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September 22, 2014

The new style of IT is coming: are you ready?

A new style of IT is coming

This year’s HP ExpertOne Technology & Solutions Summit [ETSS] saw several trending topics emerge that have interesting implications for those in the ICT industry. The one question that seemed to underpin the technologies on show was how to take waves of information and make them meaningful. The emphasis is turning toward data and ensuring that the handling of it is as fast, secure and efficient as possible, even if it means radically redesigning the hardware.

Perhaps the most exciting topic to come out of the event was the Machine – HP’s response to current memory technology that is unable to keep up with the rising needs of data usage. HP is using photonics and optics to create memristors that decrease latency and power consumption while dramatically increasing speed and storage capabilities. This is just one way HP is securing the future of data storage in the face of the impending big data explosion.

Fusion IO is another exciting technology set to drastically improve what we can do with data analytics. By taking solid state technology and putting it onto a card that’s as close as possible to a processor, Fusion IO reduces the bottleneck between server and back-end storage. The result could be solid state machine storage in the region of 500 terabytes that allows for incredible amounts of high-volume data calculations on the card itself.

The Machine is not yet ready for primetime – HP is only looking to release it mainstream in four to five years. Similarly, Fusion IO is only an emerging technology at this point.

HP’s heavy investment in data analytics can be seen in its rollout of Hadoop, the framework set to become the universal platform for big data and business intelligence. Once again, we see that push to overcome the data-processing limits of today’s technology and ensure that it’s performing at its optimal level.

Of most interest to South Africans was the discussion around ConvergedSystem – HP’s portfolio of systems that can be custom-built for specific purposes. ConvergedSystem takes the guesswork out of integration to ensure performance is at optimal level.

OpenStack, meanwhile, promises an open-source approach to developing and overcoming the limitations of operating systems. OpenStack is an open and scalable operating system for building clouds. Its strength lies in providing that agility that CIOs strive for.

All of these trends represent an important shift in thinking: that it’s not about the hardware anymore, it’s about the application. HP calls this the new style of IT.

Players in the ICT industry should take note of the fundamental shift in thinking it might represent to their own industry.

Traditional approaches toward hardware will become obsolete sooner than we think. Companies like HP are going to be key players in driving this new style of IT. At Aptronics, we’ve already begun following their lead. As a vendor, we’re looking toward using our hardware as a basis for greater business intelligence, agility and analytical capabilities.

Technologies like ConvergedSystem allow us to create applications-in-a-box according to unique customer requirements and for platforms such as Hadoop. And as the world embraces emerging technologies (such as the Machine and Fusion IO), we’ll use hardware to enable better and faster applications.

In a world where hardware is secondary to applications, hardware resellers will need to start engaging with customers on a higher level. The emerging style of IT requires everyone in the industry to embrace a major paradigm shift.

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