Sep 05 2023
Data Center

How the Latest Server Technology Leads to Modern Business

As businesses deliver increasingly digital products and services, rapid shifts in business IT and computing power are required.

Ten years ago, most businesses’ operations were supported by IT, which oversaw homogeneous data centers running general-purpose workloads.

“You had a couple of basic server configurations that allowed you to do most of the work that you needed to do, no matter what it was,” says Peter Rutten, a research vice president within IDC’s Worldwide Infrastructure Practice. “Everything has changed, and computing is now a pillar of the organization” rather than a supportive function.

That’s even more true in the post-pandemic world. In today’s increasingly digital environment, businesses are fueled by — if not monetizing — robust, data-rich applications; artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities; and 24/7 customer interactions and experiences.

This digital transformation continues to propel shifts in approaches to IT management and delivery, now the lifeblood of every business.

Digital transformation is performed with new workloads, new applications, new capabilities that do not run on the very homogeneous type of compute we had 10 years ago,” Rutten says. “We’re seeing an enormous explosion of new technologies that allow these new capabilities to be processed.”

Click the banner to read Steven Sibley’s insights on the speed and agility of IBM Power servers.

How Data Centers and Hybrid Cloud Better Digital Business

Every digital business’s revenue is tied directly to its digital capabilities. The purpose-built computing capabilities found in heterogeneous data centers support a wide variety of workloads, such as AI-enhanced applications, which continue to fuel the rapid evolution of server technologies.

What’s required to take advantage of AI’s potential today? For starters, systems with greater memory, modern storage solutions, VME and high-speed flash, improved GPU/CPU communication, and very high-speed networking like that delivered by InfiniBand.

EXPLORE: Why servers remain the building blocks of digital transformation.

“AI has really forced organizations to rethink how they are organizing the data center,” Rutten says.

Shifting certain processes and capabilities out of the on-premises data center and into the cloud marks another business trend, particularly where organizations look to remove some of the capital expense of owning and managing hardware.

The traditional six-month procurement, implementation and deployment cycle no longer serves businesses that must access and process massive amounts of data and instantly take advantage of the compute, storage and networking hardware required to support their next innovation’s workload.

How To Plan and Provision Your Ecosystem for Success

“A number of factors go into choosing your server environment. Ultimately, it’s a performance versus cost of consumption calculation, and understanding the capabilities required,” says Brent Ellis, senior analyst leading Forrester’s technology resilience, backup, storage and mainframe modernization research.

“Capability is normally addressed in the amount of data processed and the speed of the server, but with the introduction of GPUs, you’re looking at different performance calculations. You start having to look at system-on-a-chip designs and shared memory.”

Nearly every application running today is in some sort of virtualized environment, Ellis adds, whether through VMware or containers, “so having something that’s easily consumable by these virtualization platforms is important.”

The ability to integrate into a lights-out, no monitoring environment is also critical for modern servers.

LEARN MORE: Why data is at the crucial to technology deployment.

Requirements for Security, Enhanced Agility and Scale

Customer data privacy and security are not negotiable, and an ever-growing web of regulations throughout the world govern how data must be stored or encrypted. Many newer servers deliver enhanced security features built into their chips.

Businesses also lose to their competitors when they fail to achieve agility and scale. Ellis advises CIOs and CTOs to look hard at whether their existing technology infrastructure matches or can deliver all that their customers expect of their business.

“You have to start to educate your infrastructure professionals about customer outcomes and make decisions about whether to move a workload from the cloud to on-prem, whether to build out a server with a GPU to accelerate an AI workload, or whether to design an environment differently to move data faster between different servers.

“Digital transformation depends a lot on the server environment,” Ellis says. “You’re really buying infrastructure as a commodity and deploying it as scaffolding for all the applications your business is building. You’re thinking less about the operating system and more about, ‘How do I integrate this into a large-scale platform for deploying my application environment?’”

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