The new data storage model for radical IT innovation

Solidfire_251116You’ve undoubtedly heard about the Internet of Things (IoT), in which almost every device or appliance is connected to the Internet. The collective intelligence that can be gained from these devices will forever change the activities and lives of businesses and consumers everywhere.

It is probable that IoT will impact not just connected devices, but many devices that are unconnected yet still have a current running through them.

We’re not going to get into the details of that in this article, but the point is simply this: everything you’ve heard about the Fourth Industrial Revolution – like the explosion in IoT, cloud computing and Big Data – is likely to prove an understatement.

Recent research from Gartner shows that almost 50 percent of businesses have invested in Big Data initiatives, but most are not getting the best out of their expenditure. The reason: insufficient planning or structure around how to find what they need from the data, and how to best use it.

Given the pace and scale of technological change, that’s understandable. But what can you do about it?

Some traditional companies are now getting advice on how to revamp their IT systems and workplaces so they can leverage the vast computing resources of the Cloud – so they have a chance to keep up with newer, faster-moving businesses.

Businesses struggling to find what they need from huge information flows may take some encouragement from Google. The company has announced the development of an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that it says represents the biggest shift in computing since the appearance of the smartphone.

The company says its massive search database, which now holds about 17 billion facts, will help its AI engine answer queries.

But even when that kind of technology filters down to more general use, it will still be a poor idea to let AI deal with a random assortment of information. A modern, versatile storage system will be needed to provide the dedicated, blistering performance requirement to get the most benefit from any kind of search in an acceptable time frame – whether AI or something else.

Solidfire is a storage system ideal for businesses wanting to ease the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s an all-flash array system, meaning it has no spinning disks. This offers a number of major advantages:

  • Install only the capacity you need and expand at any time with no downtime and no reconfiguration
  • Ensure rapid data access: Input-output per second (IOPS) can range from terabytes to multiple petabytes
  • Have mixed node and protocol clusters.

In addition, Solidfire provides complete automation, guaranteed quality of service, data assurance (including self-healing drive and node rebuilds) and global efficiency.

Solidfire provides a solid foundation for manipulating and processing the data now being generated in the digital age. And when that foundation is solid, you can make good decisions with confidence – and gain an edge on those who continue to operate in a new world using outdated technology.

Make sure your business is ready. See the infographic here.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will test your IT systems

blogEarlier this year, the Pokémon Go smartphone game quickly captured worldwide attention. But the most compelling point about the game is that it blurred boundaries between the real and the virtual, as millions of people everywhere tried to track down virtual-world characters.

This is a sign of how the world is not just rapidly changing, but being reshaped. And the reshaping has a name: The Fourth Industrial Revolution.  The first three industrial revolutions were founded, respectively, on mechanical power, electricity, and electronics and information technology.

The fourth is characterised by a merging of technologies that blurs the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds.  Billions of people are being connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented access to knowledge, processing power and storage.

In any major revolution, change is a universal constant. The sheer rate of change, or disruption, we are experiencing now is creating a world that is being reshaped faster than individuals and institutions can respond. This is why enterprises will have to be more focused than ever to keep up with developments in hardware and software, or very quickly fall behind.

Fujitsu is ready for this increased rate of change and we have a number of technologies in place to handle it.  One such technology is a platform called Solidfire, which we believe is the definitive all-flash storage system for the next-generation data centre.  Its massive scalability and inherent deep automation capabilities means this technology can predictably run thousands of mixed workload applications from a single shared system.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, change is driven by the Cloud, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Businesses will operate according to four design principles:

Inter-operability: Machines, devices, sensors and people will communicate with each other via the Internet of Things, or the Internet of People, and by 2020, the number of internet-connected things will exceed 50 billion.

Information transparency: Information systems will use data from sensors to create virtual copies of selected parts of the physical world.

Technical assistance: Assistance systems will collect and visualise vast quantities of information for human decision-making and problem-solving, and cyber-physical systems will carry out tasks that we find unpleasant, exhausting, or unsafe.

Decentralised decision-making: Cyber-physical systems will make decisions and perform many tasks on their own (Fourth Industrial Revolution).

The traditional data centre wasn’t built for the Fourth Industrial Revolution so we will need a leap in orders of magnitude in IT and computing, like the SolidFire all-flash array, to give us the next-generation data centre and Fast IT. This solution:

  • can increase capacity and performance on demand, without downtime
  • delivers guaranteed performance to multiple different workloads
  • is programmable and automated
  • can continue even if something fails, without application re-configuration
  • enables better utilisation of server platforms, networks, storage protocols and people.

If pictures are your thing – download this Infographic on how to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with Solidfire. 

Five reasons to host SAP in the Cloud with Fujitsu

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Following excellent feedback received from our customers in Europe and Asia, we have now officially launched Fujitsu Cloud for SAP in Australia.  Here are five great reasons for hosting your SAP production workloads in the Fujitsu Cloud:

  1. Reduce the complexity of running a SAP-based business. Fujitsu Cloud for SAP provides a unified platform for running both classic SAP workloads as well as SAP HANA.  As all future SAP applications will be based on SAP HANA, our solution gives you the ability to move to HANA at your own pace.
  2. Avoid expensive capital outlays.  Fujitsu Cloud for SAP addresses the challenge of high infrastructure costs and lowering the entry barriers to adopt HANA in-memory technology.
  3. Purpose-built for SAP. Fujitsu Cloud for SAP is built on Fujitsu’s own IP – Fujitsu FlexFrame Orchestrator, a powerful management solution with built-in ‘smarts’ to dynamically manage and automate the full SAP environment, delivering high availability to 24/7 SLAs and reduced TCO.
  4. Know your data is safe, onshore and secure. Fujitsu Cloud for SAP is hosted on Fujitsu’s Private Cloud Platform in our secure, highly available Australian data centres.
  5. A single point of responsibility. Our platform is 100% Fujitsu owned and managed –  including data centres, managed services, hardware and SAP application support – one partner.

We are excited about Fujitsu Cloud for SAP and we would love to share our excitement with you. Contact us to arrange a time for a chat about how your SAP environment can provide better business value hosted in the Fujitsu Cloud.   For more information revisit the SAP page on the Fujitsu website and download the Fujitsu Cloud for SAP brochure.

To speak to one of our dedicated SAP Consultants call Mark Lipton, one of our dedicated SAP Consultants on 03 9924 3027 or email mark.lipton@au.fujitsu.com

Citrix Announces Workplace Suite

Agile WorkingIn the age of mobility, businesses utilizing the Cloud can expect to become more agile, reducing the costs of provision and support of IT infrastructure, increasing productivity and fostering better collaboration – both in and out of the office.

While mobile innovation in the consumer sector is leading the way, enterprise IT is lagging behind, with each part of the business often driving specific solutions to meet their particular needs. However, organizations are now starting to recognize that an enterprise-wide approach to mobility is required if they are to maximize their return on investment.

In order to benefit from the mobile revolution, businesses need to evaluate the risks, wants and needs of their employees, whilst striking a balance between individual convenience and corporate control, addressing issues such as: collaboration, enterprise applications, automation, consumerization, and connectivity.

The announcement today by Citrix of the release of the Citrix Workspace Suite should give comfort to Enterprises contemplating a holistic, secure and integrated mobility solution. http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/may-2014/workspace-suite-announcement.html

To quote Citrix “…this solution unites all content (apps, desktops, data, and services) for secure delivery to people in the way that best suits their working style.”

This is what a mobility solution is about – enabling individuals to be as productive as they can be by allowing them to work whenever, wherever, and on whatever device they need.

Powered by Citrix Workspace Suite, Fujitsu’s Mobility solutions delivers the right solution for the Enterprise. See here for more details on Fujitsu’s end user services and mobility solutions: http://www.fujitsu.com/global/services/infrastructure/end-user/

Insights Quarterly – Focus on Applications and Security in Australia

 Applications and Security

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest edition of Insights Quarterly, a joint research initiative between Fujitsu and Microsoft, focuses on the much discussed topic of Application Security. The research, which is the result of surveying over 100 Australian CIOs confirms that security is no longer a second-level issue for CIOs – it is now well and truly top of mind. This concern is largely in the light of increased mobility.  Many organisations are having trouble addressing security issues and accommodating requirements such as support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies.

Interestingly, despite strong concerns about all aspects of security, many user organisations are having difficulty addressing the issues. This is often because security only becomes a pressing concern once systems are compromised, and because many classes of security threats are comparatively new and there is a low level of awareness about how to deal with them.

Other findings of the report are that cloud computing is now considered ‘mainstream’, applications are migrating very quickly to mobile platforms and the cloud, and packaged software is becoming the norm.

The research is published on the Insights Quarterly Website: http://www.insightsquarterly.com.au, which contains the current and past reports as well as supporting research notes and PowerPoint presentations.

Canon in the Cloud – Proudly powered by Fujitsu

canon-fujitsu-signingLast week Canon Australia and Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand announced a partnership to host Canon’s ‘Therefore Online’ workflow and document management software on Fujitsu’s Trusted Public S5 Cloud Platform. Therefore Online is an extension of Canon’s ‘Therefore’ software platform, which is designed to provide an ‘electronic filing cabinet’ across various sources of information including paper documents, electronic files, barcodes, email, internet forms and XML files.
                     
Therefore Online is the first of Canon Australia’s applications to be hosted in the cloud, and will pave the way for a new suite of cloud-based offerings that will allow the delivery of the applications to consumers on a cost-effective subscription model. Originally targeted at the small to medium business (SMB) market, the platform is scalable to organisations of all sizes.
 
For more information please see the Press Release.
 

Environmental benefits of desktop virtual computing

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The rise and uptake of the virtual desktop has enabled organisations to realise a number of benefits including improved user experience, better customer service and up to a 40% reduction in desktop support costs. Not to mention the ability for organisations to move from a CAPEX operating model to a more OPEX utility based platform.

Given the increases in services and solutions to date very little information has been made available about the sustainability and environmental benefit of a virtual desktop solution. With the rise in energy costs and environmental compliance the total environmental benefits of a virtual desktop solution have been to date undervalued.

Fujitsu has published a white paper that discusses the closely linked subjects of energy use and carbon emissions around the desktop environment. It looks at the potential decreased energy costs of deploying a virtual desktop solution based on Fujitsu Virtual Client Services (VCS), but also delves deeper into other tangible and intangible benefits such as more efficient maintenance, longer refresh cycles of desktop hardware, decreased heat load in buildings, ability to sweat assets longer and the potential reduced embodied carbon and emissions throughout the lifecycle of a virtual desktop. Continue reading

Do you really need the desktop?

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Charles Ponniah, Fujitsu’s lead architect for End User Services challenges the role of the desktop in the organisation…

With so much technology around us, there are plenty of questions for every CIO, IT Department and the end users themselves.

One major question that seems to be constantly asked is “Do you really need the desktop?”. The “desktop” here isn’t about the hardware workstation or PC that sits on or under your work desk. The “desktop” here is all about the familiar sight we all see once we’ve logged in past the “CTRL + ALT + DEL” screen and for some of us its that “cluttered” workspace with all our shortcuts, files, folders, music, pictures and anything we can get our hands on.

The “desktop” still has a part to play in the end user computing world and how we use our workstation today. Currently around 80% of applications require a desktop,  but in 2-3 years time this could reduce to as low as 30%.

This predicted massive percentage drop over the next 2-3 years has very much to do with the proliferation of the multitude of devices ranging from tablets, smartphones and “phablets (combining the feel of a tablet with the convenience of a smartphone).

The huge way in which end users make use of their smartphones and tablets at home is quickly being transferred to the workplace. End users expect the ability to work with these devices at work and the quickly changing technology landscape is fast becoming an enabler for these devices in the workplace.

The reason: people are using and want to use applications in their natural form, sized for things like the iPad with a smaller form factor, portability, responsive on touch screens, tablet ready and so on.

In today’s world the VDI word keeps getting repeated for the ability to deliver end user’s their workspace anywhere, anytime and from any device. But you’re still stuck with a desktop that appears hard to navigate on a small form factor device as mentioned above.

Enter the applications only workspace. Take away the desktop, the need to secure the desktop, the need to have shortcuts on your desktop or in your documents folder and the need to launch a start menu to launch applications.

Imagine a world where, you pick up your mobile tablet, scroll across your tablet screens and find an icon called Office Email, touch the icon to launch it and hey presto your working on your office email and happily responding to work emails, adding meetings, responding to meeting invites and so on. Then you look for an icon that says Office Browser, launch that and perform functions like approving time sheets, expenses and entering your timesheet for the day. The next thing is to launch an icon called Office Docs which then you proceed to launch a document called “Company Ideas – My review.docx”. You then type in your review, comments and corrections.

From the above, you’ve just done what you normally do by getting to a company office desktop but this time avoiding the need to go looking for the start menu or shorcuts to the programs, finding the shorcut you’ve created in a folder called “a million shortcuts” through launching Windows Explorer, to finding the shortcut to a word editing document and you do get the picture of how very quickly the “desktop” world will be replaced by the “apps” world. Continue reading

The cloud is complex, so businesses need a partner they can trust

cameron mcnaughtCameron McNaught , EVP, Solutions, International Business, Fujitsu Limited talks about the challenges organisations face when moving to the Cloud.

There’s no doubt that cloud technologies help organizations to meet the current and future challenges to modernize their Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and innovate new business offerings. But, says Fujitsu’s Cameron McNaught, the cloud is intrinsically complex – one size does not fit all. The best approach is to find a partner that can provide the consulting expertise and managed services that can be customized to every organization’s unique needs and budget.

Ask ten people to define the cloud and you get ten different answers. The cloud is such a simple term, but there are so many variations – public clouds, private clouds, external clouds, vertical clouds, even hybrid clouds. Not to mention a number of related terms such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and more.

Though business leaders might differ on defining the cloud, almost all agree that it’s a necessary step in keeping up with business growth and marketplace competition. In fact, the cloud is one of the hottest topics in business transformation today.

It’s not difficult to figure out why. Today’s business leaders are increasingly squeezed by two types of business challenges. On the one hand, their businesses require greater efficiency due to budget constraints. There’s a need to rein in spending and focus on margins. At the same time, new technologies create unprecedented opportunities to grow revenue, expand services, and enter new markets. It’s up to them to determine how to balance these two types of challenges: And one thing is clear – the old, traditional systems and processes can no longer meet the new challenges.

 The cloud can and does address these challenges. A well-executed cloud strategy results in several important benefits. These include: 

  • Innovation, as companies that invest in business-enhancing technology to serve customers, generate revenue, or deliver products and services are more likely to stay ahead of the competition. Global trends including big data, social business and mobile mean organizations of every description need to ‘innovate or die.’
  • Business agility, by taking advantage of new ways of doing things which were not previously possible, and due to a modernized and often globalized cloud or hybrid ICT infrastructure. 
  • High availability, because in a global environment, business is conducted ‘24×7.’ Customers, suppliers, and employees expect to be able to access their applications any time, from anywhere, and they have little tolerance for downtime, whether for planned maintenance or unexpected disaster. This also results from the ability to easily replicate and move workloads, enterprises are incorporating the cloud into their disaster recovery and business continuity planning.  Continue reading

How to reduce the risks and costs of UNIX applications running on traditional UNIX platforms

Migration of applications to newer platforms

Many corporate applications will more than adequately serve their organisation’s needs for many years to come. However the platform they are operating on is more than likely ageing, outdated and expensive to maintain.

The migration of legacy applications to more reliable platforms is an ongoing concern for organisations.  According to a recent survey by Gartner of corporate CIO’s, Legacy Modernization ranked among their top 10 technology and business priorities for 2012.

Migrating from UNIX using Symantec and Red Hat
Many “industry aware” C level managers are starting to consider the implications of the longevity issues surrounding traditional UNIX systems. In many cases, the applications themselves do what is needed by the business, and there is no need, driver or desire to retire the applications.

We have a migration pathway to help organisations to move  UNIX applications from expensive hardware and operating systems to newer, cheaper and readily available hardware (x86 architecture) and an up to date, well supported operating System  – Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

We can also move the applications into Fujitsu’s Cloud Services or enable the applications and servers to continue to run in either a Fujitsu Data Centre or the customers own Data Centre, whichever is preferred.

What is Red Hat Pathways?
Fujitsu’s Legacy Modernization program for migrating from UNIX to Red Hat Enterprise Linux on x86 is based on the Red Hat Pathways methodology, created by our partner, Red Hat. To begin with, we conduct an “Application Value Assessment” workshop to learn about the client’s environment and desired outcomes.  From this workshop, we agree on suitable application(s) to migrate and using the Pathways methodology we provide the client with a ROI document suitable for use in a business case.

pathways diagram

Why Migrate From UNIX?
There needs to be a driver or business case for migrating applications from their traditional UNIX platform, most commonly these drivers include the requirement for better:

  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Maintainability
  • Manageability
  • Longevity

With any migration from one system to another, there is always an issue of production downtime during the final cutover period. Migrating large systems can lead to large periods of “read only” downtime which can sometimes be managed by cutting over during natural slow periods, but not always.

With its volume-based asynchronous replication buffer, Veritas Volume Replicator (VVR) can be configured for zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) replication over any distance. This configuration lets Fujitsu replicate asynchronously over IP to our Cloud, while synchronously mirroring outstanding data in the asynchronous replication buffer (using Fibre Channel or IP) to a nearby site.

Then when it is time to “go-live” into the Cloud, the application downtime is minimised to just the time necessary to drain the bunker Storage Replicator Log (SRL) which can be measured in minutes, rather than hours.

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Can RHEL be deployed to a Cloud Platform?

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If the application is cloud ready we will be able to move it to the Fujitsu local cloud, otherwise the client can stay on-premise or move to the Fujitsu Data Centre, thereby removing reliance on UNIX and its associated costs.

Where can we deliver and do we have proof points on RHEL?
Initially this is an Australian only service, but it will be going global in the near future. With Symantec’s VVR tool, we are able to move applications into the Fujitsu cloud no matter where the existing server is located, without the need for a large downtime. Red Hat Enterprise Edition Linux is being used all over the world in almost every industry

So to summarize….
The Fujitsu, Red Hat and Symantec partnership has the ability to quickly, painlessly and efficiently “lift and shift” those existing applications from UNIX platforms to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Cloud infrastructure with precision, control and a minimum of application downtime.