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Why SDx has graduated from hype to large-scale deployment

Thu 6 Apr 2017 | Dave Chopra

Software-defined business

Dave Chopra, Vice President of Global Infrastructure Services at Wipro, discusses why it is now or never for CIOs deploying a software-defined (SDx) strategy…

We are currently at a huge economic and technological crossroads. Every major industry is undergoing rapid transformation, and the rate of change is speeding up all the time. This is overturning the market conditions and operating environments for most businesses. Meanwhile, the global economy has also sped up over the last ten years, meaning that traditional business cycles which used to take place over a period of years can now be observed in a period of months.

In this environment, many businesses are responding by undertaking digital transformation with the idea of using technology to change their business models and make their companies more responsive and adaptable to current market conditions.

‘Software-defined everything’ or SDx – where elements of enterprise technology such as applications and underlying infrastructure such as compute, storage, network, and security are virtualised, managed by software and offered as a service – forms a critical element of this digital transformation. An SDx approach offers quicker and more flexible provisioning of IT services, lower costs and more efficient applications or workloads. 

Adaptable business models

Businesses are operating in an increasingly dynamic and uncertain environment. What this means is that they have to be more adaptable to the fluctuations and changes in their respective market places, and be more ready to remake their business models in line with these changes.

SDx enables the management of different enterprise IT components at a software – rather than hardware – level. As a result, businesses can bring together the full range of these components under one umbrella and treat it as a holistic system.

This allows for unprecedented flexibility, adaptability and scalability, especially when coupled with cloud computing. Now, instead of IT applications being deployed to solve specific IT problems, such as a lack of storage, the whole architecture can be employed to solve business problems in record time. This is revolutionary.

In a recent project, a semiconductor manufacturer suffered from an unpredictable operating environment, where sudden increases in demand could severely tax their entire IT infrastructure. Introducing a more agile IT platform based on an SDx scalable solution, enabled overall automation and self-service for customers. In doing so, the manufacturer was able to reduce the cycle time for service availability by 30%, and bring products to market much more quickly – it ended up winning large orders from Fortune 100 companies.

Maximising investment

CIOs are under ever growing pressure. Rather than solving specific IT or technology-related problems, they are now expected to feed into business strategy and drive greater organisational change and profitability. However, as it stands, many are being asked to do this with one arm tied behind their backs, as in many cases IT budgets are flat or shrinking. They also have to contend with legacy infrastructure, which often no longer serves its purpose effectively.

SDx has now gone through the hype stage, with the pioneers demonstrating the tremendous value it offers

By separating hardware solutions from the software layer, businesses can become smarter in their use of existing technology, and, crucially, use their entire IT suite as one overarching system. SDx allows companies to squeeze every penny from their hardware, and making it evergreen.

Because IT is now so critical to the success (or failure) of businesses, CIOs have to be sure of the ROI before investing large sums in new technologies. Their companies – and their jobs – depend on it. As a result, there is a certain amount of reticence to invest in new, hyped technologies especially at the beginning when one has to make a risky decision to adopt these before their peers and colleagues make the leap. It can also be difficult to get buy-in from the various departments that are touched by SDx, as it entails a significant overhaul to centralise the IT estate.

However, SDx has now gone through the hype stage, with the pioneers demonstrating the tremendous value it offers. As a result, there is now a large-scale take-up of SDx technology, and the rate of deployment will rise significantly in the coming few years, as even more businesses experience the superior agility and business adaptability that SDx offers.

The maturation of virtualisation and automation, the existence of legacy hardware, the wider trends in the global economy and the rapid pace of technology change mean that it is now or never for SDx. CIOs need to get on board or risk being left behind.

Experts featured:

Dave Chopra

Vice President of Global Infrastructure Services | Wipro

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