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Meet digital transformation challenges by scaling IT systems

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Digital transformation, with its new paradigms, presents challenges to your enterprise. New business models are pressuring organizations to rapidly innovate and respond. Success in this environment requires an enterprise IT ecosystem that’s scalable and agile – able to swiftly accommodate growing and shifting business needs.

As an IT or operations executive, you constantly face the challenge of scaling enterprise systems. To succeed in the new digital world, you must quickly meet growing and fluctuating resource demands while remaining efficient, cost-effective and secure. You may also aim to simplify IT infrastructure so that you can become more agile while breaking down traditional structures within your organization.

Here are three ways to accomplish these goals:

1. Know when to scale up instead of out

Digital TransformationFor many enterprises, server sprawl is a significant source of complexity that makes it challenging to adapt quickly. Although you may not be directly involved in managing systems resources, you should be aware of the server sprawl challenge so that you can work with IT managers to solve it. If you run transaction data servers on a distributed x86 architecture, you continue to add servers as the usage of applications, storage and bandwidth steadily increases. These growing workload demands add significant application and database complexity while requiring substantial hardware, space and staffing resources, creating costs and inefficiencies.[i]

Fortunately, there’s often a simpler and more efficient solution. IBM studies have found that once many workloads reach a certain usage threshold, it can be more cost efficient to scale up instead of out. The scale-up approach adds computing resources within systems rather than across systems, enabling faster communication and more effective data sharing. By consolidating your sprawling x86 architecture into a single or handful of scale-up servers, you can reduce total cost of ownership, simplify operations, applications and databases and free up valuable data center space. A mix of virtual scale-up and scale-out capabilities will enable your workloads to flexibly respond to business demand.

IBM studies have also found, and clients who have embraced these studies have noted, that moving from a scale-out to a scale-up architecture can save enterprises up to 50 percent on server costs over three years.[ii] As your system needs continue to grow, a scale-up enterprise server will expand with them while running at extremely high utilization rates and meeting all service-level agreements. Eventually a scale-up server will need to scale out too, but not before providing ample extra capacity for growth.

2. Encrypt at scale

Digital TransformationAs your systems of record scale, your enterprise data security should scale with it. As our previous blog detailed, cyberattacks cost millions and destroy customer trust – more than 78 percent of customers would not automatically return to a business following a data breach.[iii] Encryption keeps incursions at bay: of all data breached since 2013, only four percent was encrypted. Ideally your enterprise should encrypt all data – whether it comes from a database, an application or cloud service, at rest or in flight. Full encryption provides as much as 8.5 times the interception level of alternative solutions, with 93 percent less cost and 81 percent less effort.[iv] As your systems scale, encryption should scale with them, keeping all crucial data protected.

If your enterprise is like most, running x86 architectures with limited resources, computing power and budget, you may be forced to settle for only selectively encrypting data. This form of encryption typically burdens applications, adding significant complexity and risk while taxing valuable developer resources. An enterprise computing platform leverages ultra-fast crypto co-processor technology to encrypt all data while using minimal processing capacity and negligibly impacting service-level agreements. This encompassing encryption is handled at a system level, reducing application complexity while freeing up developer resources to focus on business outcomes.

3. Meet scale demands with agile enterprise computing

Digital TransformationAn enterprise computing platform can drive efficiency and cost savings by helping you scale up instead of out. Yet the platform’s scalability and agility benefits go well beyond this. Research by Solitaire Interglobal Limited (SIL) has found that enterprise computing platforms provide superior agility to distributed architectures. New applications or systems can be deployed nearly three times faster on enterprise computing platforms than on competing platforms. This nimbleness allows you to stay ahead of competitors by more quickly launching innovations and upgrades. Also notably, enterprise platforms are 7.41 times more resilient than competing platforms, allowing them to more effectively cope when resource demands drastically change.[v]

Techcombank, a leading bank in Vietnam, has moved from a distributed x86 architecture to an enterprise computing platform to meet scalability needs. As the Vietnamese banking industry grows rapidly, Techcombank is growing with it – by adding 30 percent more customers and 70 percent more online traffic annually[vi]. To support this growth, Techcombank migrated its applications to an enterprise computing platform. The platform enables Techcombank to scale as demand grows while experiencing enhanced performance, reliability and security.

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Scalability, agility and enterprise computing aren’t just benefits for today’s enterprises – they’re requirements. The tips above will help you to be smart about systems scalability to drive success in today’s fast-moving business environment.

See how Techcombank scales with a stable, secure enterprise platform:

Discover why enterprise computing platforms provide superior agility:

[ii] IBM LinuxONE TCO calculator

[iii]Scaling the Digital Mountain, Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. 

[iv] Pervasive Encryption – A New Paradigm for Protection, Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. 

[v] Scaling the Digital Mountain, Solitaire Interglobal Ltd. 

[vi] Techcombank trusts IBM LinuxONE as its IT foundation for business growth, IBM LinuxONE

CTO, IBM LinuxONE, Distinguished Engineer, IBM Systems

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