Never before has the need for companies to advance on their digital journey been more urgent – with more assessment options, urgent responses, and complexities to understand in a complex landscape. Changed requirements, some of which are fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, have prompted companies to take the leap into digitization at an unprecedented pace. IDC estimates that as early as 2022, 46% of corporate products and services will be delivered digitally, putting pressure on companies to break new ground to accelerate digital transformation. Future-oriented executives have started this journey and initiated a massive migration to the cloud, which serves as the heartbeat of digital transformation and forms the basis for future innovations.
But if digital transformation were easy, any organization would. Instead of this, three common challenges occur and can often stand in the way of the progress of an organization:
Multiple cloud architectures. Apps and data continue to grow and reside in different clouds. Managing them to reduce latency, availability and data sovereignty remains a complex undertaking.
Balancing the old with the new. In some cases, urgently and quickly migrating to the cloud was costly. Applications or workloads moved to the cloud may have been better suited in an on-premises environment. Organizations need more flexibility to update their legacy apps in a cloud-native way over time. At the same time, the local infrastructure has to be modernized in order to make it more performant, scalable and efficient – practically to make it more cloud-like.
Safety. The modern workforce is more decentralized, which increases the attack surface for companies. This requires a new and dynamic security strategy that is holistic.
So what’s the answer for companies to meet these challenges? A pragmatic basis for a modern digital infrastructure is hybrid cloud. It optimizes application delivery across locations and offers the highest level of agility based on changing business requirements. The on-premises side of the hybrid cloud is best delivered through hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), which enables modernization that facilitates the transition by merging old and new.
By merging virtualized computing and storage resources with intelligent software on standard server hardware, this approach creates flexible building blocks that replace or optimize legacy infrastructures and at the same time ensure greater agility. In this approach, many pieces are brought together to offer a version of the cloud infrastructure that offers dynamic scalability and simplified operations.
Achieve agility through hybrid cloud
Providing a high level of performance is a prerequisite for IT environments that rely on business-critical databases and latency-sensitive applications. This is especially important in dynamic environments where data growth is constant and continuous access is required, often compounded by the demand for new analysis and insight. The ability to easily meet these performance and scalability requirements is critical for any business using hyperconverged infrastructure.
Microsoft and Intel work together to combine the best of software and to combine it with the best hardware technologies to offer companies a flexible infrastructure that is agile to meet today’s requirements and sets the pace for digital transformation.
Flexibility paired with seamless management
To meet the challenge of navigating and optimizing multiple cloud architectures, a control plane is required that offers simplified management of both local and public cloud-based resources. The hybrid offering (provided as a service) available through Azure Stack HCI provides a comprehensive answer to this challenge. With Azure Stack HCI and integrated services like Azure Arc, you can easily manage and control on-premises resources along with Azure public cloud resources from a single control plane.
Any viable hybrid cloud offering must reduce complexity through simplified management while increasing agility, scalability, and performance. With optimized local hardware and legacy functionality, as well as improved workload virtualization, you can maintain existing operations and scale at a pace that best suits your needs. Azure Stack HCI effectively balances old with new and supports the further development of local operations to become part of your cloud operating model, from the core data center to the edge and into the cloud.
Seamless management also includes maintaining a holistic and comprehensive security concept so that the associated risks can be managed without any loss of effectiveness. As computing complexity increases in the data center, edge, and cloud, these risks can increase if left unaddressed. Security has to go hand in hand with digital transformation. Intel and Microsoft are moving forward with a trustworthy foundation, from software to the silicon layer. We’ll soon announce several new technologies for protecting data at rest and in use, and we’ll dive deeper into privacy and compliance in the next article in this series.
A hardware base to handle the digitization of everything
As we continue to see an increasing reliance on analytics tools and AI for data insights to manage operations and customer touchpoints, the importance of semiconductors continues to grow. This digital surge increases the demand for more computing power – suddenly a company’s infrastructure has evolved from a tactical infrastructure to the epicenter of new strategic business opportunities.
Creating a hardware infrastructure that adapts to business needs is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of an agile hybrid cloud that can move workloads quickly and easily between different environments. Intel’s mission is to deliver the best technology foundation with built-in performance, AI, and security capabilities that open new business opportunities now and in the future. At the center of this foundation are scalable 3rd generation Intel® Xeon® processors.
Intel and Microsoft are working together to reduce the time it takes to evaluate, select, and purchase, and to streamline the time it takes to deploy new infrastructures with fully integrated, tested, and ready-to-use technologies. As evidence of this, Microsoft and Intel recently battle-tested Azure Stack HCI on the latest Intel technologies, presenting 2.62 million new jobs per minute for SQL Server, one of the most popular workloads in the enterprise. These optimized configurations are available as Intel® Select Solutions for Azure Stack HCI from multiple server OEM and scaling partners.
Meeting the requirements of dynamic IT environments
It has never been a more dynamic time for business; The time to adopt the hybrid cloud is now. Azure Stack HCI proposes a new and easy way to hybrid, with Intel as the technology foundation to modernize the infrastructure and turn it into a strategic advantage.
If you want to optimize manageability, performance and costs while integrating on-premises data center and edge infrastructures into your hybrid and multi-cloud environment, learn more about Azure Stack HCI today.
For the latest Intel-based Azure Stack HCI systems and continuous innovation, visit Azure.com/HCI. From there, download the software that Microsoft has made available for a free 60-day trial.
This content was created by Microsoft Azure and Intel. It was not written by the editorial staff of the MIT Technology Review.