Why and how does the cloud-based paradigm have to successfully make its entry among SAP customers? Only few SAP customers are prepared for the public cloud. It is hard to achieve mastery over costs, complexity and legal risks. So how do you achieve the balancing act between the need for a more agile IT and maintaining control in your own datacenter? The Nutanix concept of the Enterprise Cloud provides an answer. The complete special is available as PDF at the bottom of the page.
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The run on the public cloud is in full swing worldwide. Without a doubt, the public cloud has set a new IT standard. The new imperatives are called scalability, automation, standardization and usage oriented towards demand.
In all these aspects, the cloud is superior to traditional datacenter-based infrastructures. Worse still, IT professionals‘ own colleagues expect IT to deliver the same thing as their own cloud providers do in their private usage-environment.
As a result, shadow-IT grows and IT personnel‘s own image is tarnished among the company management and application-users.
Infrastructure as Ball and Chain
The former recipe for success, particularly for SAP customers – systems and infrastructure components perfectly coordinated to match one another, individually-adapted core solutions for ERP, and numerous integrations to provide further corporate solutions, such as CRM – now seems to be a ball and chain clamped around IT’s ankle.
In the datacenter, the digital transformation means making new services and applications available to application-users, flexibly and, above all, quickly. It also means including the end-customers in the digital value-chain.
In this dilemma, little or nothing is changed by the technical progress made in the 2000‘s, such as all-flash arrays in the storage area or the virtualization of the servers. Here too, the limits are still too rigid with regard to scalability, flexibility, complexity and – above all – costs.
Hence the well-known big players in the cloud, such as Amazon, Facebook or Google, set out on their own paths from the start, controlling their own datacenters solely through software.
This massively reduces dependency on hardware and the costs for hardware, making linear scalability possible and radically reducing the implementation times for new services.
Subsequently, what would be a more obvious step than to accept the offer made by established cloud providers, using their infrastructure for the user’s own environment?
What looks so simple at first glance proves to be far more complicated when you take a closer look.
In particular, Crisp Research has discerned three obstacles: complexity, costs and compliance. Carlo Velten notes, ”The complexity of corporate environments does not simply disappear in the cloud – rather it has to be purchased and administered there.
In many instances, potential for automation remains unused for lack of knowledge and resources, while excessively large capacity resources are retained because actual demand is so hard to predict.
All of this leads to higher costs and less agility than was hoped for.“ Still, legal issues emerging from different local rulings regarding data-protection or such rulings‘ enforceability in high courts are left unresolved. For instance, the arduously negotiated Privacy Shield could suffer the same fate as its predecessor, Safe Harbor.
Nonetheless companies need what Velten calls a “digital-infrastructure platform.“
Hyperconverged Infrastructure: The Digital-Infrastructure Platform
The platform must provide the four already-mentioned characteristics – scalability, automation, standardization and demand-oriented use – also in the company‘s own datacenter.
More and more frequently, modern applications are programmed for the cloud from the word go, using current technologies such as virtualization or containers. In many cases the plan is for them to be made available to the end-client via the web.
However, Nutanix’s assessment is that, on average, only one quarter of all workloads in companies require so much elasticity that public cloud infrastructures are necessary for them to operate. The great majority of corporate applications can by all means still be made available in a company’s own datacenter – provided that the infrastructure there follows the cloud paradigm.
Traditional architectures are becoming less and less suitable for this. Although today these make it possible to implement a virtual machine within minutes, it takes days or weeks for that machine to be provisioned properly at the storage level or network level.
There are problems relating to interoperability between various storage platforms, as well as the need to keep more resources available rather than fewer, for reasons of performance. All this favors the formation of IT silos in the datacenter. These make the shared use of resources more difficult, in some cases even impossible.
Enterprise Clouds as a Solution
Nutanix and Lenovo offer a solution that makes the cloud paradigm a reality in the user’s own datacenter, overcoming the barriers that separate classic infrastructures.
Nutanix stands for software management of the infrastructure components and eliminates the obstacles between the private and public cloud, while Lenovo provides the suitable appliances with its HX series.
With its central management console, Nutanix makes the infrastructure almost appear invisible to the administrator, from the hardware through to the hypervisor. This way, IT has the freedom to concern itself with services and applications.
As the application-user views it, this solution becomes as fast and as ‘cool’ as public cloud offerings, while the user retains full control and data-sovereignty. The public cloud can be drawn into this on a flexible basis, where necessary and justified to do so – a genuine Enterprise Cloud emerges.
According to SAP the future of IT will be hybrid or bi-modal. For their customers, with the Enterprise Cloud of Nutanix on Lenovo Appliances, this future is already a reality