Accelerate Application Modernization with Converged Infrastructure

By Ray Austin, NetApp

A number of trends are driving organizations of all sizes to modernize their legacy IT infrastructure for Microsoft®, Oracle® and SAP® software, including transitions from RISC to x86 architectures, database and application upgrades, server virtualization projects and private cloud initiatives.

All of these projects offer opportunities to update the underlying infrastructure to accelerate development cycles and improve application availability. These new capabilities can be a catalyst for increased IT agility, and they can lead to business outcomes that can’t be achieved with legacy infrastructure, such as the rapid rollout and market testing of new products and services.

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This article looks at some examples where a converged IT infrastructure was used to modernize an enterprise application environment and increase business agility.

Faster Development with Virtual Clones
A common challenge to introducing new business applications is the lead time required for new IT projects. This is especially true when multiple developers need concurrent access to an entire production environment to develop and test a new application. The amount of infrastructure resources required during this phase can be overwhelming, with storage requirements growing exponentially as more and more copies of the same data are created. The result is often a single-threaded development track with multi-month lead times, as developers and test engineers are forced to wait for access to limited resources.

A number of IT organizations have broken out of this cycle by adding the ability to provision virtual clones of large data sets for development and testing. Virtual clones are essentially writable copies of files or volumes that consume little to no storage as new data is generated. For example, a leading bank  reduced provisioning time from 12 weeks to 10 minutes as part of its converged infrastructure project. It can now provide a copy of the complete banking environment for each application developer, which means that the bank can deliver IT projects at a faster rate, test new ideas quickly and gain a competitive edge in the industry.

Rapid Production Rollout with Verified, Prebuilt Solutions
Once an IT organization enables agile development, the next step is to promote new applications into production, a process that is vastly simplified when the same architecture can be used for both environments. This means that in addition to meeting development and test requirements, the infrastructure must support mission-critical needs such as continuous availability, high performance and secure multi-tenancy.

IT teams can now take advantage of prebuilt solutions based on verified architectures that thoroughly document deployment, testing and operational procedures to minimize deployment risk and accelerate time to results. One example is the FlexPod® family of data center solutions, which can be sized for a base workload and seamlessly scaled to deliver additional performance and capacity. With the ability to support virtualization software from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware®, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux®and SAP, a FlexPod converged infrastructure provides a flexible and efficient foundation for application modernization projects.

From local governments and school districts to multinational companies involved in enterprisewide IT transformation projects, organizations of all sizes are now taking this approach. As with the bank, these organizations are able to leverage a converged infrastructure and service automation to decrease the testing window, accelerate system refreshes and enable the rapid deployment of new environments. They have also realized additional cost savings and efficiencies by using a single scalable infrastructure platform to support both development and production requirements for a wide range of applications, including private clouds, virtual desktops, Microsoft applications and SAP environments.

Learn more about using FlexPod data center solutions as part of your next application modernization project.

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