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Bill Kleyman
Bill Kleyman
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Optimize Your Infrastructure Without Breaking The Bank

Software-based systems, such as virtual security services and software-based WAN optimization, can be cost-effective ways to streamline your IT operations.

Is your IT environment bulging at the seams? Are you looking for ways to increase user count while still controlling the amount of resources you have? Well, before you go out and buy yet another piece of hardware, it's important to consider the logical side of things. Datacenter, cloud, and infrastructure optimizations don't always require hardware.

Now, software-based systems can directly impact how users consume resources and at the same time, increase datacenter efficiency. In many situations, deploying a new virtual server or a software-defined layer can be a lot less expensive than buying hardware.

With that in mind, let's look at five ways to optimize your infrastructure without breaking your budget.

  • The software-defined tool bag. You name it and it can probably be found under the software-defined definition. Organizations are now looking at commodity hardware because of technologies like software-defined networking. Now, you add compute, storage, and even the datacenter layer, and you've got a powerful SDX platform. Software-defined technologies help abstract the physical layer for better management and direct optimization.
  • Software-based WAN optimization. In many cases, optimizing datacenter traffic required a hardened appliance. Now, all you need is a hypervisor. New kinds of tools allow the administrator to deploy WAN optimization solutions from a software appliance platform. These can sit at numerous points, consume very little resources, and still optimize specific types of traffic and data points.
  • Clientless computing. This is a really cool one. Application, desktop, and resource delivery can now be done without a full client. Examples include VMware Blast and Citrix Receiver for HTML5. Furthermore, security admins can create clientless VPNs for even greater security. HTML5 and new types of delivery methodologies allow organizations to centralize all resources, and deliver it to a diverse number of end-points. Remember, these types of technologies are all virtual.
  • Virtual security services. Where standard unified threat management platforms fall short, virtual security appliances and services can pick up the slack. Physical security appliances can be robust, with a lot of integrated services. But what if you have a smaller office? Or what if you require very specific security services like IDS/IPS, DLP, or an application firewall, but don't want to spend the money on a physical appliance? This is when you look at virtual security systems. They can sit anywhere on your network and monitor all sorts of traffic. The ease of a virtual system can create some really powerful network monitoring and control methodologies.
  • Creating the right hybrid model. Instead of buying new hardware and equipment, why not create powerful pay-as-you-go cloud model? A lot of organizations are deploying logical orchestration and automation tools which allow them to dynamically span into a cloud model only when needed. This creates direct cost controls and on-demand resources utilization. A hybrid cloud model is a lot easier to deploy now than it was even a few months ago.

The pace at which administrators are evaluating their datacenters is increasing. These admins are looking at better ways to utilize resources, optimize content delivery, and improve the overall user experience. The reality is that the datacenter platform will only continue to evolve. In fact, many organizations are now directly creating their business models around the capabilities of the IT environment. So, as you build out and enhance your infrastructure, make sure to look at optimizations which won't break the bank, but will directly improve your business and datacenter model.

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating ... View Full Bio
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@mbushong
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@mbushong,
User Rank: Moderator
6/3/2014 | 9:44:39 AM
The HW/SW distinction might be losing steam
At least in the networking space, most of the major players in both the big iron and the appliance spaces are increasingly converging on a narrow set of merchant silicon and off-the-shelf processors. That pricing is still tied to HW is an artifact of pricing models and buying patterns.

If everyone ends up shipping on similar (and similarly-priced) hardware, then the distinction between HW and SW becomes a little bit less important. You need to have both.

Accordingly, people should be fairly clear about what they are looking to do and then keep the aperture for evaluation wide. Then narrow the field based on whatever criteria are important.

Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

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