AI, Machine Learning and the Mother L.O.D.E – A (Software) Defining Moment for IT

Edge, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, intelligent automation, software-defined…once “emerging” technology trends that have all now become pillars of virtually every conversation about today’s IT infrastructure and its evolving needs.  In fact, the data center is now at the “core” of a distributed infrastructure spanning the edge and cloud that has organizations of all sizes and in all markets driving towards IT transformation to realize better business outcomes made possible in today’s digital information age.

Data exists everywhere – generated by seemingly every “thing.”  The Internet of Things has driven new innovation in both hardware, device and cloud compute – creating new IT requirements for how that data is secured, managed, stored, analyzed at the edge, core and the cloud.  And we’re just getting started…it’s what I’ve been calling “Lots of Data Everywhere,” or L.O.D.E. – perhaps the “Mother LODE.”

And the pressure is on to meet new IT demands that require an end-to-end strategy that ensures that organizations can transform all that data…in real-time…into game-changing insights.   Add to that the orchestration of virtual machines and the balancing act of legacy and new emerging data workloads…seems daunting, but I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy and see this as an amazing opportunity for IT, and quite frankly, the global economy.

Modernizing the data center is critical for any organization competing to win in the market. ESG recently polled more than 4,000 IT decision makers and asked them to agree or disagree with the statement: “If my IT organization does not embrace IT transformation, we will not be a competitive company.”  Eighty-one percent agreed. That is a 10 percentage point increase from last year’s ESG survey with the same question.

That competitive edge lies in being able to turn your data into business insights through AI and machine learning – which requires an infrastructure that leverages automation to process and move varying workloads at a scale and speed that in the next decade, would require millions of people to process all those zettabytes.  And besides – you need that talent putting their human intelligence into making sense of all that new business intelligence, and collaborating with machines in new ways that transform how they work.

Software-defined IT takes AI and machine learning from buzz to business outcomes…

This future IT world, driven by machine intelligence, requires a move to an agile and flexible software-defined infrastructure. Dell Technologies’ Realize 2030 study with Vanson Bourne polled 3,800 global IT executives on realizing digital transformation, and 89 percent believe they would have completed their transition to a software-defined business by 2030.

I believe that organizations will need to get there a lot faster or they’ll have missed a critical window of opportunity for their business. In fact, my bet is that we’ll see a shift to software-defined in the next 3-5 years as organizations realize that their ability to evolve and scale their increasingly diverse and distributed data center relies on having an incredibly dynamic infrastructure. Why?

Data moves and shifts rapidly – you need to be able to respond quickly to make sure that your data center can scale at a moment’s notice – to off-load workloads quickly and easily access private or public clouds, reroute heavy AI and machine learning workloads to help ensure mission-critical systems are never impacted – or even more importantly – quickly deploy that security update to ensure your organization isn’t the next victim of a data breach.

Also, when we bring machine learning into our IT architectures, data consumption will increase as it becomes the fuel for new and extremely valuable data insights, which we’ll see at rates previously unachievable without AI. This turbo-charged intelligent IT environment will need hardware innovation such as Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) and NVMe over Fabrics, new accelerated silicon (GPUs and FPGAs), and new media such as Storage Class Memory to deliver even faster and more intelligent storage and compute capabilities for ALL of your data – legacy, new and the unknown. Software-defined infrastructure will give us the ability to evolve the hardware infrastructure in real time (via software) when new innovation hits the market allowing you to future-proof your IT investment.

In fact, this is at the core of our new PowerMax storage array launched at Dell Technologies World, and NVMe-ready becoming far more pervasive throughout our full portfolio – including the new PowerEdge R940xa and PowerEdge R840.

ESG recently found that organizations that successfully make the leap from legacy to modern IT are:

  • 18x more likely to be faster at data-driven decision making
  • 22x as likely to be ahead of the competition when bringing new products and services to market.
  • 6x more likely to have IT involved in driving business strategy initiatives

And, IDC recently concluded that organizations will realize revenue gains worth $206 million per year, representing a five-year CAGR of 3.7 percent and total revenue growth in five years of 20 percent once IT transformation takes shape.

More innovation, getting to market faster, driving greater revenues and…IT gets an overdue seat at the table for informing your organization’s business strategy.  Software-defined IT takes AI and machine learning from buzz to business outcomes – creating new opportunities in healthcare, education, manufacturing, banking – the possibilities are endless.

So get ready for the Mother L.O.D.E…it’s coming in hot with the data that will give you a stronger competitive edge that transforms your business for the better.

About the Author: Dell Technologies