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Flexible IT systems for an Agile Business

In the past, the thinking behind many IT investments was that they should be scaled up quickly and easily to support business growth. This model assumed that demand would go in one direction only: up.
However, as we all know, the real world is more complex. Dynamic business models see companies expanding, contracting and changing the spheres in which they operate on an ongoing basis.
In uncertain economic times, orders can fall and production can slow-down for significant periods of time. And many industries see substantial seasonal shifts in demand. A hotel chain, for example, will normally be busiest during the summer months.
In fact, no matter how big or small the company, there are constant shifts in demand with peaks and troughs in the business activity that IT systems must support. But because of an anxiety that reliability and responsiveness cannot be jeopardised at any cost, many IT departments run high performance environments that deliver maximum IT capabilities, even when lower levels of capability will more than suffice.
In fact, there are many reasons why companies may find it beneficial to ramp their IT provision down as well as up to suit the needs of the business at any given time. This is an issue that more and more organisations are focusing on and IT vendors are responding to.
Imagine being able to add rooms onto your house as and when the need arose – for example: when relatives come to visit. Then imagine being able to remove those rooms when they are no longer required.
This is just what a new generation of efficient, highly-scalable platforms are offering. The result: a truly flexible architecture that allows businesses to reconfigure their systems quickly to meet operational needs in an efficient and cost-effective way.
The joint Cisco-NetApp solution FlexPod combines Cisco servers and switches with NetApp storage technology to provide a shared infrastructure. Because the solution is based on a single, standardised platform, organisations can scale the solution up or down without making changes to their architecture.
This ‘building-block’ approach is not just the preserve of large, blue-chip companies. Instead, it is a viable and affordable option for a wide range of companies from medium-sized businesses to service providers. By reducing the number of organisational silos and increasing IT flexibility, efficient datacentre solutions can help business to become truly agile enterprises.
In our next blog, we’ll be looking at obstacles created by the proliferation of data silos within organisations and how a unified architecture can help to break these down.

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