the board look for ways to grow their businesses, they need to deliver differentiated products and experiences without compromising security or customer data. CIOs who make decisions about infrastructure understand that they need agile technology to support their vision, which cannot happen without upgrading legacy systems and enabling innovation. In particular, forward-thinking businesses realise that improving their data and analytics capabilities and increasing their use of cloud technologies is a top priority.

There’s no question that business models are rapidly shifting in today’s digital economy, placing new pressure on IT, and this shift has major implications for data centres. As the heart of the organisation that’s responsible for delivering IT services and enabling Digital Transformation, the data centre has to become more agile and responsive than ever before.

Unfortunately, traditional in-house data centres can’t deliver. They have too many issues that hamper agility and prevent Digital Transformation. Typically, their architecture is based on siloed layers and purpose‐built hardware, none of which is easy to change. Compounding the issue, this inflexible infrastructure is too often managed through fragmented and onerous manual processes. The bottom line ‐ companies need to shift their perception of IT from a support function to a strategic partner and business enabler.

To stay relevant, IT must change by adopting new approaches to the data centre that support multi-cloud environments across a range of private and public clouds, because more flexible approaches to the data centre help IT quicken the development and delivery of applications that keep the business ahead of the curve.

So how can organisations reach this goal? This is where data centre modernisation comes into play.

When outsourcing into a modern professional data centre, businesses can easily overcome the challenges associated with Digital Transformation and deliver the speed, innovation and agility needed to succeed in the digital economy.

With the growing trend of moving applications to the cloud, data centres are as relevant and important as ever. They are neither dead, nor are they dying. They remain critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, and as such, there is huge value in keeping certain applications and services running on-premises, even while migrating other applications to the cloud. However, even the most solid data centre must adapt and evolve to meet today’s technology needs.

Modern data centres are designed to enable the agile, digital, customer-oriented IT models that are crucial for success today. Modern data centres are software-defined, virtualised, highly automated, and able to scale up, or down, as needed.

Moreover, they offer a consistent operational model for quicker and more efficient infrastructure and application delivery and management. They allow businesses to seamlessly extend their reach across private, public and hybrid clouds and manage all these costs as a whole. They support cloud-native apps, container technologies such as Kubernetes, as well as microservices-based architectures to drive more rapid innovation and facilitate rapidly changing systems at scale. They also have security built-in from the ground up to protect data, applications and infrastructure, which enables organisations to meet their compliance requirements.

In short, the modernised data centre swaps the rigid architectures of yesterday, for highly dynamic, agile and available, compute, network, storage and security services with unified management – all of which enable the IT department to respond faster to dynamic and constantly evolving business needs.

Data centre modernisation is also about more than simply carrying on doing what you did before, only with updated technology. It is a real opportunity to take advantage of the previously unimagined computing power offered by public clouds and the ability to perform tasks at speeds that were not even a possibility before.

Much of this can be attributed to the sheer scale of what is available on the market. The top colocation providers, and the hyperscalers, house up to hundreds of thousands of servers, conducting trillions of storage transactions daily. Modernising the data centre is about harnessing this power and alongside it, the new possibilities for innovation.

In the past, IT departments have focused too much on looking after their hardware and infrastructure investments, and not enough on Digital Transformation. A major benefit of data centre modernisation and outsourcing is that tech teams will spend much less time managing hardware and trying to plan capacity. Also, they can work more closely with other areas of the business to help find answers to the important questions that matter to the board – such as how to improve customer experience, or how to reach new markets and territories. With data centre modernisation, IT becomes an agent of business-focused transformation. It can focus on innovating and taking advantage of the opportunities brought about by a slew of new technologies, such as IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and analytics.

The modern data centre also improves security and flexibility. Security is still one of the major stumbling blocks to the adoption of public cloud services and these are key to data centre modernisation. This perception is faulty because instead of putting security at risk, data centre modernisation will enhance it. The leading cloud players and colocation providers have security budgets and experience that far exceeds what any organisation could hope to achieve on its own.

Another major benefit of Digital Transformation is that it allows businesses in every sector to create new applications and services, and make them available around the world, quickly. However, in certain sectors, such as financial services or healthcare, issues around compliance can present a hurdle. Modernising the data centre can solve this issue too.

Looking back a few years, we saw many organisations get burned by investing in new technologies that promised transformation, but didn’t deliver… and certainly didn’t result in the promised return on investment.

Across every industry, businesses are dealing with growing volumes of structured and unstructured data and modernising the data centre enables organisations to leverage this data for strategic decision-making, and turn the massive volumes of data in the business into bottom-line results. It’s about developing systems and processes that harness the vast volumes of data in the organisation to drive better decision-making, cut costs, save time and more.

One thing is clear: data centre modernisation can help the business achieve a wide-range of benefits, adding significant business value and often becoming the essential cornerstone of Digital Transformation. 

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