Converged infrastructure and hyper-convergence gains momentum in SA – but what are the challenges?
Converged infrastructure and hyper-convergence is gaining traction among business IT departments wishing to enable digital transformation while under the constant pressure of increasingly tightening budgets. However, transitioning to converged infrastructure can be fraught with challenges, from implementing a strategy and execution plan, to planning for data integration and change management.
Businesses are already grappling with leveraging the advantages of trends such as Big Data and hybrid environments. Making the change to a converged infrastructure only adds to the pressure faced by CIOs and IT managers as issues such as divisiveness and lack of consensus on objectives arise. To achieve harmony, organisations need to focus on creating an environment in which consensus and productivity can flourish by addressing common pitfalls before they can occur.
Nick Wonfor, Enterprise Account Manager at Commvault, says that for the transition to converged infrastructure to be successful, organisations need to be thinking ahead.
“Successful convergence begins with a business’s home teams. Before embarking on this journey, businesses have to consider developing cross-functional alignment on objectives for convergence, cost considerations of new investments and setting a long-range vision for their converged environment. It’s also imperative that teams understand and agree on how convergence fits into the bigger picture of adding business value to the organisation,” says Wonfor.
There are many perceived benefits of a converged infrastructure driving its demand, such as having a secure on-premises solution combined with the agility and economy of a cloud solution. However, Wonfor notes that success in executing an enterprise-level initiative lies in alignment of the entire leadership team.
“Often, CEOs underestimate the importance of clear communication and an alignment of vision, and the result can lead to ineffective strategies. Before an organisation takes a step toward convergence they need to ensure that all members of the team, from executives to the IT department, can clearly articulate what their vision of a converged infrastructure is, so as to avoid missed objectives,” advises Wonfor.
The impact on the business’s value is another component which needs to be factored in from the start, according to Wonfor. Initiatives such as moving to a converged, or hyper-converged infrastructure, needs to have the backing of faith in the business value of such a move, which need to be clearly communicated to the enterprise at large.
“The link between business strategy and the business value to be found in converged infrastructure, such as enabling digital transformation, improving customer experience and strengthening a cloud investment, must be defined and shared. This drives adoption internally, while promoting alignment with business strategy,” explains Wonfor.
With the constant drive to reduce IT spend, costs of converged infrastructure implementation is another factor to take into account. A McKinsey study found that on average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted.
Wonfor adds that the key to preventing this common occurrence and stay within budget, a team needs to relate to the vision of a converged infrastructure, and motivated to realise this vision with minimal cost impact. Keen and inclusive leadership which encourages unity and cohesion can go a long way to motivating staff to share and uphold an organisation’s vision.
However, even with a motivated team and a shared vision, executing a converged infrastructure initiative still has its challenges in moving from vision to reality. “Solid project management is a must,” says Wonfor, “Adhering to shorter delivery life cycles to prevent waste, putting in place rigorous processes for managing engineering requirements and change requests, and a stable project scope are some of the essentials of a successful technology initiative.”
To ensure deadlines and deliverables are met, project staffing must also be carefully planned. Ideally, IT staff committed to implementing out a converged infrastructure should not be redeployed to other areas of business, no matter how ‘pressing’, so that delivery cycles are maintained and deadlines adhered to.
Considering the importance of data as a valuable business asset today, many organisations are embracing a cloud strategy to lower data storage and management costs while extracting maximum value from their data. With the role of data on a business’s cloud strategy, it’s important to keep data management solutions and the way in which they mesh with - and support - a converged infrastructure alongside myriad cloud and VM environments, at the top of mind.
“Effective leadership - makes all the difference between a harmonious converged infrastructure strategy implementation, and one fraught with difficulties and delays. Proper alignment between all teams involved in the execution, and clearly defined objectives and vision will go a long way to maintaining enthusiasm, staying on track with deadlines and reaping the full rewards of convergence,” concludes Wonfor.
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.