Forecasting the Future – IT at the Speed of the Business

If only I could, well the next race at Royal Ascot would see me sorted! Predicting and forecasting are key activities for many organisations looking to gain competitive advantage. Finding the next big thing, or responding to new market forces drives a world of constant change, and organisations need to be responsive. These days, business waits for no person; procrastination and delay only lead to one result – failure.


There is little doubt that the process of uncovering a piece of critical insight can define the future of an organisation. Getting there relies heavily on IT. IT agility requires Infrastructure aligned to the business and responsive to changing demands.

IT and agility are terms that rarely appear in the same sentence; however Agile IT that responds at the speed of the business can an effective change enabler, similar to the impact of virtualisation technologies on business versatility. There is no doubt that virtualisation has made a significant difference to the flexibility enjoyed by many organisations today, but how far can you go ?


The benefits of virtualisation apply to all layers in the infrastructure, server, network and storage. For many however infrastructure has often grown in a piecemeal fashion resulting in islands or silo’s of servers, network and storage, and subsequent islands of virtualisation, leading to the well documented concept of sprawl. In my experience silo’s have always been inflexible and expensive to manage, while efficiencies and economies of scale are difficult to achieve.


The ever increasing requirement for the quick response to business opportunity implies assets delivered in minutes and hours, not days and weeks. It has been a very interesting couple of weeks listening to the news on the release of NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2. This new release builds on the solid foundations of storage virtualisation, scalability, unified storage, efficiency and data protection.

It offers massive scale up& out (69 Petabytes, Clusters to 24 nodes), Non-Disruptive Operations (planned maintenance slots -  a thing of the past), Quality of Service controls (manage those problem workloads) and integration with industry standard connectivity and APIs (SMB 3.0,ODX, VAAI VMware vSphere APIs)


In summary Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 delivers agility and addresses the challenges that constrained organisations in the past. Challenges such as responding quickly to business change and new opportunities. Activities such as scaling and adding capacity as you grow, load balancing or the introduction of new storage technologies including  the retirement of old. These challenges used to require significant planning time and were inevitably disruptive to normal business operations.


One interesting use of Clustered Data ONTAP is at CERN. Probably one of the most data intensive organisations in the world today. When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is running it can produce 1 Petabyte of new data in one second. After filtering, Terabytes of data are stored for scientists, and this data requires moving for load balancing and technology upgrades to more cost effective storage. In the past a 100TB Oracle™ Database took 28 days to restore, under Clustered Data ONTAP it takes 15 minutes - without stopping the application.


If you want to find out more then links to all the resources can be found here:


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