Matt Oostveen, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific & Japan, EMC Converged Platforms
A recent report by Industry Analysts IDC, predicts that Asia-Pacific x-Commerce – an all-encompassing term that highlights new business models and customer engagements, will rise from nearly US$7 trillion in 2015 to nearly US$17 trillion in 2019. Asia-Pacific will see the circulation of 3 billion smartphones, with a mobile penetration rate of 112% by 2020. By the same year, IDC also predicts that the Asia-Pacific market for Internet of Things (IoT) will reach $583 billion. Each of these factors will lead to even higher levels of data creation that will far surpass what we currently consider gargantuan.
The question is: Is Asia ready to reap the benefits of the digital economy?
Bridging the Technology Gap
Across Asia, governments are rapidly realizing the need to accelerate innovation and leverage technology to solve economic challenges. Singapore is intensifying efforts to be the world’s first Smart Nation. Malaysia is well on track to reach the goals of Digital Malaysia 2020 vision. From Philippines to Thailand to Indonesia, digital transformation is set to make its mark both in the public and private sectors.
The desire to succeed has set great expectations in Asia. However in order to achieve ambitious goals, gaps must be bridged on the technology front and nowhere is this more important than in the Data center. With increasing numbers of customers and IT users, complexity within IT departments has skyrocketed. This has resulted in CIO attempting to resolve increasing complexity, budget pressures, skills shortages and staff retention by asking the ultimate question: ‘Should I build or buy?’
Enter the converged infrastructure - an approach to Data center architecture that seeks to minimize the complexity needed to manage today’s workload and processing demands without the expense that often comes with a complete infrastructure overhaul. Over the last five years, the success of converged infrastructure has grown out of the ability to ease the pressure on the infrastructure layer, accelerate time to value for investments and in the process, answer the question of buy versus build.
However, for many Asian companies, converged infrastructure platforms remained only in the hands of the biggest enterprises and large government departments. The solution is hyper-converged infrastructure.
The Happy Marriage of Mid Market and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
While large corporations continue to be an important engine in Asia’s growth, a large part of the region’s success is also tied to the continued success and further development of its small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs). Accounting for more than 96 percent of all enterprises in the ASEAN Economic Community, SMEs contribute between 30 and 53 percent to the region’s GDP.
A new format of Converged Infrastructure called hyper-converged infrastructure takes the best attributes of its bigger brother and brings them to the mid-market space. Hyper-converged Infrastructure provides plug-and-play attributes to the Data center - it is simple to deploy and manage with a single point of contact. With hyper-converged infrastructure, businesses now have the ability to respond quickly to changing business needs, shorten their innovation curve and ultimately, realize digital transformation without the costs and risks associated with traditional infrastructure provisioning.
All converged infrastructure types help solve compatibility issues between servers, storage systems and network devices. Engineered, designed and manufactured as a single ‘box’, converged infrastructure also reduces costs for cabling, cooling, power and floor space. With built-in IT management automation, it allows companies based in developing Asian nations, lacking deep pools of highly skilled professionals or reliable infrastructure, the ability to provide a higher standard of IT service to their customers, staff and partners. In short, it will make them more competitive.
Hyper-converged infrastructure also provides capabilities that are particularly helpful to business growth in this region: the option to scale. For companies that are looking to grow but perhaps are not yet prepared to make a significant financial commitment to their IT budget, scalability is crucial. With hyper-converged infrastructure businesses have the ability to start small – and scale up as their business thrives.
It should be noted that hyper-converged infrastructure is not just well-suited for mid-sized companies wanting to start small or on a limited budget, but is also a perfect option for larger enterprises needing an effective and efficient solution for their remote, edge locations. Businesses in Asia, regardless of size, can now easily and quickly refresh their IT to meet new business demands.
The time of Asia is undoubtedly now and converged infrastructure is giving the region the competitive edge and agility it needs.