Eric J. Bruno
According to IDC, business demand for cloud has grown and will continue to grow significantly for the next few years, and well beyond. However, the cloud space has become so competitive, it’s becoming more and more difficult for cloud service providers (CSP) to find or sustain profitability. After cutting costs and driving out inefficiencies, where do you turn for growth? In a word: Innovation.
Through advances in areas such as software-defined infrastructure (SDI) and storage technology, CSPs can offer customers better prices and better performance, instead of a choice between the two. As an added bonus, advances in these areas put more capabilities in your customers’ hands to respond to change. Not only is this something customers want, it saves you time and money to boot.
Software Defined Infrastructure
As enterprises continue to embrace agility through DevOps, software defined infrastructure (SDI) brings needed automation to the cloud space to help advance agile maturity. Moving to higher levels of maturity in terms of agility, CSPs can serve their customer needs more effectively through self-provisioning of cloud services and solution deployment. With SDI, cloud infrastructure is run entirely within a single software control plane instead of separate hardware control planes for network, compute, and storage administration.
SDI enables orchestration across the entire cloud infrastructure, removing the need to deal with individual hardware or vendor-specific management tools. This enables faster change cycles, a higher level of responsiveness, improved affordability, and greater agility than was previously possible. Studies show that SDI improves IT efficiency by up to 60% through automation; saves on software costs by up to 70%; and helps reduce the cost of infrastructure and other cloud hardware from 10-20%. As the figure above shows, the cloud customer gets better performances and service, with lower overall cost
Advances in Compute and Storage
When it comes to cloud, compute primarily represents the ability to run customer workloads. Therefore, an improved compute foundation translates to better performance for cloud applications. However, with SDI and other advances in automation, improved compute power translates to greater network and storage performance as well. Compute efficiency is also important, as unutilized or under-utilized compute capacity results in wasted investment and poor resource distribution.
Knowing this, companies such as Intel have focused on specifically improving both performance and efficiency. As a result, today’s advanced cloud providers have designed their infrastructure to improve raw performance for virtualization, aimed at delivering improvements to server, storage, and network workloads. The bottom line to you and your cloud customers is 4x greater performance for every dollar spent, increasing the value of cloud deployments even more.
Advances in processor technology go beyond clock speed; server manufacturers are delivering innovations that specifically improve cloud-based storage performance as well. Advances in storage technology can arguably have a greater impact on cloud customer satisfaction than in other areas of performance. Software-defined storage, part of SDI, greatly improves both agility and scalability through advances such as: