Businesses that don’t modernize their infrastructure won’t stay relevant for long.

That’s a strong statement, but it’s the reality today. Businesses are creating apps and services that rely on machine learning, high-performance computing (HPC), and real-time analytics. Those trending initiatives require organizations to gather, store, access, and analyze data at breakneck speeds.

And speaking of data, it’s pouring into organizations at accelerating rates and volumes from customers, social media, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, and other sources—both internal and external to the business. IT pros can struggle to match the right data to the right users and applications. And IT admins need efficient ways to store the mountains of data without vastly expanding the physical footprint of their data centers or exceeding limited or shrinking IT budgets.

Understandably, companies often stretch the lives of their current infrastructures in an attempt to keep costs down. IT admins have fought valiantly to stretch capabilities of old servers into accommodating new services and requirements. But legacy infrastructure wasn’t designed for modern data centers, which need to support complex, high-performing applications and platforms.

According to the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), outdated infrastructures result in a 6x slower rate for product innovation and time to market.1 And most IT admins are painfully aware of that fact. The same ESG study notes that 71 percent of IT organizations cite legacy infrastructure as their biggest barrier to business transformation.1

Legacy infrastructure also carries higher security risks. Each generation of server hardware, processor, and Windows Server operating system brings new technologies designed to help prevent or mitigate growing malware threats. By skipping upgrades, businesses are opening more doors to sophisticated malware that can compromise employee or customer data and put critical systems at risk. Obviously, the risks grow enormously when a product reaches its end-of-life date for support—and many companies today are facing looming end-of-life dates in January 2020 for Windows Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Overcoming Cost, Complexity, and Confusion

If IT decision makers know that their legacy infrastructure brings unwanted baggage full of increased risk, reduced functionality, and even higher maintenance costs, why do they hesitate to upgrade? Usually it’s due to what I call the “three Cs:” cost, complexity, and confusion.

Cost is pretty clear. There’s certainly an upfront cost to buying new infrastructure. But IT admins can make a strong case to their CEOs that the investment brings a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) from reduced support and maintenance costs, lower cooling and power usage, and a smaller data center footprint. Savvy IT admins can also point out how modern infrastructure supports new initiatives that can lead to higher revenue and overall growth for the business.

Complexity and confusion stem from the myriad array of servers, software, converged-infrastructure solutions, and related storage and networking components available. How does an IT decision maker know what servers, solid-state drives (SSDs), and networking components will best meet the needs of their data architects designing machine learning applications? How can she quickly and affordably research, acquire, test, deploy, and tune all the hardware and software components so that they will perform optimally for her company?

Intel Select Solutions to the Rescue

One of the benefits of being a writer at Prowess is that I am constantly exposed to cutting-edge technologies and solutions offered by the companies we partner with. Over the last several months, we’ve helped document a new range of solutions that address the complexity and confusion problems faced by organizations looking to digitally transform their data centers. Collectively, the new offerings are called Intel Select Solutions.

To create these solutions, Intel works with software and hardware partners to come up with an easier way for businesses to upgrade their infrastructures. Intel Select Solutions are the result of that collaboration. Each solution consists of ready-to-deploy infrastructure stacks, verified and workload-optimized for a particular application or use case. Intel and partner solution providers tune the configurations using Intel Xeon Scalable processors and other Intel technologies to help ensure enterprises receive the levels of performance they need for their given workloads.

For example, Intel has partnered with Microsoft to offer several Intel Select Solutions for Windows Server and for SQL Server that are optimized for maximum performance, security, and efficiency:

  • Intel Select Solutions for SQL Server Business Operations
  • Intel Select Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Data Warehouse
  • Intel Select Solutions for Windows Server Software Defined Storage

For each of these Intel Select Solutions, Intel and Microsoft selected the specific Intel Xeon Scalable processor that would offer the ideal price-performance balance for the designated workload. Most Intel Select Solutions also provide a “Plus” configuration beyond the standard “Base” configuration that up-levels the processor and other components for businesses that need top-level performance over cost considerations. Many Intel Select Solutions also include some combination of Intel Optane DC SSDs, offering consistent low latencies for “hot” or “warm” working data, and Intel 3D NAND SSDs, offering fast, affordable storage for “cold” data. Intel Select Solutions also typically include the Intel Ethernet 700 Series as a foundation for server connectivity, because they provide broad interoperability, performance optimizations, and agility for enterprise networks.

No More Excuses to Delay an Upgrade

There are many reasons to upgrade from outdated, siloed, inflexible, and less secure hardware and software in the data center. With Intel Select Solutions, there are fewer reasons to avoid upgrading.

Intel and its partners offer a growing list of tested, verified, and optimized solutions for a growing list of applications and use cases, from HPC, hybrid clouds, and analytics to storage and network transformation. See the full list of solutions at www.intel.com/selectsolutions. And to keep up on other cutting-edge news in technology, follow us on our blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

1 Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “How IT Transformation Maturity Drives IT Agility, Innovation, and Improved Business Outcomes.” April 2017. www.emc.com/collateral/analyst-reports/esg-dellemc-it-transformation-maturity-report.pdf.

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