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Automated data dynamics in hybrid clouds at InterConnect 2017

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IBM is devoting an entire track and two keynotes at IBM InterConnect 2017—March 19–23, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada—tailored specifically to storage technology and the intelligence behind hybrid cloud infrastructure. Why are hybrid clouds becoming so desirable for organizations that need agile, flexible and reliable infrastructure for demanding, data-intensive workloads? The answer is the rapid pace of change in the business environment that drives the need for instant access to pay-as-you-go resources without having to endure a long procurement process.

In today’s business climate, storing data is easy. You can store data off premises in clouds, and you can store data on premises in your data center. The challenging part for competitive organizations is figuring out which data to keep and maintain on premises, which data to place out in the cloud and how to move all that data back and forth seamlessly and automatically as needed.

To gain insights rapidly that lead to smart business decisions, transformative businesses need hybrid cloud environments that are built on the right infrastructure for supporting cost-effective, intelligent storage. Hybrid clouds are rapidly becoming a reality because of the economics, reliability and speed of all-flash storage; hardware-agnostic, cloud-based and on-premises software-defined storage (SDS); and converged infrastructure that integrates servers, storage, networking and a single interface for managing these environments.

Automatic data movement

The challenge to efficiently manage the movement of data to and from the cloud can be critical for a wide range of organizations. For example, a hospital may choose to store medical images on premises for easy access during the course of diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, the hospital may also decide to leverage the cost efficiency and scalability of cloud-based storage to archive and protect medical records in a secure and regulatory-compliant private cloud for a specific period of time.

Storage with built-in intelligence such as IBM Hybrid Cloud Storage, for example, offers a hybrid cloud model that can support seamless data movement to locations on and off premises with minimal friction. The storage technology uses intelligent cloud tiering to automatically move data to the appropriate tier based on user needs. Hot data, for example, can be placed in all-flash storage while cold data can be stored on disk, in the cloud or on tape.

The need for speed

Comprehensive analysis of large volumes and varieties of data is no longer enough to outperform the competition. Rapid analytical results are important for disruptive businesses. They need to draw insights quickly within analytics-capable infrastructures that are optimized and designed to support cognitive analytics workloads.

Cognitive techniques such as natural language processing and machine learning use sophisticated algorithms that require exceptional performance. All-flash storage arrays provide a good foundation for cognitive computing by helping to reduce latency. They minimize the lag time between collecting raw data and performing the deep analysis that can lead to taking strategic, insight-driven action.

Flash technology offers data agility―automated, policy-driven data reallocation to and from appropriate storage media with little or no human intervention or time-consuming processes. IBM FlashSystem arrays, along with all-Flash IBM Storwize and IBM DS8880 storage, can accelerate time to value by locating, extracting, sharing and moving data from one point to another and back again almost instantly. This data agility helps businesses achieve enduring, sustainable economic benefits—particularly as workloads grow in size and complexity.

Flexible storage for business agility

Traditional storage infrastructures can be quite challenged by the flexibility, integration and scale that data workloads demand in the cognitive era. And because different types of data are often stored in different systems on different physical hardware, obtaining a holistic view of all your data is equally challenging. SDS can overcome such obstacles by separating the software providing intelligence from traditional storage platforms. SDS automates infrastructure provisioning, enabling organizations to deploy a mix of heterogeneous hardware for enhanced deployment flexibility that meets changing workload demands.

This approach might not seem revolutionary because you may be doing something similar with applications and virtualized servers. What is revolutionary, however, is the ability to deploy agile SDS capabilities on hybrid cloud platforms that include archiving; data protection; scale-out block-and-file storage; and storage automation, management and virtualization.

Versatility in an easy-to-deploy stack

Hybrid cloud infrastructure should not only be fast and reliable—it also needs to adapt easily to shifting priorities. This flexibility explains why IT organizations are transitioning from traditional environments in silos toward integrated infrastructure, in which data center servers, storage, networking and a single management interface are converged in pre-engineered, well-tested and supported rack-based systems.

IBM VersaStack offers a converged infrastructure jointly developed by IBM and Cisco. Based on the Storwize family and IBM FlashSystem packaged with Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), VersaStack converged infrastructure helps deliver ease, efficiency and versatility to big data, cloud computing and enterprise application deployments. As organizations seek to accelerate growth while reducing costs, converged infrastructure solutions offer a cost-effective tool for rapidly rolling out additional and more powerful infrastructure.

A solid foundation for hybrid cloud

Storage keynotes and track sessions at IBM InterConnect 2017 offer a unique opportunity to see how the right infrastructure options help improve business outcomes and maximize the value of IT investment. Attend the event’s breakout sessions, client panel discussions and engaging demos to learn about recent enhancements to IBM technologies that support hybrid cloud platforms. Specific sessions focus on several key areas:

  • Accelerating infrastructure deployment: Learn how to power a business-centric services stack with VersaStack converged infrastructure.
  • Reducing storage complexity: See how IBM Spectrum Scale transparent cloud tiering helps push and pull cloud data.
  • Looking at what’s ahead: Explore the latest innovations, and get an inside look at storage trends and directions from IBM experts.
  • Gaining a competitive edge: Discover how to transform, modernize and monetize with Flash technology and SDS solutions.

If you haven’t started thinking about how to build an intelligent infrastructure for hybrid cloud deployment, now is the time. Explore the InterConnect 2017 curriculum. I look forward to seeing you at IBM InterConnect 2017–register today!

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