NetApp HCI Meets Public Clouds to Simplify Storage and Processing

 

In order to compete in today’s business environment, companies strive to identify ways to simplify processes to create efficiencies and speed up their go-to-market time.  While there are many process and technology enhancements that can contribute, there is a fundamental way that organizations of all types and sizes can change the way they approach their IT infrastructure – that solution is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), taken to the next level with NetApp Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI).

 

NetApp HCI is a revolutionary way to manage data and applications leveraging an on-premise cloud environment. NetApp HCI has changed the traditional model of hybrid cloud storage and made it possible for a company to have a system that combines on-premise and cloud functionality in the three major public Clouds.  It serves as the fabric that holds all of the pieces of your overall architecture together, allowing for seamless movement of data and workflows from one to the next, and back again.

 

How is NetApp HCI fundamentally different?

A NetApp HCI can scale compute and storage independently. Users now have the power to run applications and maintain efficient storage space needed for the workloads. Previous HCI architectures combined those capabilities, which consumed valuable resources both from an infrastructure perspective and a financial one. The traditional architecture was clumsy; NetApp HCI streamlines infrastructure solutions and makes application environment options simpler and more efficient.

A user can mix and match different storage nodes without making any changes at the compute layer and vice versa. This is incredibly powerful when it comes to expanding storage capacity or compute resources one node at a time. NetApp HCI was developed for large enterprises, so it can be scaled in a large corporate scenario, but it is accessible enough to be easily and efficiently deployed in smaller organizations and even the Edge. This makes NetApp HCI an agile technology that any industry can benefit from regardless of size or scope while achieving enterprise-grade levels of resources, performance, and protection.

Why utilize NetApp HCI?

Any corporation facing a new technology development or looking to expand their storage or computing capabilities can benefit from NetApp’s hybrid cloud architecture:

  • Speed … the system provides the highway for information to move more quickly through your organization. This means that your internal and external customers have the data and services they need more readily available as there is a smooth conduit in place to facilitate on-premise and cloud communication – regardless of what cloud your data and workflow reside in. NetApp HCI delivers an elastic hybrid cloud infrastructure that enables customers to start anywhere, run anywhere, and manage everywhere from Edge, to Core, to Cloud.
  • Scale-on-Demand … need more storage space but not more processing power, or vice versa? You can quickly scale your system, on your terms, to meet your specific needs. Due to the modular nature of the system and included automation, it is quick and easy to add or reallocate what you need as your requirements change ultimately reducing TCO.
  • Security … you can have the best of both worlds with a cloud-operational environment located on-premise, maintaining a hybrid cloud, while still securing your applications with built-in security features such as multi-factor authentication, data at rest encryption, and FIPS 140-2 Level 1.
  • Control … there can be layers of complexity when it comes to fully managing your IT in the cloud. You can gain the control and governance you need with a NetApp HCI solution.
  • Flexibility … NetApp HCI is multi-cloud and supports multiple hybrid-cloud solutions such as those from VMware, Google, and RedHat delivering an agile foundation for your private and hybrid cloud infrastructure.
  • Guaranteed Performance … in a traditional environment, you may find processes competing for resources at the same time, in different areas of your production workflow. The NetApp architecture allows you the visibility into these resource demands in order to allocate them for maximum speed and efficiency while guaranteeing performance for all of your applications through three-dimensional QoS capabilities.

 

How is NetApp HCI Implemented?

Discovery & Goal Setting: The discovery process begins with a meeting to determine your company’s overall objectives and the storage and compute needs that will be required to achieve those objectives. The goal of this process is to gain an understanding of the resource requirements needed in the environment. The team leverages assessment tools to gain a thorough picture of what is already running in the environment, what modifications may be in order, and what the key objectives from leadership may be. This might include striving for a reduction in complexity or cost, or a move to a new environment for example.

Easy Implementation: The time needed to implement is dependent on how large the cluster is, but in general it is a streamlined and consolidated process depending on the following factors:

  • If a customer already has VMware in the environment and the network is determined to be in appropriate working order, HCI can attach to an existing vCenter, so it can shift to the new infrastructure with VMotion.
  • The only migration required is moving the VMs to the new hardware, which is done through VMware’s typical mechanisms.
  • If there is no VMware present, the process entails more planning in order to implement.
  • After implementation, if you need more compute or storage, you may easily add either (or both if needed) through the NetApp Deployment Engine. The beauty of the system is that you can scale independently, using the new available nodes which are easy to absorb into the cluster.

Partner Collaboration: Partnerships are key in ensuring the success of NetApp implementations. NetApp Partners, such as Applied Technologies, hold the valuable experience and intimate knowledge of each customer’s needs, goals, and challenges. These insights allow for the creation of a comprehensive technology plan that can include the NetApp HCI solution working in concert with other hardware and software platforms for maximum performance and advancement towards the customer’s goals.

NetApp HCI’s innovative design combines the best methods for managing data and applications. You no longer need to pay for extra storage or compute you don’t need while still benefiting from an enterprise-grade infrastructure with guaranteed performance. The bottom line is, NetApp HCI creates more flexibility, eliminates complexity, and drives costs down while accelerating new services for faster time to market speeds.  As a preferred NetApp partner, Applied Technologies will help you understand how your company can leverage the system which is scalable, delivers the speed you need, and allows for the security and control you’re looking for.

To begin the conversation contact us at sales@appliedtech.pro or call 636.274.8000 to discuss your business requirements with one of our Account Managers or Practice Leaders.

Applied Technologies and the Digital Transformation

Applied Technologies and the Digital Transformation

 

Digital Transformation

 

We often hear that we live in a data-driven society. Platforms like Google and Facebook collect our information, and retailers like Amazon and Walmart know our shopping habits and preferences. Some consider it an invasion of privacy, while others see it as a convenience. Regardless of an individual’s position on the issue, data is king when it comes to business. It helps businesses gather intel into your operations, financials, and yes, your customers’ wants, needs and habits.

Data powers business today. This is what the digital transformation is all about. Applied Technologies is the first stop to help make the transfer and analysis of data possible.

We recently sat down with Eric Frietsch, VP and General Manager at Applied Technologies, to discuss the firm’s 30 years of experience with the digital transformation. Eric explains what it means, provides insight into how your business can benefit, and outlines the role that Applied Technologies plays in all facets of the digital transformation, including network setup, connectivity, data centers, security and more.

 

What is the Digital Transformation?

This is a hot topic in IT right now, but quite frankly, the digital transformation is nothing new. At Applied Technologies, we’ve been involved in various iterations of the digital transformation for more than 30 years. At its core, the digital transformation is about shifting data and doing something with it in order to provide a solution to a business challenge, or to enable a business goal to be achieved. Applied specializes on the front end of this process, setting up the framework, hardware storage, and networking for the transfer of data to take place – taking the data out of machines and devices and routing it to where it needs to go. Applications are then laid on top of the data, allowing for analysis, identification of patterns, and gathering intel to make good decisions that drive better business results. This typically means improvement in productivity, profits, performance, safety, or any other KPI important to the business.

 

How did Applied Technologies get its start in the Digital Transformation

We began 30 years ago in the automation space, which is very geared towards operational technology, or OT. The other half of the company was about networking, connecting devices and people together. Since then, we’ve added partnerships with companies like Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp Rockwell, and many others to offer a holistic digital transformation solution, bridging the gap in the information technology and operational technology space. Our technology partnerships allow us to apply unique solutions geared to each business spec and set of goals. We may be installing similar hardware and software in a number of companies, but it’s configured differently for each vertical market we serve and each set of business objectives they’ve set out to reach.

 

How is the Digital Transformation different today than it was 30 years ago?

Today, the transferring and routing of data is much more sophisticated and complex. We’re connecting more devices – and types of devices – than ever before. Wireless devices, especially in a manufacturing environment, are becoming a bigger piece of the overall network. The speed at which data must travel, as well as how quickly users need to access that data, continues to increase. And of course, security of the overall system is an ongoing concern for every business.

 

 

Tell us more about the role security plays.

There are several pillars to consider in any discussion about security. You have the network and the individual devices to safeguard, as well as the physical security of the system and facility. But a big factor today is social engineering, a situation in which someone portrays him or herself as part of the organization in order to gain access or trust. Sometimes, this can take months. Other times, it’s an email that looks legitimate enough for a team member to click and expose the entire network. The great news is there are network security tools we leverage here at Applied Technologies to help our clients avoid these situations.

 

What industries do you see leveraging their data and systems well?

Every industry from retail and commercial to manufacturing and gaming is working to identify the best ways to leverage their data to help the organization reach their goals. Right now, the concept of “smart manufacturing” is very big. This allows manufacturing and industrial facilities to share real-time data from the shop floor to create better efficiencies and drive profitability. Commercial facilities are transferring data on a variety of issues to help better maintain, stock and improve productivity. The gaming and retail space uses location data and facial recognition technology to track their customer’s habits, wants and needs to provide the right offer at the right time to either keep them on-premises longer, and keep them coming back for more.

Applied Technologies has played a key role in helping to develop the strategy for the infrastructure needs to propel these initiatives, as well as installing and maintaining the systems to make this all possible. This can include the design and installation of data centers, implementation and oversight of managed services, security and uptime monitoring, and putting all of the hardware and software in place to facilitate the secure, efficient transfer of information.

Our experience in top floor and shop floor integration goes back to our origin.  Applied Technologies is a French Gerleman technology company.  Together, we can provide manufacturers a complete Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution. Our team can not only answer the technical questions but can assist with reviewing the financial and operational benefits of IIoT.

 

Where and how does this process typically begin?

In some cases, a client will call upon Applied Technologies to help them solve a specific business problem through technology. Perhaps they realize they’re losing money on a certain product line, or are having challenges with customer retention. We partner to work through the situation with them, identify the key metrics to monitor, and build a holistic technology solution with the hardware and software needed to move the needle on those metrics.

In other cases, the client has identified their business objectives and reach out to the Applied Technologies team to implement the technology needed to support the initiatives.

Whether the customer has a clear path in mind or they don’t know where to start, we walk through that process with them hand-in-hand to build the solution they need to make their business run more smoothly while increasing profits.

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We enjoyed our time discussing the digital transformation with Eric, who encourages readers to begin their journey if they haven’t already done so.

In closing, we ask you to consider what your data could be doing for you, and how you could be leveraging it to grow revenue and profits. It’s OK if you don’t know where to start, but know that you have access to a wealth of information that could be driving your business into the future. The team at Applied Technologies is here to help you make sense of it, and build the technology infrastructure you need for better business results. Please reach out to the team at sales@appliedtech.pro or 636.274.8000 with any questions you may have.