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IT infrastructures in the digital age

Posted on 16 November 2012 by Pierre Picard

IT infrastructures in the digital age

Having already enabled organizations to manage their operations more effectively, and then to optimize them, today digital technology is establishing itself as an essential driver for innovation, actively boosting business competitiveness. This means that infrastructures will have to evolve, continuously, in order to keep pace with both the needs and the constraints faced by the organization.

Philippe Miltin, Executive VP, Bull Computing Solutions

With the new-generation Data Center as envisioned by Bull, agility comes right back to the heart of the information system, to help enterprises innovate more effectively. The new-generation Data Center operates on an industrial scale, so it can meet flexibly the demands of the business by delivery the service levels it needs.  It is highly secure, so it can guarantee data integrity and availability, taking advantage of the most advanced surveillance techniques and resources. Because it is fully optimized, it simplifies systems administration and operation and improves the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for all its component parts. Its power is the driver businesses have been looking for, to speed up their projects and create more value.

Data Center transformation has to be a holistic approach, because not only it involves users adopting new working practices, but the IT Department has to embrace a whole new role as production resources are concentrated into private, public or hybrid Clouds. I believe there are four key factors that are essential to the success of this kind of transformation.

First and foremost is agility. At a time when every company has to create new products or roll out new services faster and faster, just to stay in the race, infrastructures rationalization and modernization is the top priority.  The transition towards ‘IT as a Service’ is a unique opportunity to accelerate this move. For the IT Department, it involves designing the technical architecture that will underpin the services which will be offered to users in the form of a catalogue. These services are automated and optimized, standardized and billable. But to achieve a transformation like this, you need to analyze the full impact of the Cloud on the organization and its business processes, and choose the appropriate services models that meet all the requirements in terms of service levels, security and costs. This is a highly complex project that needs to be planned and designed with a long-term outlook, step by step, to manage all the risks involved.

That’s the raison d’être behind Bull Advisory Service, the consultancy unit dedicated to IT transformation. On the basis of targeted audits, its consultants identify optimization project, then define the roadmap towards a services-oriented infrastructure. This is also the thinking behind the Le cloud by Bull™ offering, which brings together all Bull’s expertise to build public, private and hybrid Cloud infrastructures.

Since these days any break in service affecting an application or any loss of data is becoming intolerable, the IT Department must also clearly demonstrate its ability to guarantee the service continuity and security of the organization’s mission-critical systems. To do this, the Department has to pay constant attention to its IT infrastructure and actively manage the risks associated with it. Because nowadays just being reactive is not enough: you have to actively anticipate, to deliver faultless service. This involves unified surveillance, control and support mechanisms, which are the only ways to guarantee the highest levels of service in terms of availability and continuity.

Bull is delivering these kinds of offerings, including the High Availability Center , its international supervision centers, highly secure hosting centers and its Vision unified infrastructure surveillance services which provide a veritable command and control tool for the new-generation Data Center.

Naturally, the financial aspects are also essential to Data Center transformation. It’s not only about managing costs, but optimizing them, including at an operational level. Assessing the TCO of infrastructure components, evaluating the costs of service, analyzing CAPEX, implementing variability mechanisms, cutting energy bills, outsourcing all or part of the information systems… these all need to be considered as an integral part of the long-term transformation planning. This understanding of the costs and value of each component is inextricably linked with the transformation towards the new-generation Data Center. And that is one of the key areas of expertise of our consulting teams, who know how to identify ‘quick wins’ when it comes to saving money, which in turn can help finance longer-term improvement projects. Thanks to our know-how as an outsourcing supplier we can implement sustainable mechanisms for reducing costs and making them more flexible, as part of multi-year contracts based on a commitment to results.

Finally, ensuring the operational excellence of the Data Center should help speed up innovation projects. And to keep pace with constantly evolving business ecosystems and deal with the daunting explosion in the amount of data to be processed, constant attention has to be paid to performance. Among other things, this involves the growing use of supercomputers and the most scalable enterprise servers, speeding up the virtualization of critical applications and implementing powerful systems administration and provisioning tools, which all contribute to deliver the highest levels of service to users.

All these requirements guide the evolution of Bull’s portfolio of solutions. By ways of proof, Bull won the award for best private cloud project at VMworld Europe  in Barcelona for its bullion cloud platform™  considered acclaimed as a highly secure private cloud infrastructure, while the results of the recent international SPECint®_rate2006 benchmark demonstrated the exceptional performance of Bull’s X86 server, bullion™, which was twice as fast as its rivals.. This unique body of expertise, combined with Bull’s in-depth understanding of data protection, makes the Group one of the leading players when it comes to meeting the need for ‘Big Data’ processing.

Thanks to its ability to bring together all its know-how as a systems architect, integrator, operator and global player in security, Bull is able to offer innovative made-to measure business solutions, like the digital archiving of medical imagery, paperless processing and BI or CRM, with, for example, specific approaches for local authorities. At a time when computing is becoming more and more business and sector oriented, it is these kinds of offerings that will make all the difference.

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