Automation and orchestration are the keys to an agile data center

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The digital economy is having a profound effect on businesses of all kinds and sizes. The enterprises that will thrive are the ones who can move from ideas to execution to business results at breakneck speed. Those who can't adapt will get left behind. And that means accelerating IT execution to deliver services faster to keep pace with the breakneck speed and personalized experiences in the digital economy.

Seventy percent of companies that were on the Global 500 only 10 years ago no longer exist, according to Forrester Research. To succeed in an environment of rapid change and short life expectancies, IT must deliver an orderly transition of the one thing that is holding them back—today's complex multi-generational data center. It's no secret that 80% of the IT budget is spent on supporting legacy systems. That's a waste.

IDC predicts that companies will need to redirect most of their IT budget over the next few years to digital transformation if they want to survive. Yet this transformation leaves an overwhelming majority of executives struggling with the complexity of today's existing data center—and spending the bulk of their budgets to sustain current applications. Companies must renew their existing environment while simultaneously enabling the innovation that is demanded by new stakeholders—and increasingly demanding customers.

Transformation requires new, more efficient tools and capabilities that create more agile, simpler environments. These days, enterprises have a combination of traditional data centers, an on-premise cloud, and an off-premise cloud as they try to transform to a hybrid infrastructure. IT needs a new operating model to simplify and add new capabilities without increasing complexity.

Automation and orchestration will be the key in the successful transformation of IT infrastructures as enterprises embrace applications in the digital economy. Automation and orchestration also pave the path to the future by simplifying operations, speeding up workloads, lowering costs by heightening efficiency, and enabling the rapid creation of new business models and revenue streams.

As the data center network becomes even more critical to business success, the infrastructure needs to be automated, rather than letting manual changes and humans get in the way. Network virtualization allows the same level of agility that we have come to expect from the other components of the data center infrastructure. To tap the full potential of automation and orchestration, enterprises should seriously consider a vendor that can provide end-to-end solutions from the orchestration layer all the way to the network and can support it in a reliable manner.