1 I D C T E C H N O L O G Y S P O T L I G H T The Importance of a Modular a nd Flexible Approach t o Integrated Infrastructure November 2014 Adapted from Converged and Integrated Systems State of the Market and Future Outlook: Executive Interview Summary Report, by Brad Casemore, Laura DuBois, and Matthew Eastwood, et al. IDC # Sponsored by VCE In today s rapidly changing world, IT executives are tasked with finding more impactful ways to transform business through smarter technology investments the integrated infrastructure being one of the vital options that such businesses can leverage to optimize operations, increase risk and compliance posture, reduce costs, and innovate effectively from increased use of third-platform applications. With the integrated infrastructures, organizations can accelerate time to investments and modernize their traditional data centers into highly efficient, reliable, cost-saving, and sustainable assets for their global business operations. This Technology Spotlight examines integrated systems that combine storage, networking, and server assets in a preconfigured turnkey solution that is modular and scalable as business demands change and grow. It also looks at the role played by VCE Vblock Systems with EMC XtremIO scale-out all-flash arrays and VCE technology extension for EMC Isilon in this strategically important market. Introduction: Changing Compute Workloads Mobile devices, cloud services, social networks, and big data analytics are driving corporate digital data growth by 40% to 50% per year. The vast majority of the new data being generated today, yet still considered underutilized, is unstructured, which will surpass structured data in terms of both capacity shipped and revenue next year, according to IDC. By 2017, unstructured data will account for 79.2% of capacity shipped and 57.3% of revenue. At the same time, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming the norm, requiring IT to support privately-owned smartphones and tablets at work while maintaining control of sensitive corporate data. Data-intensive workloads are also rapidly growing, including on-line transaction processing (OLTP), client and server virtualization, big data analytics, and high-performance computing (HPC), in areas such as the oil and gas industry and medical sciences. Workload consolidation for such applications is a growing priority for enterprise customers, demanding integrated systems with scaleout storage. Businesses are increasingly demanding access and mining large datasets long stored away in data warehouses and other data sources locked in disparate systems. Such information sources help them spot opportunities, turn insight into new offerings, direct frauds and compliance exposures, and predict market behavior. Big data analytics is uncovering valuable patterns in credit card use, cell phone activity, and retail transactions. To address an ever-shifting compute workload, many IT organizations are choosing a "virtualized first" strategy, a trend born from the fact that nearly half of x86 workloads are currently running in virtual environments. Virtualized infrastructure is expected to grow at 15% over the next five years (at a similar pace as IDC third-platform applications), while growth in traditional client-server infrastructure will grow only 0.7%, according to IDC.
2 Meanwhile, time is not on an IT organization s side. IT organizations are struggling to meet business SLAs. IT teams can spend up to eight weeks implementing new service requests due to the fact that corporate applications and data are often hosted on legacy infrastructure silos. Despite the security and compliance concerns, business managers have learned that they can turn to external cloud and compute service providers to meet their needs, which are putting pressure on IT organizations to seek out more flexible infrastructure. The direct and indirect costs of rigid infrastructure comes from ongoing acquisition of new hardware and software, data migrations that require downtime, and siloed operations that result in long provisioning lead times. The more siloed data and applications are within a company, the harder it is to distribute resources, hindering IT from meeting SLAs. Silos also affect a business s ability to comply with regulatory mandates because system updates and upgrades are not rolled out holistically. A single federal mandate can lead to lost productivity while software across disparate systems is updated. Additionally, it can be difficult to ensure that all lines of business are connected to high availability and/or disaster recovery systems because of a lack of visibility across corporate infrastructure. Businesses are also forced to pay for IT specialists to manage separate storage, networking, and server resources. Business advantages of using integrated systems for mixed workload consolidation are clearer than ever. Integrated systems can bring together storage, compute, and networking resources in a preconfigured and highly scalable architecture increasing an organization s agility, flexibility, and productivity. Unlike traditional server-client infrastructures that cannot be future proofed beyond a couple of years, and require IT managers to guesstimate capacity needs and often lead to overprovisioning, integrated systems grow as needs expand on demand. As a result, IT executives can achieve better alignment with changing business needs. Businesses today are motivated by desire to discover new opportunities and exploit them through IT resources, and that requires a shift to modern, integrated, and agile infrastructures. The Benefits of Integrated Systems The bundled nature of integrated systems makes buying economical, and ensures that each technology will work together in an automated fashion. An IDC survey of 308 U.S. IT decision makers revealed that 70.4% are running a mix of new and existing workloads on integrated systems, 20.4% are exclusively existing software and 9.3% are new or Greenfield applications (see Figure 1) IDC
3 Figure 1 Workloads Running On Integrated Systems Exclusively new/ greenfield 9.3% Exclusively existing software 20.4% Mix of new and existing 70.4% Source: IDC, 2014 As business units complete projects, IT resources can be reclaimed and placed back into a virtual pool, reallocated to new projects as they arise, which reduces CapEx and OpEx related to overprovisioning and administration. IT overhead and operational costs are often a burden in companies where, if the infrastructure is not agile and built in a private cloud-like fashion, then your IT overhead is high because IT staff performs a lot of tactical operational tasks. Integrated infrastructure also helps prevent important IT staff from performing less valuable tasks, such as managing virtual server farm upgrades. By training IT generalists, instead of hiring specialists, workers can manage multiple resources at the same time and other staff can be freed up for more interesting projects in R&D or other areas. Integrated systems managed by IT generalists versus specialists means a shift away from a focus on simple IT CapEx and OpEx to the benefits of business agility from faster provisioning and better performance across the organization. Today, reduced downtime, cost savings, and improved resource utilization are becoming more important drivers than innovation and agility for many businesses. Usage Trends The convergence of systems will provide flexibility, faster time to market for new services, and reduce incidents of downtime by 50% to 75%, according to the IDC report titled, Integrated Systems: End- User Survey Report Customers using an optimized data center infrastructure on average reduced their annual data center infrastructure costs by nearly $3.6 million, or $75,778 per 100 users, IDC s report notes IDC 3
4 U.S. IT decision makers who have deployed or are considering deploying an integrated infrastructure expect a 20% to 30% improvement in time to provision systems, according to IDC. In another survey of 308 IT leaders by IDC, titled IDC Converged and Integrated Systems End-User Survey Report 2013, an increase in IT staff productivity and utilization of infrastructure resources were cited as top benefits of deploying an integrated system. The report included 162 IT managers who are currently running integrated systems in production, 59% of which had more than 5,000 employees and 45% of whom have 750 physical servers. The majority of those surveyed also have been running integrated systems in production for more than a year. The survey revealed that IT managers expect about 50% of compute, storage, and network resources and workloads to run on integrated systems by end of Fifty-two percent of those surveyed are already running integrated systems, while 37% are evaluating them and 10.4% are testing them. When it came to IT organizations meeting data center operational and architectural goals over the next 12 to 18 months, IT managers identified the following top five challenges: Constrained capital budgets (50.6%) Compliance and change control (47.4%) Disaster recovery and high availability capabilities (38.3%) Dealing with the impact of mobile devices 35.4%) Improving business agility/it credibility (29.9%) IT managers who were testing/piloting integrated systems were asked how they expect their organization to benefit. The top three answers were: 1. Reduced downtime (68.8%) 2. Reduced data center cooling and power costs (65.6%) 3. Improved utilization of compute resources (62.5%). Those answers compared favorably with IT managers already using integrated systems, 49.4% of whom said they had seen reduced downtime, 48.1% documented lower power and cooling costs, and 46.9% experienced improved utilization of compute resources (see Figure 2) IDC
5 Figure 2 Top Benefits of Integrated Systems Source: IDC, 2014 Q. Which of the following describe how your organization has benefited (or expects to benefit) from the use of converged or integrated systems? Improved IT staff productivity Faster infrastructure, workload and application provisioning Reduced downtime Reduce cost of data center facilities, power and cooling Improved utilization of compute resources Improved utilization of storage resources In Production n=162) Testing/Piloting (n=32) Evaluating (n=114) Faster time to market Other.6% 3.1%.9% Flexible infrastructures enable CIOs to more focus on workgroup or line of business needs in addition to corporate-wide economics. The ability to document exactly what amount of resources were used by which business group and for how long enables an accurate ROI across the entire organization. It is these business benefits that have spurred integrated infrastructure and platform market growth by 35.9% year-over-year in the first half of 2014 to $4.3 billion, according to IDC. In the second quarter of 2014, integrated infrastructure sales grew 59.2% year over year, generating $1.35 billion. This amounted to 56.3% of the total market value. Considering VCE Modular Architecture 33.3% 34.4% 30.7% 53.1% 50.0% 55.3% 52.5% 50.0% 49.1% VCE Vblock Systems are designed to improve IT infrastructure agility, cut the time to deploy systems, and increase staff efficiency. A challenge with traditional system deployments in IT is left to guess the cost of deployment and hope they won t overshoot it. With integrated systems such as the Vblock Systems, every resource is accounted for before it s even brought to bear for a line of business or workgroup. Designed for high availability with best-of-breed components, VCE Vblock Systems use a consolidated footprint and a simplified IT environment intended to free staff resources and reduce downtime. Customers who are seeking a three- to five-year technology direction can benefit knowing Vblock Systems are not just about hardware and software, but an ongoing partnership with an established vendor that continuously brings forth innovations from EMC, Cisco, and VMware. As evolving third-platform applications such as mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, and big data gain more traction in the enterprise they will fuel the enormous growth of unstructured data. They form the basis for the enterprise "data lakes." Data lakes consist of data consolidated from different traditional and next-generation application workload sources. Such data sources require an infrastructure where they can be accessed and shared across business units requiring multi-tenant access in virtual or bare metal environments. One of the key architectural requirements for the 38.9% 49.4% 48.1% 46.9% 52.6% 56.1% 53.1% 48.2% 57.0% 62.5% 65.6% 68.8% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 2014 IDC 5
6 Vblock Systems is applying scale-out all-flash XtremIO for block workload consolidation and scale-out Isilon for unstructured data workload consolidation. This combination is critical for the next-generation of applications and agile data center requirements. The infrastructure to support data lakes must be highly scalable, both in capacity and performance as well as having an operational flexibility to support a wide range of applications and workloads, extensible from the existing integrated infrastructures running second-platform or legacy applications. Having central access to an unstructured data lake as an extension to the integrated infrastructures also releases the ability to apply powerful analytics such as Hadoop, opening up new insight and opportunities for new markets with enterprise oversight and control. Workloads have always landed on platforms that are best able to meet their compute, I/O, memory and storage needs. Integrated systems are no different. To address unstructured and semi-structured data lakes while extending the VCE value, VCE recently announced the VCE technology extension for EMC Isilon storage that allows organizations to extend an integrated infrastructure for scale-out network-attached storage. This new offering also addresses the capacity, scaling, and resource expansion demands identified by IDC s research Battle for the Future of the Data Center: The Role of Disaggregated Systems, Matt Eastwood. VCE Vblock Systems and VCE technology extensions for EMC Isilon storage deliver native Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) integration with the ability to support multiple Hadoop distributions and versions. The flexible architecture of EMC Isilon enables other enterprise and emerging applications to use Hadoop data while eliminating the need to manually move data around or invest in a separate, stand-alone infrastructure such as direct-attached storage (DAS). The DAS model where server and storage usage is tightly coupled, that can lead to data security exposure, frequent downtimes, inefficient storage utilization, and lack of enterprise IT control and visibility. Key Additions to the VCE Architecture In addition to the VCE technology extension for EMC Isilon, VCE added the all-flash Vblock System 540 to the Vblock System portfolio. This augments Vblock Specialized Systems for Extreme Applications and extends the use of EMC XtremIO All-Flash Arrays. XtremIO is an ideal platform to address high-performance databases, analytics, business applications, private cloud, VDI, and other low latency application needs in mixed workload environments. With its unique scale-out performance architecture, in-memory space-efficient copy services and inline data reduction, the Vblock System 540 is ideal for consolidating the aforementioned workloads. As part of the Vblock System 540, XtremIO, EMC s flagship all-flash array, and is claimed to offer consistent sub-millisecond application response times and over 900,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS). This is the measured performance for typical OLTP mixed read/write workloads with ~0.5 millisecond response time. The all-flash Vblock System 540 allows flexible configurations of over a dozen scale-out controllers for linear expansion of IOPS, bandwidth, and capacity, making it a powerful solution for consolidating performance hungry applications. These include virtual server farms and private clouds, production OLTP, database test and developer environments, as well as data warehousing and analytic applications such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, SAS, and SAP. In addition, always-on and inline data reduction services available on the XtremIO, including deduplication, compression, space efficient copy services, and thin provisioning make flash consolidation economical with petabyte-scale effective capacity. All of this results in superior user experience, radically simplified admin experience, and impressive savings due to workload consolidation on an all-flash integrated system IDC
7 Vblock System 540 can be augmented with VCE Vblock System 740 (which includes EMC VMAX3 series), or Vblock System 340 (which includes EMC VNX2 series). They provide highly scalable, hybrid and all-flash configurations, ideally suited for mixed workload and mission-critical applications. VCE Vblock Systems can also be augmented with the VCE technology extension for EMC Isilon to enable third party platform applications The VCE technology extension for EMC Isilon allows customers to manage their active and archived data in a single volume, addressing end-user computing, data analytics, video surveillance, highperformance computing, file shares, and home directory services, as well as backup and archival requirements. Vblock System 540 eliminates storage sprawl in virtualized environments with EMC Isilon because both storage architectures deliver the unique scale-out architecture built right into it. EMC s Isilon platform can expand to petabytes of capacity all under a single volume, file system, and namespace, adjusting to whatever capacity is needed for a workgroup or business unit. IDC Perspective Given the current adoption rate of integrated infrastructure, there is more that (Integrated Infrastructure Systems or Platform) vendors like VCE can do to impress upon CIOs and IT executives the many benefits of making it the de facto standard in their IT infrastructure. As businesses seek to transform themselves in preparation for the third-platform era, they need to be guided by vendors in making the right decisions for their infrastructure, and ultimately for the viability of their IT organization in increasing business contributions by taking on newer applications and workloads. This task is not easy. First, it requires vendors to build advisory relationships at the highest level, and to instill the trust that the vendor is in fact willing to stay true to the single point of support no matter what the issue is. Second, it requires that such vendors have to be at the top of technological trends and constantly add/update their portfolio. This minimizes the need to approach a different vendor for solutions that do not fit into the IIS vendor s portfolio. IDC believes that VCE has tackled both these challenges quite effectively. It has built trusted advisor relationships with C-level executives at clients and prospects alike. VCE's most recent product announcements listed above reaffirms its commitment to providing a flexible and adaptable architecture for workloads of all shapes and sizes. And yet, VCE needs to ensure that it is ahead of the competition in terms of offering a comprehensive integrated infrastructure systems portfolio that is differentiated on the basis of the individual best-of-breed components, and more importantly on the basis of the engineering and operational efforts that go into integrating them to seamlessly work with each other to sustain its VCE experience end-to-end. Conclusion Benefits of integrated infrastructure apply to all organizations, regardless of industry. By deploying private or hybrid clouds using the right integrated infrastructure, businesses can spend more time on innovation and act on high value-added patterns on the modern infrastructure that helps accelerate time to market, reduce provisioning times, and reduce overall cost of IT services. They also reduce compliance and risk exposure and management costs by being able to streamline operations and collapse siloed but costly processes while increasing enterprise IT visibility. The genesis of integrated infrastructure was focused on the ability for IT to standardize its data center architectures and leverage automation to eliminate the disparate provisioning challenges. Traditional approaches depended on IT having to provision each system, which typically takes a day for each system and up to four weeks to complete. With expanded use of unique scale-out, architecture, using all-flash and file-optimized storage solutions, IT can implement integrated infrastructure as an efficient way to provision systems at the project onset. Such modern use can also help IT meet or exceed 2014 IDC 7
8 service levels, empowering business to act on time-sensitive patterns, reliably complete high-volume transactions, and maintain continuity across data centers. This also enables new workflow agility benefits for on-demand copy services for real-time analytics and accelerated development and test. For this reason, organizations that invest in the integrated infrastructures greatly benefit from their architectural evolution toward extracting greater value from a broadening set of mission-critical workloads and datasets regardless of volume, velocity, or variety. By implementing integrated infrastructure, businesses can create and access rapidly evolving applications as a more dependable, agile set of services from IT and application teams for optimized outcomes. Enterprises can become more productive, curtail inefficient or duplicative efforts, and reduce missed opportunity costs. In summary, the modern integrated infrastructure founded upon the technological advancements in compute, storage, and networks on the scalable, modular and extensible architecture, thus, directly impacts business by adapting to escalating demands of an organization. A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O N This publication was produced by IDC Custom Solutions. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Custom Solutions makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests contact the Custom Solutions information line at or Translation and/or localization of this document require an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC visit For more information on IDC Custom Solutions visit Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street, Framingham, MA USA P F IDC