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Investments in enterprise virtualization, centralized administration and hardware with enhanced management and optimization functionality have laid the groundwork for a new era in business responsiveness. The technical capabilities now exist; the time is right to take the next step by using those technologies to enable a fully programmable IT infrastructure able to sense and respond to workload demands automatically. The Software Defined Environment (SDE) is a new approach for holistic, simplified IT management in which software provisions and configures entire infrastructures based on real-time workload needs.
"Working with customers to understand their objectives and needs from a business perspective of their workloads will be always be key"
The strengths of the various technologies in a Software Defined Environment and Software Defined Infrastructure solution integrate into an open, full service, end to end solution, providing accelerated benefits and improved business outcomes.
This solution enables cloud consumers to rapidly deploy and manage infrastructure and engage with applications and consume information, and enables cloud providers to automate the deployment and management of complex clouds. These capabilities extend seamlessly across on-premise private clouds and off-premise private and public clouds.
Challenges across all industries, but especially the Financial Services and Government industry today are similar: IT is measured on keeping the systems stable and functional, while accelerating business development and keeping customers happy in an always-on, always accessible solution landscape. The business wants to develop and deploy new functionality. There is a chasm to cross here between these two viewpoints (status quo vs. new functionality) and this is many times a cultural or organizational problem to solve rather than a technology one.
The greatest impact is often on SLO's (Service Level Objectives) and SLA's (Service Level Agreements). Working with customers to understand their objectives and needs from a business perspective of their workloads will always be the key, and is becoming even more critical and important in these days of mobile, digitization, and Big Data. SDE will provide the benefit of “discovery” of the workloads. This will be effective if business rules are rigorously defined up front, particularly from the non-functional requirements (NFRs) and the peak usage needs.
One very important aspect with SDE is that workloads have to be described as machine-readable patterns so that orchestration engines can interpret them, can instantiate the required software-defined resources, deploy the respective middleware and application workloads on-top and manage the complete workload to fulfill service level objectives (SLOs). SLO's should be very clearly defined.
In an industry that is very dynamic such as financial services, and with multiple initiatives potentially occurring in parallel in the business and datacenter (M&A activity, regulatory, legacy system modernization and transformation, Big Data and Analytics, Mobile, Social, and Security initiatives), and with a technology “complexity” multiplier of Cloud coming into the mix, the more technology enablement is needed to provide a dynamic platform for the shifting and changing business requirements and technical resources. These can be discovered through SDE workload and resource abstraction.
The following summarizes some of the key challenges facing the financial services industry today, and how SDE can help generate improved outcomes.
► Customer experience value creation
► Business diversification
► Business expansion – new markets
► Regulatory and compliance
► Increasing service levels
► Tighter business and IT integration
► Business growth
Software Defined Environment - Benefits and Outcomes for the Cloud Services Consumer
► Competitive advantage through increased differentiation by acceleration of new product launches
► New revenue opportunities by proactively and reactively acting faster to anticipated and unanticipated market changes (for example, financial technology startups, Amazon selling insurance, nontraditional retailers opening banking channels)
► Improved benefits and faster realization of M&A and integration activity (example: a bank buys an insurer)
► Access to new products for the user, and increased revenue and profits for the business by faster entry into new markets
► Improved stability, fewer outages (planned or unplanned)
► Ability for the business to proactively act and react faster to regulatory guidance changes
► Increased business continuity
► Faster application response times
► Less impact on users and the business.
► Better use of facilities and enablement of co-location for data centers to reduce costs
► Faster access to companies new products for the customer
► Access anywhere
► Improved customer service and enablement of shared services
► Customers gain entry into new product offerings faster
► Retention of customers
RESULT: INCREASED CUSTOMER LOYALTY, BUSINESS AND CUSTOMER GROWTH
Software Defined Environment - Benefits and Outcomes of the Cloud Services Provider
► Faster orchestration and adaptation to enable time to market through multiple channels (for example, systems of engagement, internet banking, omni-channel, mobile banking
► Support business needs and time to market by automating process and infrastructure through DevOps
► Accelerate IT transformation activity with less impact on the line of business (back-office modernization>Hybrid deployment to on and off-premises clouds)
► Faster and standardized enablement for shared services and platforms (for example, bank buys insurer, integration of common master data management platform)
► SDE with OpenStack in a multi-region topology uses open architecture to provide faster, secure entries into new markets and geographies
► Improved capabilities for predictive analytics and modeling for compliance policy changes, industry stress tests, and improve consolidated market, credit, and operational risk positions through policy-based automation
► Improved HA automation and reduced DR recovery times
► Faster implementation of policy changes with reduced impact as SDE is integrated
► SDE enables to automatically meet new service levels and objectives through policy and threshold management
► Optimization of data center, power efficiency, floor space reduction
► Faster enablement of shared services through heterogenous multi-platform (reduces the dependency on single platform or vendor)
► Optimization of data center locations
► SDE provides faster vertical and horizontal auto scaling capabilities through policy management.
► Patterns enable predictive management, which enables IT to be more nimble and to act proactively, based on capacity projections from the business
RESULT: NEW CLOUD BUSINESS ENTRY POINTS, MORE CLOUD CUSTOMERS
In conclusion, a Software-Defined Environment (SDE) optimizes the entire computing infrastructure —compute, storage and network resources—so that it can adapt to the type of work required for today’s and tomorrow’s business challenges. In today's environment, resources are assigned manually to workloads; that happens automatically in a SDE. In a SDE, workloads are dynamically assigned to IT resources based on application characteristics, best-available resources, and service level policies to deliver continuous, dynamic optimization and reconfiguration to address infrastructure issues. Underlying all of this are policy-based compliance checks and updates, in a centrally managed environment, provide for an improved customer and user experience, which in turn enables business growth, while mitigating risk.
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