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.

Healthy Cloud Strategy, Healthy Business! Measure your wellbeing on the cloud maturity index today.

CloudSelf-assessment allows organisations to measure the health of their cloud strategy against best practice and similar entities.

When it comes to digital transformation, cloud computing is the first step on the journey, and organisations are faced with a multitude of options and directions to take. With support from Microsoft, Fujitsu has developed a self-assessment tool to help organisations to measure the ‘health and maturity’ of their cloud strategy when compared to established best practice and a benchmark of similar entities.

Participants in the Cloud Maturity Index can take a short self-assessment that is based on the Open Data Centre Alliance’s Cloud Maturity Model. At the completion of the survey they will get a reading on where they sit in terms of their overall ‘Cloud Maturity Index’.

The output from the self-assessment can be valuable for use in future planning and development of ICT strategy.

The first 90 respondents will also receive a customised report that analyses their current cloud state and provides recommendations to support the development of a balanced cloud strategy and roadmap. The report will be compiled by the independent research firm Capitalis.

This self-assessment is accessible by clicking here and will only take approximately 7 minutes to complete.

For more information about the Open Data Centre Alliance’s Cloud Maturity Model see: https://opendatacenteralliance.org

 

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

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

Towards the Agile Workplace

An interview with James Mercer, Solution Director for Virtual Client Services at Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand

What exactly do you mean by the term, ‘Agile Workplace’?

There are two aspects to agility in the workplace:

  • The agility of the workforce, and
  • The agility of the organisation in general

A truly agile workforce has the ability to access corporate systems and information from a variety of devices and locations. Access to corporate systems and data needs to be flexible enough to cater for employees varying work and life commitments. This typically means the ability to change devices and still be able to access corporate information at any time. We all find that the ideal device varies with what we are doing at the time. For example a mobile phone becomes our choice of device while travelling or between meetings. A tablet may be the choice at home, while the corporate PC or laptop is our chosen device when in the office. The key to agility in the workforce is to enable the same access regardless of the device that is being used at the time. 

An agile organisation needs to have the ability provide its workforce with the IT resources to meet its business needs at any point in time. This often means the ability to scale up and down in response to seasonal events. For example Christmas time is a big push for Retail organisations, while the end of the financial year is a big period for accountancy firms. An agile workplace must be able to scale ‘compute power’ up and down to meet the needs of users based on seasonal or unusual requirements. From a commercial point of view, consumption-based delivery models lend themselves better to this approach than traditional managed services models that rely on capacity to be forecast well in advance to accommodate all requirements – ultimately resulting in organisations paying for more capacity than they really need.

How are your customers embracing the concept? Do you see any patterns emerging?

We are seeing a lot of interest in Virtual Client Computing (which we brand Virtual Client Services (VCS)) – led by large enterprises. We are working with large organisations in transport, logistics, and financial services. We have had a lot of interest from all levels of government as well as support functions for government such as police forces. We are seeing this across Australia and New Zealand and I’m informed by my global counterparts that there is a significant demand worldwide.

The demand for VCS is definitely being led by large enterprises. It is clear that reducing costs is a major driver towards consumption-based services but there is also a clear requirement to be able to provide a more mobile experience for users.

There is a lot of talk about BYOD – does this approach have a place in the Agile Workplace and what challenges does this present for corporate IT departments?

 BYOD definitely plays a big part in the drive towards centralised computing, although many organisations are still struggling with the concept. What we will see is a change from managing devices to managing corporate applications and data. The technologies are becoming available to enable enterprises to manage applications and data regardless of the device. Currently there is still concern as corporates want to select and control devices but that mindset will change as the security around applications and data is improved through technologies such as the Citrix ‘Mobility Bundle’.

So do you think we are finally seeing the end of the PC in the corporate world?

We are still seeing good use cases particularly for people who work offline or who don’t have continuous access to communications infrastructure. People who travel a lot on trains or planes where the constant access to the network is not always guaranteed will still benefit from using a laptop. But for those who are always connected – whether it is by a telco data connection or Wi-Fi – remote desktops are fantastic. I can see that in a short time frame people will just go to work and log into a corporate device rather than carry their own laptop around. Alternatively PC’s and laptops may be replaced by lower cost devices such as Netbooks .When staff are away from the office users will be able to select the device or devices of their choice and access corporate systems securely – and all of these devices will have the ability to access to the same business applications and corporate data to allow the user to be productive. It will be less important to travel with a laptop and therefore promote more sustainable practices such as cycling or walking to work.

Of course there will always be a use case for people with specific needs to use a PC or laptop at work – for example high-end developers, and people who need access to bespoke systems, and legacy applications – so PCs will hang around for a while. But I think you will see a shift towards remote desktop computing with virtualised end-user services.

Is the Agile Workplace the domain of Gen Y? How will Baby Boomers adopt to this way of working?

Regardless of their generation, people will adopt a new approach to technology if they see value. The key for organisations to make the implementation of Virtual Client Services a success is to demonstrate to end users a superior service to the service they are currently using. Essentially we need to show people that there is no difference while they are in the office, but they have a much richer experience when they are out of the office. Our service provides a highly personalised, enterprise grade solution to ensure that users feel like they have been ‘upgraded’. Whereas traditionally people felt like they were being ‘downgraded’ by moving to a thin client.

What is the impact of Agile Working on corporate IT departments and what strategies do you recommend to make their lives easier?

In short, corporate IT are generally our biggest fans! A lot of headaches go away and it improves the agility of the organisation. It makes it easy for them to make changes and maintain policy. VCS has a significant impact on the corporate IT department and it is mainly all positive.

Firstly, computing is centralised so there is a much lower security risk than in a decentralised architecture. With a centralised approach it is also easier to encourage the use of best practices. For a large organisation it could mean the difference between having only a few hundred servers to manage as opposed to thousands  of Operating systems on PC’s- and most of the server images are copies of a Gold Build master – this makes managing VCS relatively simple to manage.

Software upgrades and adding new services is significantly easier. For example in the case of Microsoft Office instead of a gigabyte upgrade for each of several thousand PC’s the upgrade can be applied once and rolled out to the organisation almost immediately.

 

Navigating your way through a smorgasbord of Cloud Choices

Over the last couple of years we have seen the Cloud market maturing with a range of new providers offering a variety of new services. It can be very complex for a customer wading through the various offers available.

Given that we have just released our yearly Australian Open Golf Video, which focusses on the theme of Cloud Choice, I have put together some scenarios of varying business requirements and made some suggestions as to the priorities for Cloud that would be important in each case:

If data sovereignty is important to you… Organisations such as Financial Institutions and Government Departments not only value data security and privacy, it is often a requirement for the operational aspects of their business. In this case the only Cloud that suits their requirements is one in which the provider can guarantee that their data is safe and secure and most importantly stays on-shore.  With many providers offering cloud services it is important to speak to your provider to understand exactly where your data will be located and whether they can guarantee that it will not be stored offshore. Specifying storage locations is in some ways contradictory to the very nature of cloud computing so it may be a challenge for providers who either don’t have or have a limited number of data centres in Australia.

If flexibility of capacity is important. Sometimes the biggest driver for a move to the cloud is the need for capacity planning. If you are about to experience a major fluctuation in your business – perhaps caused by seasonal factors or an increase in marketing activity, it is much easier to provision an extra server from your service provider than to procure and provision the capacity. Cloud models allow additional servers to be provisioned and de-provisioned in minutes as opposed to possibly months of planning, ordering, provisioning and testing required to provision the capacity in the conventional way. The ability to self-provision is also an important factor for some organisations and should be factored into your thinking when it comes to your choice of Cloud provider. In this scenario you need to be able to ensure that your provider has the ability to leverage its resources to offer you ‘capacity on tap’.

If you need optimum security and service level requirements for many key applications you may consider adopting a private cloud model. Private cloud allows IT infrastructure to be provisioned under an organization’s control, either on-premise or at a service provider’s facilities.

If you need flexibility in your cloud environment you may consider a hybrid cloud platform that gives you the best of local, global and private cloud platforms. For example, organisations using largely private cloud services can “burst” non-sensitive processing workloads to a public cloud to meet peak or highly elastic workloads. Or, they can split a workload across a global public cloud and a country-specific public cloud — depending on which elements of an application are publicly facing or involve the processing of customer data. Such a sophisticated orchestration means control over data location can be maintained, and governance can be shared across all different cloud types.

Whatever approach you take, you don’t want to go it alone. Cloud computing is not just about technology. Cloud offerings should start with a set of Enablement Services to guide customers through the complex task of responding to individual business needs. Enablement services help to consolidate customers’ on-site demands and other cloud activities with our end-to-end offering . You should also be able to pick up the phone and speak to your Cloud provider at a technical level as well as an account management level, to work with you to define your requirements and enable your transition to the cloud.

When choosing a cloud provider, you need utmost confidence in their ability to deliver. Your provider should also be mature in the marketplace. By this I mean that they should know how to support their customers across their whole business and not just their sales teams. It is the post-sales support and guidance from your provider that can make the journey to the cloud all the more seamless.

If you are already on the cloud journey and want to expand your organisation’s cloud footprint. You should not just consider your provider’s current cloud offerings but should consider their capability development roadmap and their cloud solution development activities. These activities should be across the range of IaaS; SaaS & PaaS offerings. No one can guarantee where Cloud computing technologies will be in 5 – 10 years time, so you need to partner with a provider that has a strong solution development capability. This is so you can be sure that your provider will be able to offer services in-line with where the demand for cloud is heading.

Needless to say, at Fujitsu we can offer our customers a complete range of choices of platform to suit every business need. We invested in a range of cloud platforms a number of years ago and continue to invest and innovate on these platforms. While some of our competitors are still establishing themselves locally we have been providing industrial strength Cloud solutions in Australia for over two years. If you are interested in reading further about the choices you have in Cloud I recommend that you download and read Fujitsu’s White Book of Cloud Adoption. This is an excellent impartial reference to help you to navigate your way through the smorgasbord of choices you have in today’s market.