Infrastructure Services are definitely undergoing a major transformation. How does one navigate the web of emerging technology trends and stay ahead of the game? Read on to learn more on our Infra Matters blog.

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January 23, 2013

Windows 8 for a mobile world

(Posted on behalf of Shalini Chandrasekharan)

Microsoft has launched its latest OS version in 2012 - simply named Windows 8. Its predecessor - Windows 7 was launched in 2009 and has since then, stabilized quite well with market adoption edging close to 50%. According to estimates from market watcher NetApplications, Windows 8 seems to have garnered close to 1% of the market.

Much has already been said about this revamped version - its unique 'Metro' style UI, revamped BitLocker, Windows To Go and Dynamic Access Control to name a few. However, depending on whom you have read, Windows 8 may either be the best thing ever to hit desktop computing or is expected to fizzle out as a damp squib.

The reason for this has to do with the nature of changes brought in Windows 8 as opposed to its predecessor Windows 7. Windows 7 was a clear step up from Windows XP with well defined upgrades that also required a hardware refresh in most cases. Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 is already underway for most organizations as it is an extensive process involving application migration and remediation.

In contrast, Windows 8 basically retains the core underpinnings of Windows 7 especially  software license compliance and policy management being the same. The major difference is that Windows 8 looks beyond the simple PC to other form factors such as tablets and smartphones. its touch based support service enables organizations to support employee owned devices or BYOD programs.

While the invasion of consumer IT into business has definitely started with the advent of smart devices, the uptake of allowing employees to bring their own devices has been slow due to various reasons, security being one of them. With Microsoft releasing Windows 8, it enables organizations to choose from multiple device form factors enabling users with different requirements. But this could lead to a different problem for organizations since most of the installed base comprises of traditional laptops and desktops which do not allow a complete leverage of the touch enabled 'Metro UI'. In this sense, Gartner may be right - 'Windows 8 is a big gamble for Microsoft'.

However, most experts believe that it may be too early to really comment on the success or failure of the launch since it usually takes organizations about 10-18 months to pilot, analyze and decide on migration. The added deadline of April 2014, when Microsoft will formally end the extended support for its Windows XP version, is another consideration for organzations. Windows 7 may be an easier fit than Windows 8 however, in the longer run, Windows 8 may prove to be a better choice especially if a new version of Windows in expected.



January 10, 2013

Storage Virtualization - the road ahead...

(Posted on behalf of Vaibhav Jain)


A decade ago the management of disk storage was very simple and uncomplicated; if we needed more space then we replaced low capacity disk drive with a high capacity disk drive. But as the organization grew, data grew, so we started thinking about adding multiple disk drives. Now finding and managing multiple disk drives became harder, so we developed RAID (Redundant Array Independent Disk), NAS (Network Attached Storage) and SAN (Storage Area Network).The next step in storage Technology is storage virtualization, which adds a new layer of software and hardware between storage and servers.

In a heterogeneous type of storage infrastructures environment where you have different types of storage devices- there is an added complexity of managing and utilizing these storage resources effectively. As storage networking technology matures, larger and complex implementations are becoming more common. Specialized technologies are required to provide an adaptable infrastructure with reduced cost of management.

Storage Virtualization resolves this problem - pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into a single virtual storage device that can be managed from a central console. This helps in performing regular tasks of backup, archiving, and recovery in a quicker and more efficient way. This in turn provides enhanced productivity, better utilization and management of the storage infrastructure. There are various options available in the market for the storage virtualization by using hardware and software hybrid appliances.
Some known available Hardware appliances for storage virtualization include EMC VPLEX, HITACHI DATA SYSTEM USPV, USP VM and VSP systems, NetApp V-Series appliances, IBM Storwize V7000 etc. On the software side, we have the likes of HP Store Virtual VSA Software and EMC Invista.

I have seen environments where organizations have decided to move away from multi-vendor storage systems to a single vendor system in the desire to reduce complexity. However there may be no need to discard a multivendor storage system for it is possible to achieve the same efficiency, scalability, and flexibility with a heterogeneous storage environment.
What you need to do is -choose the right storage system that supports storage virtualization technology and make that storage system as a front end storage system and connect rest of the present multivendor storage systems in the backend. With this, the same LUNs (Logical Unit Number) get maintained even with the help of the new virtualized storage system. With this arrangement you can scale up capacity without any need to migrate data from the old storage to new storage system. 

This way, you have utilized your old infrastructure with the no downtime and scalability and leveraged benefits of virtualized storage system including reduction in downtime, enhanced scalability and flexibility in managing resources with an overall reduction in the complexity of the IT environment.

January 8, 2013

Data center transformation - The next wave?

According to this report from Gartner, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to transform their data centers. In the report titled, "Competitive Landscape: Data Center Transformation services", Gartner reveals that the number of searches on the Gartner website for the topic has increased by about 358%.

The report also suggests that organizations are increasingly looking beyond simple hardware refresh but are also looking at re-engineering operating models and processes to increase functionality while optimizing costs. In this sense, there is a greater demand for consulting led solutions that organizations can streamline according to their requirements.

At Infosys, our value proposition involves helping organizations transform their data centers with a consulting-led approach. In addition, our intellectual property and solution accelerators help us provide a great framework for enterprises to gain the best return from their IT Infrastructure.

In this report, Infosys is one of the several vendors to be profiled. The report can be accessed here.