May 11 2017
Data Center

How IT Leaders Can Boost Performance for Digital Disruption

Innovations such as flash storage and application performance monitoring have a significant impact on the bottom line.

As organizations aim to engage in digital transformation, they have to put in place IT capabilities that support their efforts. Improved performance is a key goal of these efforts, said Paul Merrifield, chief technologist for storage and Big Data with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Technologies such as all-flash storage arrays and software-defined storage can provide the performance gains that fuel digital disruption, Merrifield said this week in a presentation at the CDW SummIT Series event, Optimizing the Next-Generation Data Center, in Dallas.

“Flash as a technology has moved from the niche to the mainstream faster than anything,” Merrifield said. “It really is about performance.”

Flash Technology Can Speed Up Storage

Flash provides several key benefits that enable organizations to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Flash supports automation capabilities that greatly simplify data center operations. It also delivers greater availability to reduce risk.

But the key differentiator for flash is its performance. Flash storage is much faster than spinning disks, enabling capabilities that are simply impossible with other media. Merrifield recommended that IT leaders use technologies such as flash throughout the IT stack as they seek to boost the performance of their applications. “We really should be talking about putting performance-accelerating technologies all around the IT stack,” he said.

Data center operators also can rely on software-defined storage to improve the efficiency of their IT operations. By collecting storage elements into a pool of resources that can be managed centrally and controlled via automation, IT teams can use their storage capacity more strategically.

Keep an Eye on Application Performance 

Performance is also a critical need for satisfying customer expectations, said Brad Stoner, senior sales engineer at AppDynamics, during a separate presentation. Stoner cited research that shows that 74 percent of users will leave a website if a page doesn’t load in five seconds.

“When someone can go somewhere else to buy something, that customer is a risk for you,” Stoner said. “So you have to ensure that they have a good experience.”

Application performance monitoring can help organizations deliver the flawless and instantaneous execution that customers demand. By monitoring application performance throughout the entire technology stack, IT administrators can determine where slowdowns may be occurring. More robust solutions add business metrics to performance metrics, enabling organizations to determine how a specific application is affecting business outcomes.

“A key question is ‘How is my app performing now?’ ” Stoner said. “And then, ‘How is that affecting my bottom line?’ ”

Organizations also gain significant benefits when their application performance monitoring tools can deliver results in real time. Identifying problems in a matter of minutes — rather than hours — can make a huge difference in terms of minimizing lost revenue.

Changing Expectations for How IT Operates 

Just as customers have high demands for applications, IT and business leaders also have great expectations for technology. This increase in demand creates a challenge for IT leaders, who must deliver advanced capabilities quickly, effectively and inexpensively.

“Public cloud has really changed how people think about IT resources,” Merrifield said. “People want to have the services and capabilities there when they need them, but they don’t want to pay for it when they don’t need them.”

To learn more about technologies that can simplify data center infrastructure, visit


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