Tom Richards Practice Lead for Systems & Storage at Northdoor
16th July 2020
Traditional IT operational models and technologies are struggling to keep pace with new business aspirations. This is especially true for a new generation of employees, accustomed to the push-button activation of pay-as-you-go online services. Meeting the expectations of employees and customers around speed and convenience demands greater agility, but manual processes and inflexible infrastructure can mean frustrating delays in provisioning the required IT resources. This is why IT organisations within many companies have been trying to transform themselves into agile internal service providers.
In an age of enforced flexible working, IT must balance the needs to maintain business continuity, innovate rapidly and do more with less. While dealing with its own challenges around remote working, the IT organisation must provide the required speed and agility for the business to adapt to new ways of working with partners and customers, all while ensuring data security, performance and cost-effectiveness.
Tom Richards, Practice Lead for Systems & Storage at Northdoor, an IBM Platinum Business Partner, says:
“To support the business while minimising physical access to infrastructure, IT departments are aiming to introduce more automation and adopt a cloud-like approach. Northdoor recommends a hybrid multicloud approach in which some production environments remain on-premises while non-production environments flex up and down more economically on the public cloud. Regardless of the location of your compute and storage resources, everything needs to be as agile and easy as the public-cloud model.”
Achieving the same flexibility for on-premises resources as for the public cloud is vital if IT organisations are to avoid being side-lined. “Shadow IT”—whereby frustrated business users procure their own IT services—is both costly and risky in terms of data security. By adopting technologies and practices that enable cloud-like agility and speed of provisioning, IT organisations can ensure that business users don’t feel the need to look elsewhere.
Of course, budgets are tighter than ever, so IT organisations also need flexible, low-commitment models for acquiring and operating solutions. With innovative options such as Storage Utility Offering, IBM makes it easy to scale storage costs up and down in line with changing needs—perfect for uncertain times.
What’s more, the new IBM storage portal provides transparent pricing for the latest IBM FlashSystem 5000 hybrid and all-flash storage arrays. Combining enterprise-level resilience and performance with SME-friendly costs, the FlashSystem 5000 range is the ideal flexible platform for cloud-like on-premises storage. And with the latest IBM FlashSystem solutions, the cross-range bundling of IBM Spectrum Storage management software makes creating a multicloud environment simpler than ever.
“Northdoor has deep expertise in designing, deploying and managing hybrid cloud environments for businesses of all kinds,” says Tom Richards. “With IBM FlashSystem, you can easily integrate with AWS or IBM Cloud to enable a hybrid cloud strategy. Some clients use this for airgap protection against ransomware—by sending immutable system snapshots periodically to the cloud—while others use Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud as a replication target for real-time backup and DR.”
As IT organisations shift to the internal service provider model, a change of mindset is needed. Businesses don’t want data storage as such; rather, they want to use responsive, data-driven applications that enable them to generate value for stakeholders.
“In general, businesses don’t care where their applications and data run, so long as the required SLAs around availability, performance, security, cost and—in particular—speed of provisioning are met,” says Tom Richards. “Northdoor can help you not only with designing the right infrastructure but also with building the management processes around it—so that you can focus on business, not IT.”
“With IBM FlashSystem, IT departments can combine the cost-efficiency, control and security of the on-premises model with the flexibility and speed of the cloud. And in addition to helping you plan and implement the right infrastructure for a more demanding world, Northdoor can provide expert 24/7 managed services, releasing skilled IT professionals from low-level administration to better focus on business needs.”