New Data Center Innovation Stack Could Redefine IT

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-04-11 Print this article Print

The words "innovation" and "stack" are now starting to be used together to form a new IT industry term. This IT stack—not particularly new for more progressive IT shops but certainly new for many midrange and smaller enterprises—is defined as such: a heterogeneous infrastructure that combines IT from best-of-breed vendors and/or open-source communities at each layer to deliver a sophisticated architectural model that addresses the full needs of the data center. Parts of this have been called "converged infrastructure." As virtualized/distributed computing becomes more common, this virtualized stack is making new and existing IT hardware much more efficient and cloud-ready. At the same time, new business requirements, operational challenges and data complexities are rising to new levels, forcing new thought about refreshing older data centers. As users look to revisit their IT infrastructure to utilize all these cloud-ready benefits, this may be the year that the innovation stack redefines IT entirely. This slide show, using industry perspective from eWEEK reporting and network storage provider NetApp, offers 10 key data points for IT managers to consider as they investigate the deployment of this new model.

  • New Data Center Innovation Stack Could Redefine IT

    By Chris Preimesberger
    New Data Center Innovation Stack Could Redefine IT
  • Everything Revolves Around Enterprise Data

    New business pressures, such as the need for real-time information and collaborative applications, are putting the effective storage and accessibility of business data at the center of the new IT. This, naturally, is requiring more agility from IT systems; the newer ones generally include this, but the older ones usually need upgrades.
    Everything Revolves Around Enterprise Data
  • Converged Infrastructures Are Gaining a Foothold

    The drive toward cloud-computing models has resulted in a strong emergence of converged infrastructure or "integrated stack" solutions. An integrated stack is a prepackaged and rapidly deployable system typically containing a mix of network, storage and server infrastructure bundled with virtualization, automation and orchestration software. The purpose of these stacks is to simplify purchasing requirements and accelerate the move to a virtualization or cloud-computing model.
    Converged Infrastructures Are Gaining a Foothold
  • Two Types of Integrated Stacks

    There are two basic types of integrated stack solutions: 1) single vendor, in which all stack components are developed, manufactured and bundled by a single vendor; and 2) multivendor, in which products from two or more vendor partners are specifically engineered and bundled together to create the stack.
    Two Types of Integrated Stacks
  • Mobile IT Adding Pressure on Clouds and Data Centers

    Highly mobile and social-media user expectations and shifting application requirements are imposing new demands on data center and cloud infrastructures. Data center managers need their IT infrastructures to be flexible, programmable, efficient and scalable; it is virtually impossible for a single vendor to innovate and deliver on every layer of the stack.
    Mobile IT Adding Pressure on Clouds and Data Centers
  • The Six Layers of the Innovation Stack

    The key layers of the innovation stack are storage media, storage, network, processing, business logic and presentation. In the new stack, these layers are all implemented as services that manage their respective dynamic resource pools (compute, memory, storage, networking) rather than statically defined virtual machines.
    The Six Layers of the Innovation Stack
  • What a Software-Defined Data Center Entails

    A software-defined data center enables the innovation stack to define and allocate virtual resource pools for compute, networking and storage to all applications on demand, via common APIs. It also virtualizes the network for reliability and maximum resource utilization, in addition to transforming physical storage media to align it with logical application demands. In this setup, separate component management tools give way to full-stack automation and orchestration by policy.
    What a Software-Defined Data Center Entails
  • AWS: A Prime Example of the Innovation Stack

    A leading innovation stack example today is Amazon Web Services. AWS built an elaborate layer of services for developers—including multiple database options—that support multiple programming languages with management tools that are delivered via intuitive interfaces. Government and commercial organizations now are seeking stack providers that deliver the type of powerful, layered services that Amazon has built.
    AWS: A Prime Example of the Innovation Stack
  • Verticals Leading the Way: Retail, Marketing, Transportation

    Several key verticals already have started to embrace the operational efficiencies and business benefits of the innovation stack. These include online retailers, advertising and marketing networks, and transportation companies that need to optimize trains or coordinate traffic lights to expedite the route for an ambulance going to a hospital, for example. Health care-related companies have adopted this infrastructure for automating electronic medical records, and X-ray and MRI data. Biotech firms are using it for sequencing DNA.
    Verticals Leading the Way: Retail, Marketing, Transportation
  • Speed, Agility Are What It's All About

    In 2014, IT organizations are being judged on speed and agility to keep pace with on-demand business challenges. This requires a fundamental shift in the way organizations plan and execute their data center strategies and demands that a strategic focus be placed on the effectiveness of their current IT.
    Speed, Agility Are What It's All About
  • Innovation Stack Solves the Silos Problem

    The innovation stack provides an answer for the demands of increasing data stores and user expectations for real-time information. IT organizations need to infuse infrastructures with new flexibility and scalability, going beyond the static restrictions of conventional siloed systems. The new innovation stack stands to gain significant traction in 2014 because it delivers this business agility.
    Innovation Stack Solves the Silos Problem
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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