5 mins

The new year is a chance to put a line in the sand – an opportunity to review and reassess decisions and plans.

For those of us working in enterprise technology, the pace of digital disruption makes such objectivity especially important. In this new era of enterprise IT driven by digital transformation, making the right choices is more essential than ever.

Against this backdrop, Telstra recently worked with 451 Research to take a microscope to enterprise IT, examining how the role of hybrid is shaping our decisions, and how colocation, cloud and connectivity are impacting businesses around the world. So what does that research tell us?

The state of hybrid: A move off-premise

The 451 Research study shows organisations are expecting to begin shifting IT away from their premises towards an IT resources consumption model – a trend which helps reduce capex and space requirements to house hardware, as well as allowing the redeployment of staff to other areas of the business. The data shows a declining proportion of workloads housed on-premise, along with a rising level of most off-premise workloads (with the exception of hosted private cloud).

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The need to provision apps and resources faster, reduce IT spending, and meet demand among end-users for new features are prompting businesses to go off-premise. The survey shows that currently 45% of organisations are using a mix of cloud resources and on-premises non-cloud servers for their production workloads. Some 17% of companies are planning to gradually phase out on-premise non-cloud servers in favour of more widespread cloud adoption. One in 10 organisations claim they have already gone ‘all in’ on cloud, with the entirety of their IT workloads and processes.

Data centre trends: Colocation for compliance

Colocation has long been a central part of digital transformation strategies. Localising infrastructure reflects enterprise requirements to put apps and data as close to local users as possible, as well as assuring connectivity, resilience and availability with core service providers. The 451 Research study sees digital transformation giving colocation a new lease of life.

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While security and latency are expected benefits for colocation, sovereignty holds the top spot. The survey found that in the context of colocation, decisions are being shaped principally by considerations about what data can and cannot be stored in certain locations – due to compliance regulations such as the US Patriot Act, the EU Data Protection Regulation, the healthcare industry’s HIPAA obligations, and PCI DSS in financial services and retail, as well as many other country-specific regulations. Indeed, as online regulation becomes ever more complex in light of macro-economic changes such as Brexit, compliance could take on an even greater role to create demand for colocation.

The path to software-defined

Executive concerns around data centres and networking are primarily centered on responsiveness and the lead time to provision connectivity or purchase new hardware. Managing networks and scaling quickly when required also crop up regularly as issues, leading to a desire for innovation to solve these challenges.

Enter SDN or software-defined networking – technology that’s able to better provide scalability, flexibility, visibility and control of hybrid IT infrastructures.

However, the study found that the surveyed companies generally appear to have a moderate understanding of various aspects of the SDN value proposition, noting that the driving forces for SDN adoption happen to be elements that can have the greatest impact in making the business more nimble. These include dynamic control of the network and interconnections that feed critical data to applications.

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As 451 Research notes in the study, a pragmatic first step may be to partner with a service provider that has gained early-adopter SDN experience, and which can therefore enable a controlled transition to the more flexible capacity management that SDN can provide.

For example, Telstra’s PEN Platform is a software-defined networking suite that empowers organisations to build high-performance, on-demand networks. It is cost-effective and reliable in accelerating provisioning and time to market, giving organisations the flexibility and scalability required to bridge hybrid cloud deployments. PEN is built on Telstra’s global network – one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced networks.

For more insights and information on the role of colocation, cloud and connectivity, download and read the Telstra and 451 Research report here.