Composability and intelligence are accelerating the self-driving data center
Self-driving cars rely on sensors, connectivity, and software all working together to achieve a safe, autonomous driving experience. Sensors via radar and cameras provide navigational input, connectivity adds traffic or weather data, and software captures and analyzes all of this information. The most complex part of this three-step process is the software, as the decision-making algorithm must account for the intricacies of millions of driving scenarios—all in an instant.
Today’s computing environments are also complex and growing more so every day. IT organizations running workloads in a hybrid computing environment must support and manage an operating model that spans traditional, cloud-native, virtualized, and containerized applications. And like the software algorithms that must make split-second decisions for self-driving cars, the IT infrastructure empowering the businesses must make real-time decisions that could very well impact the success or failure of that business.
The next evolution in the data center: self-driving
Recently, Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, explained that we’ve moved beyond the software-defined data center, and "going forward, it’s the self-driving data center." His insights are exactly right; for a business to move faster, its data center must function like a self-driving car. It must be capable of gathering input from numerous sources, each with limitless data, and then instantly analyze and act on it—all without human interaction.
To achieve this futuristic-sounding, self-driving data center, the enterprise needs a unique combination of two capabilities: composability and intelligence. Together, these technologies can simplify and automate hybrid cloud computing environments, creating tomorrow’s autonomous infrastructure.
Composability is the foundation for a self-driving data center
The first step in achieving a self-driving data center is selecting infrastructure that is software defined, which means fluid pools of compute, storage, and networking resources controlled programmatically with software. This capability is similar to how today’s semi-autonomous cars enable assisted parking and self-braking features.
The same holds true in the data center. Composability delivers the software to bring IT resources together, quickly composing and recomposing them based on the needs of individual workloads or applications. Because composability is designed to treat infrastructure as code, businesses can streamline and automate resources to seamlessly scale applications as needed. Instead of dedicated compute silos sitting idle when not in use, composability gives businesses an efficient and cost-effective way to develop and deploy applications faster.
Additionally, composability provides a unified API, which simplifies interoperability by providing a quick and easy on-ramp to the self-driving data center. The unified API automates typical IT tasks such as provisioning and ongoing maintenance of hardware infrastructure and software solution stacks. And as IT teams roll out new applications, a unified API turns hardware into software-defined infrastructure, letting them leverage the same tools they routinely use in the data center.
Intelligence provides the brains needed for real-time visibility and automation
The next critical component in a self-driving data center is intelligence. That’s because artificial intelligence (AI) can take software-defined infrastructure to the next level, simplifying how the infrastructure is managed while proactively supporting it. AI not only provides visibility across physical and virtual resources, but it collects, analyzes, and acts on the data—identifying and addressing problems before they occur.
Imagine if every second, millions of sensors captured the state of all systems in an enterprise—in the cloud and on premises. Next, envision how IT operational data could support the ideal operating environment for every application. This intelligence would give businesses complete reliability and availability, ensuring resources are always on. All updates and changes would occur instantly and automatically, allowing AI to act on the data when it is most relevant instead of hours or even minutes later.
This type of full-stack intelligence would eliminate disruptions and wasted time and money because it could solve problems before they occur. Take, for example, how the sensors in a car alert the driver when a tire has low pressure. By warning the driver in advance, the tire can be fixed before a flat strands the car’s occupants by the side of the road. AI for the self-driving data center can provide much greater visibility, analysis, and automation across all physical and virtual resources—from hardware to the workload.
Self-driving is the data center of the future
Through the unique combination of intelligence and composability, we are creating tomorrow’s autonomous, hybrid cloud data center. This self-driving experience goes beyond modernizing infrastructure; it’s about delivering a distinct operational model that relies on composability and intelligence to bring agility, resiliency, and scale to the enterprise.
Thanks to the unique combination of composability and intelligence, the car won’t be the only thing self-driving in the next few years—the data center will be too.
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