The next wave transformation

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1 The next wave in your IT transformation LTS The Software-defined Survey Report explores the growing role of software-defined in helping enterprise organisations to transform their IT infrastructure. JANUARY

2 THE Software-defined: beyond the hype The drive for competitive advantage, efficiency and agility means that IT must become the ultimate on-demand service provider to the business. It must enable users to work smarter; to exploit data intelligence; to collaborate; and to deliver products to market quicker. With cloud computing going mainstream, software-defined has become the new IT transformation poster child, generating a wealth of vendor hype and analyst predictions. But what is really happening in the UK s datacenters? The Software-defined Survey set out to answer that question by cutting through the industry noise and questioning those at the coalface of enterprise IT. We talked to IT and business decisionmakers from a range of industries to discover the truth about both the drivers fuelling the need for IT transformation, and the technologies that are set to deliver that change. The results not only identify software-defined adoption trends; they also reveal the role of other technologies, such as virtualisation and orchestration, in transforming IT infrastructure, operations, processes and practices. 93% of organisations have just completed or are in the midst of a business transformation 1 Forbes Coping with IT change is one of the top 3 triggers for transformation 2 Gartner 01

3 Software-defined: the drivers for THE What s important to your business? SECURITY IMPROVING BUSINESS AGILITY BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE SMART WORKING AND MOBILITY INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY REDUCING COSTS 86% 86% 84% 83% 82% 79% The pace and the demand for transformation is growing. Users need to be enabled. Customers need to be engaged. And the business needs to be empowered. We set out to discover what demands will be setting the transformation agenda in. Survey respondents were asked to rate seven business priorities on a scale of 1 to 10 (most important). All seven priorities scored ratings of more than 75%, demonstrating that in delivering better business value will be reliant on a combination of factors rather than one over-riding priority. Agility came joint top of the business priorities league table at 86% with only 4% of respondents rating it 7 out of 10 or below. Security was deemed of similar importance, with 100% of respondents rating it at six or above. This score demonstrates that concerns over security remain a key consideration for those balancing the opportunities and challenges of change. Although cost is still important, the survey reveals that organisations are now turning their attention to activities that drive greater profitability rather than lower operational overheads. Both productivity and the customer experience featured higher than cost in the business priority list. DRIVING INNOVATION 79% DELIVERING NEW SERVICES 76% 94% of respondents rated every business priority 6 or above 02

4 Virtualisation: leading the way THE Virtualisation has remained high on the business and IT transformation agenda over recent years. Although 95% of organisations have virtualised their servers and storage to some extent, only 2% have achieved 100% adoption. To what degree have you virtualised your servers and storage? 26% 2% 5% Virtualisation is now entering a new era as one of the key enablers for a software-defined datacenter (SDDC). Gartner highlights both virtualisation and software-defined as key technologies for keeping pace with the velocity of business 3. NOT AT ALL UP TO 25% OVER 25% 22% Yet more than half of respondents revealed they have virtualised less than 50% of their servers and storage. OVER 50% OVER 75% Virtualization is a necessary and foundational element of SDDC 4 100% Gartner To date, Computacenter has deployed more than 100,000 virtual machines 21% 24% 03

5 Virtualisation: understanding its THE real value What do you see as the main benefits of virtualisation? Increased agility has long been touted as a key benefit of datacenter virtualisation. But what else can organisations expect in terms of return on investment? Reduced investment costs Simplified management 69% 64% FASTER PROVISIONING OF SERVERS AND STORAGE SIMPLIFIED MANAGEMENT We asked respondents to select the main virtualisation benefits from a pre-defined list. Although faster provisioning of servers and storage came out top, with 69% respondents citing this as key advantage, simplified management and reduced investment costs also scored highly. Saving energy - Reduced carbon footprint Reduced supplier lock-in Faster provisioning of servers and storage Improved disaster recovery Better use of legacy infrastructure Becoming cloud-ready 59% REDUCED INVESTMENT COSTS 47% 40% 35% 21% 16% BECOMING CLOUD-READY IMPROVED DISASTER RECOVERY SAVING ENERGY - REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT REDUCED SUPPLIER LOCK-IN BETTER USE OF LEGACY INFRASTRUCTURE In particular, savings on energy consumption and carbon emissions were highlighted as a benefit by 35% of IT and business decision-makers. Power is a major line item on the datacenter balance sheet and, with initiatives like the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme now in full swing, this shows that sustainability is back on the agenda. The role of virtualisation as an enabler for wider IT transformation was also recognised, with nearly half of respondents highlighting its importance in becoming cloud-ready. Virtualisation is often seen as a way to sweat existing assets; yet only 16% of respondents cited better use of legacy infrastructure as a benefit. This could be contributed to the fact that organisations are now opting to invest in new compute platforms when embarking on virtualisation initiatives rather than retaining older rack-intensive servers. 59% rate reduced investment costs as a benefit 40% believe virtualisation improves disaster recovery 04

6 Orchestration: taking control THE of change A virtualised infrastructure is the first step on the IT transformation journey. But, with datacenters becoming larger and denser, organisations need to simplify the management of not only devices but also workloads and services. This means embracing IT automation and orchestration. Although 78% of organisations have embarked on orchestrating their IT operations, they readily admit there is still more work to do. Only 10% of organisations have managed to take a fully orchestrated approach. Whilst automation and orchestration are largely recognised as key technologies, they are often perceived as expensive investments that are complex to implement, which has resulted in lower adoption rates. For the 12% of organisations yet to get off the orchestration starting blocks, the risks are high, with manual, disjointed management methods often resulting in higher costs, greater complexity and greater implementation effort. Automation and orchestration are not only important for optimising IT operations. They are also key to transforming IT, as key steps on the path to a software-defined model. To what degree have you orchestrated your infrastructure? 10% Broadly adopted throughout our infrastucture 12% Not at all 78% Started, but more to do 05

7 Software-defined datacenter: testing the waters How far progressed is your journey towards a software-defined datacenter? With virtualisation, automation and orchestration firmly at the forefront of IT infrastructure development, many organisations are starting to turn their attention to software-defined datacenters (SDDC). According to the survey, 53% of organisations have started their journey towards a software-defined datacenter although they all recognise there is still some way to go. 9% 38% STARTED, BUT MORE TO DO WELL UNDERWAY NOT AT ALL 53% The 9% of organisations that consider their journey towards a software-defined datacenter as well underway are already tapping in to a range of benefits from greater efficiency and agility to lower management overheads and power consumption. As with all relatively new technologies, there are still risk-averse organisations that prefer to wait until all adoption barriers have been removed. With the software-defined datacenter, these laggards still outnumber the pioneering early adopters 4 to 1. As Gartner observes: SDDC is in the early stages of maturity and will change significantly over the next five years. 4 A software-defined datacenter is one where the entire infrastructure has been virtualised and is delivered as a whole entity service. The infrastructure is no longer defined by hardware and devices, and control of the datacenter is fully automated by software Older and more rigid data center infrastructures are becoming crippled in their capacity to provide value, putting the business at a competitive disadvantage 3 Gartner 06

8 Software-defined networking: the next step for many THE The transition to a software-defined datacenter can be accelerated and simplified by taking a similarly softwaredefined approach to networking. Our survey reveals low adoption levels to date for this emerging technology. This could be a limiting factor in organisations progress towards achieving softwaredefined infrastructure. Only 9% of organisations have broadly deployed software-defined networking (SDN); a further 29% have partly adopted the technology, with 62% yet to take their first steps on the SDN ladder. With analysts predicting a compound annual growth rate of 89.4% between 2014 and , this would indicate that adoption levels should start to pick up in and continue to burgeon. Software-defined networking is an approach where the control of a network is separated from its routers and switches using software, making networking resources more scalable and controllable. $8 billion market for SDN by To what degree have you adopted SDN? 62% Have partly deployed SDN 9% Broadly deployed across my organisation 29% Have yet to deploy SDN 07

9 Software-defined networking: THE overcoming the obstacles What are the main barriers to the adoption of SDN? INVESTMENT COST REQUIREMENT FOR NEW-IN-HOUSE SKILLS DIFFICULTY IN BUILDING A BUSINESS CASE ORGANISATIONAL RELUCTANCE TO CHANGE CONCERNS OVER SECURITY 28% 22% 21% 20% 9% To find out what is holding back the implementation of SDN, we asked IT and business decision-makers to highlight the different adoption barriers for their organisation. Unlike cloud computing, security concerns are not a major factor with only 15% of respondents citing this as a barrier. Instead the biggest obstacle is seen as investment cost. This lack of understanding doesn t just apply to the SDN balance sheet. According to a separate survey, 37% of UK IT decision-makers admit to not fully understanding the technology 6. The inability to articulate the role and the value of SDN means that 36% of respondents consider it too difficult to build a business case. 20% blame their organisation s reluctance to change 22% held back by the need for new skills 28% inhibited by investment cost 08

10 Software-defined networking: THE does it matter? 11% Despite the low adoption rates to date, the significance of SDN in enabling IT transformation has not gone unnoticed. We asked respondents to rank the importance of the SDN to their IT strategy: only 26% felt it had no importance while 11% considered it the highest priority. This tallies with the 9% of organisations that have already broadly adopted both a softwaredefined approach for their network and datacenter infrastructure. Given SDN s role in enhancing efficiency and increasing agility a key driver for IT and business transformation it s not surprising that 74% of IT and decision-makers attach some importance to SDN. 26% 29% How important is SDN to your IT strategy? THE HIGHEST PRIORITY IMPORTANT FAIRLY IMPORTANT NOT IMPORTANT SDN has emerged as a key driver for innovation and change in networking 5 Gartner 63% rate SDN as important or fairly important 34% 09

11 SDN: maximising THE the benefits To understand why IT and business decision-makers are attaching such importance to SDN, we asked respondents to rate the main benefits. With networks becoming increasingly complex due to the need to support growing volumes of data and devices, it s not surprising that improving network control came out top of the benefits league table. What do you see as the main benefit of SDN? 9% 7% 26% Increased network security was also cited by 32% of respondents, which links to the transformation driver of improving security in general. The results also demonstrated a disconnect around the financial implications of SDN: 48% cited cost as a barrier to adoption yet 34% of respondents see savings on operational cost as a key benefit and 17% think SDN will help reduce spend on hardware components. This demonstrates the need for greater understanding about SDN s total cost of ownership as well as the long-term return on investment. Agility was once again high on the radar, with 29% of respondents citing increased scalability and elasticity as a key SDN advantage. 10% 17% 16% 20% IMPROVED CONTROL OF THE NETWORK SAVINGS ON OPERATIONAL COSTS INCREASED NETWORK SECURITY SCALABILITY AND RAPID ELASICITY REDUCED SPEND ON HARDWARE COMPONENTS COPING WITH INCREASED AND NEW TYPES OF TRAFFIC FREEDOM FROM SUPPLIER LOCK-IN 10

12 Transformation: seizing the opportunity THE Growth is faster. Change is faster. Business is faster. Organisations - and their IT infrastructures - need to be agile and scalable to survive. Computacenter s survey demonstrates the importance that business and IT decisionmakers now put on agility above even cost reduction and how it is influencing the transformation agenda. Organisations don t just want technologies that deliver financial savings, they want technologies that empower the business and enable its users. Although virtualisation, orchestration and software-defined technologies can deliver on these expectations, there still remain obstacles to adoption. With 30 years experience of transforming and optimising IT infrastructures, Computacenter can help simplify the adoption of not only new technologies but also new IT processes and service delivery models. We work with customers to determine if and when emerging technologies, such as SDDC and SDN, are right for them. By defining and delivering a pragmatic transformation roadmap, we maximise the outcomes and minimise the risks for our customers. Transformation is not just about overcoming today s challenges; this is equally about seizing tomorrow s opportunities. Success lies in the ability to understand when to act and when to wait. 26% believe SDN improves network control 15% think SDN makes it easier to cope with increased network traffic 11

13 Organisations don t just want technologies that deliver financial savings, they want technologies that empower the business and enable its users THE To contact us, please Alternatively, contact your Computacenter Account Manager or your Datacenter/Networking specialist. For more information, visit Source notes Data Center Modernization and Consolidation Key Initiative Overview, Gartner 4 What Is the Value of a Software-Defined Data Center? Gartner

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