3 Operational Imperatives for IT in 2024January 10, 2024 | Lance Shaw
The rapid evolution of AI over the last 18 months turned many of us into students again as we all worked to understand this new technology and how it could impact our organizations. If 2023 was largely about learning, then 2024 will be the year of action.
The shift from knowledge accumulation to strategic implementation is clear from our interactions with customers, and the emergent themes at Gartner’s recent IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference (IOCS). This is the year organizations stop experimenting with hybrid cloud services and Generative AI (GenAI) tools and start using them. This is the year companies start putting these solutions to work or risk being left behind by their competitors. And this is the year IT leaders who’ve remained loyal to legacy hardware vendors finally cut over to cloud and AI services.
So, what now? What do I mean when talking about putting these plans and strategies into action? I’ve distilled the process into three operational imperatives for IT in 2024.
1. Move your data to the cloud without losing the edge
The days of the data center as the center of data are long gone. The scale, capabilities, and cost savings of the cloud have proven irresistible. As the center of data shifts to the cloud, however, companies aren’t willing to sacrifice performance. Users and applications must be close to their files to ensure fast access. As a result, there’s been a surge of interest in hybrid cloud storage solutions. This model moves the center of data to the cloud while caching file data locally — near end users and applications at specific sites or near compute nodes in virtual cloud deployments — to ensure optimal performance.
This is the next revolution in data. For years, companies have depended on legacy vendors to store data locally, then relied on traditional backup solutions to protect PBs of data. Now companies have learned that these legacy infrastructures and their cloud-backed variations are flawed. They create performance bottlenecks and cost far more than expected. Hybrid cloud storage allows organizations to extend high-performance processing to the edge, where data is generated, while still enjoying the scale, cost savings, unlimited capacity, and advanced tools available in the cloud.
The idea of a multi-PB global migration can be intimidating, but a leading hybrid cloud storage provider like Nasuni has the processes, systems, and experience to make this experience painless and efficient. Today’s leading businesses have realized that if they’re going to remain competitive in a data-driven world, they’re going to need to centralize their data in the cloud without sacrificing that performance edge.
2. Sharpen your GenAI implementation plans
The changes discussed above reflect a larger enterprise shift. We’re moving away from a storage-centric world of NAS and WFS hardware to a data-centric universe. Data is the focus now, not storage boxes or appliances, and smart companies are thinking about how they can cleanse, prepare, secure, and organize their data more efficiently at a global scale.
The AI revolution is only accelerating this trend. Planning for GenAI and its impact on your organization is a complex job, but one thing is clear: AI needs data. If your data is siloed at different offices, data centers, manufacturing sites, or studios around the world, then you’re not ready for enterprise AI. Whatever AI solution you choose to deploy, you want that tool to access data that truly represents your business, not just what’s happening at a single location.
As you start mapping out your AI strategy in more detail, you will have to get a handle on the data quality, governance, compliance, and storage requirements as well. You’ll need to understand what sort of data you have, its relevance and recency, whether it’s secure, and what sort of access restrictions might apply. Then you’ll need to design and implement the pipelines required to prepare data so it can be consumed by AI tools and services, whether they are internal or external.
You need to be just as systematic with these tools as you are with your data. One of the standout themes from IOCS was the need to adopt a platform engineering approach to AI. You should develop a process around evaluating and integrating tools and models that is independent of the solutions themselves. The market is overcrowded with solutions today, but if you have a system that allows you to evaluate your options and move from ideation to pilot to production as efficiently as possible, you will be in a much better position at the end of 2024.
3. Continue to improve your operational resilience
Ransomware isn’t going anywhere. It is as sophisticated as ever. Preventing the theft, encryption, and misuse of sensitive data will remain a daily concern for organizations, and enterprises need to counterbalance this by improving their operational resilience.
This brings us back to the first key takeaway: the importance of moving your data to the cloud. A centrally managed cloud namespace is inherently more resilient than a collection of silos. Access points are easy to distribute at the edge for fast performance, but they also make it easier to quarantine and lock down ransomware attacks before they spread. With Nasuni’s hybrid cloud storage solution, data is continuously versioned to immutable cloud object storage and can be rapidly restored in the event of an attack. Our Ransomware Protection add-on service augments and strengthens these core capabilities.
How long will it take your business to recover from a ransomware attack or another disaster? There’s no excuse leaving your organization open to days, weeks, or months of downtime.
What These Three Takeaways Mean for You
Planning and executing these three imperatives will help your organization transform rapidly, stay ahead of the competition, and generally leverage the advantages of current and next-gen AI tools. Whether you’re part of a multinational manufacturing leader, a technology giant, or a state government, these three imperatives are a chance for you to stand out as an organization and as an individual.
This is a new era for IT. Your priorities are now executive priorities. Ransomware, AI, hybrid cloud storage, the future of data — these are all C-level conversations. If you establish yourself as a driver of this transformation, you will secure your seat at the table as a visionary and leader within your organization. Yes, you’re setting your business up for growth in an increasingly competitive landscape, but you’re also setting yourself up for professional success in 2024 and beyond.
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