SAS IT Newsletter August 16

Posted by Ian Hight on Aug 11, 2016 4:25:26 PM

Topics: Cloud services, Development integration & analytics, Hardware & software, Business drivers, Newsletter

Welcome to the SASIT August newsletter

In this issue

Market perceptions - thoughts from our CEO
Simplified back-up arrives in New Zealand thanks to SASIT
Innovative development work boosts iconic kiwi finance company
Further expansion of the SASIT customer facing team
New entertainment platforms herald the emergence of 'Data fabric'
IBM Systems and Infrastructure audit

Market perceptions – thoughts from our CEO

SAS IT CEO Phil.jpgOver the course of a year I attend many events, and talk to vendors, customers, technologists and business managers, and from those meetings and conferences I get a good idea of what people are doing, and wanting to achieve in IT.

The technology industry is constantly changing (nothing new there) causing business disruption and creating opportunities, some of what we are seeing includes: 

  • Growth in the XaaS (Anything-as-a-Service) market which includes applications, platforms and infrastructure delivered remotely. This change is being fuelled by customers’ demands for flexibility and a desire to take advantage of new technologies without major infrastructure and software upgrade costs.  We are seeing a trend from our customers away from purchasing on premise hardware and software to our customers entering into IaaS agreements
  • Despite the rise of global SaaS providers, a majority of our customers have some concerns about their mission critical systems being located offshore and are typically retaining mission critical applications onshore either on premise or running in a private cloud
  • Line of Business – rather than IT – are increasing the number of applications, many of which now live in the Cloud, which in turn is leading to many hybrid environments; a growing challenge is the management of what can easily become islands of data – where over time many versions of the truth exist
  • Security is a topic of growing importance as highlighted in our most recent customer satisfaction survey
  • Customers are starting to adopt a bimodal IT strategy; essentially having two parallel tracks. One track that supports rapid application development to drive digital innovation and one track that focuses on operational stability and application maintenance.
  • The phenomenon of converged infrastructure including the rapid rise to global prominence of numerous start-ups backed by big money venture capitalists

The challenge for many businesses is how to protect the corporate data, whilst at the same time providing a level of flexibility within the business to take advantage of the many opportunities to innovate.

On the home front, whilst the technology landscape changes constantly we remain committed to the same strategy we embarked on many years ago - which is to assist our customers be more successful in their business by developing, integrating and managing mission critical systems. The changes that we have made within the business have been to enhance the integration of our own IaaS with the public Cloud providers to offer that Hybrid environment that provides a lower risk, yet flexible outcome which focuses on “agility”.

To that end we have increased the size, capacity and scope of our own data centre, and expanded the footprint of systems in our shared data centres – and increased the connectivity to public cloud providers, and adapted our services to encompass this hybrid environment.

We do, however, see the move to distributed applications creating more and more disparate islands of information, and as such believe that the integration of these applications and databases will become more important. An example of these islands of information might be where the business has an ERP/financial system with customer data, and sales have a customer database on a Cloud based CRM, with some of the same customer information. Marketing then have their own marketing tools connected to the company web sites using analytics to track customer interaction with their websites – and yet another database of customers. The trick is having a single customer database that feeds information to the various applications – retaining only one version of the truth.

Delivering on that promise is getting harder, and more complex, rather than easier, but I think that is where the value will lie as the deluge of data continues to spiral up.

Whether that is data integration, data analytics, or some other term is largely irrelevant. The ability to provide a single version of the truth will be the most important point.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics raised here with one of our team, please register your interest using the button below.

Click Here

Simplified back-up arrives in New Zealand thanks to SASIT

rubrik_logo.pngAt SASIT we undertake a lot of backups and we know that it can be a frustrating use of time so we are constantly looking for faster and easier ways of doing this essential work. We think we have found something that just might make backing up and restoring enjoyable tasks. Yes, you read that correctly; enjoyable tasks. The solution:  A Rubrik appliance.  Rubrik is a Silicon Valley start-up (well it was just a few years ago) offering a converged and scale-out appliance that does away with all the point products (backup server, backup proxies, replication, accelerators, deduplication, disk storage, tape) that are involved in conventional backup and recovery systems and replaces them with a single appliance. If you have a small environment you can buy one box; if you have a large environment you can buy hundreds of boxes but they still manage a single system.

Conventional backup/recovery can be expensive, fragile, and complex. Rubrik provides Apple-like simplicity with Google-like scale-out.  Rubrik infrastructure also connects to the cloud (AWS, Azure) so you can very easily move your data wherever you want it to be. All your data can simply be searched backward and forward across this hybrid infrastructure.  

Want to know more, then enjoy Rubrik’s unconventional video showing why this technology is rapidly gaining global success.  

Rubrik_video.png

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cnhq294I0M     

If you would like to discuss Rubrik with one of our team please register your interest

Click Here

Innovative development work boosts iconic kiwi finance company  DTR stores nationwide

Thorn Group (DTR) opened its doors in 1962 and have grown to be a substantial finance company with 23 stores nationwide. DTR provide personal loans and finance on a wide range of products including major appliances, furniture and phones. The finance product range covers business and personal customers.

Entrepreneurial in culture, DTR actively deploys technology both to optimise cost efficiency and improve customer experience. For example, following the acquisition of The Appliance Shed in 2013 including four Auckland branches, DTR launched a white label credit card with a full online application and approval process.

In 2014 DTR introduced a new credit scoring system with a plan to progressively replace the previous credit scoring processes. DTR engaged SASIT to create a tablet-based (device agnostic) web application that integrates with the credit scoring engine and the back end finance system running on an IBM i server. The credit scoring engine is a tailored system that integrates with Veda’s credit data. DTR’s driver for the project was the desire to move towards a standard company-wide set of credit rules. This development would enable automatic approval for lower-risk clients and a simpler review process of higher-risk clients.

SASIT assigned a team of three for the initial project, including two senior RPG developers and a .NET programmer. The outcome was a greatly improved user experience, from a green screen look to a mobile app-like experience.

By radically changing the user experience and redesigning the backend process, DTR experienced efficiency gains, enhanced flexibility and crucially, an improved customer experience. DTR has experienced substantial growth post implementation. The integration of the IBM i to the new credit scoring engine web service was the most challenging part of the work and was written in RPG4 by a senior developer.

"For the innovative projects we are launching, we needed specialist developers with multi-layered development skill. They also needed a strong understanding of our business requirements and the ability to interact with our management team. For us, SASIT stood out with their finance industry experience and the depth of their IBM i integration skills. In this multi-faceted project, SASIT delivered our requirements professionally and on time.”
Garry Holton, Finance Director, DTR and Thorn Group Financial Services

Further expansion of the SASIT customer facing team

Simon Murphy  Lyndon Murphy

   Simon Murphy                 Lyndon Padfield

At SASIT we pride ourselves on providing great customer service. Critical to successful engagement is ensuring that our Account Managers are knowledgeable, enthusiastic customer advocates. We are very pleased to welcome Simon and Lyndon to the team.

Simon’s credentials include extensive experience as a solutions architect. His industry experience in NZ and beyond covers the defence/intelligence sectors, systems integration, banking, consulting, and managed service providers - across three nations and as many continents. Simon is focused on high-value, justifiable cloud strategies and technology roadmaps that challenge the status quo.

Lyndon’s focus is assisting our ERP based customers with their digital transformation strategies and efficient operation of mission critical systems. Lyndon has significant ERP application experience having worked for both an Oracle / JDE partner and also INFOR over the last decade. 

These appointments highlight our commitment to not only being a trusted provider of infrastructure but also to provide further value in shaping and developing IT strategy.

New entertainment platforms herald the emergence of 'Data fabric'

By Matt Roberts

As consumers, we have grown accustomed to almost unlimited choice. We can access an ever-expanding list of online services to source content that suits our mood - the content that’s just right. It’s mind boggling, and we love it. The same phenomenon of choice has become the reality when it comes to enterprise IT and the cloud.  A growing variety of cloud services enable enterprises to build hybrid cloud environments almost at the touch of a button.

Ecosystems enable choice

data_fabric.jpgConsider the options when accessing content for entertainment. You can choose from Netflix, Amazon, Neon, and Lightbox. You can choose how it is delivered, terrestrial, satellite or online. Apple TV and Chromecast provide options on where you consume and on what device - truly awe-inspiring.

In an ideal world, one provider could provide it all. Supply all the content we want, when we want it, and at the lowest price. But we know that’s not realistic, everything changes over time. New competitive services will come, those that are too slow adapting may go, but the entertainment ecosystem will continue to thrive.

And so it is with enterprise IT, according to IDC, hybrid clouds will remain the dominant model for the foreseeable future, with 80% of organisations expecting some form of hybrid cloud by the end of this year. At its core, hybrid cloud means combining resources across on-premise data centres and off-premise services i.e. private and public clouds.

Hybrid clouds enable choice

We increasingly hear about IT organisations that have adopted hybrid cloud, but in reality, there is no such thing. There is no single collection of resources that an organisation can purchase and then declare, “we’re done!” Organisations typically start with a simple mix of on-premise, private Infrastructure as a Service and perhaps a public cloud service from one of the Hyperscale providers such as AWS or Microsoft but inevitably, as with the entertainment analogy, things start to change. A new cloud based enterprise service will emerge and the IT organisation will need to identify a way to integrate it quickly, with minimal disruption, while still maintaining service levels and data security.

Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to managing, moving, and protecting data across multiple, dissimilar clouds. A common set of data services that span clouds is foundational for creating hybrid clouds that can be tailored to business needs. This data services layer can be thought of as Data Fabric.

A data fabric provides five key functions to enable the flexible adoption of multiple clouds private and public:

  1. Control: Securely retain control and governance of data regardless of its location: on-premises, near cloud, or in-cloud.
  2. Choice: Choose cloud, application ecosystem, delivery methods, storage platforms, and deployment models with freedom to change.
  3. Integration: Enable the components in every layer of the architectural stack to operate as one while extracting the full value of each component.
  4. Access: Easily get data to where applications need it, when they need it, in a way they can use it
  5. Consistency: Manage data across multiple environments using standard tools and processes regardless of where it resides.

A data fabric helps organisations to respond and innovate more quickly because data is free to be accessed where it is needed. Organisations can seamlessly manage their data across their diverse IT resources, spanning on premise and cloud. IT has the flexibility to choose the right set of resources to meet the needs of their organisation and the freedom to change them whenever they want – just like choosing what you are going to watch tonight.

1 IDC, IDC FutureScape Worldwide Cloud 2016 Predictions, November 4, 2015

Data Fabric: NetApp:  http://netapp.com/datafabric

IBM Systems and Infrastructure Audit

IBM_logo.jpgAre your IBM Power Systems (i and AIX) set up correctly, are they performing as well as they could be, are you aware of your security settings, and who has access to what areas of the system, and are you aware of your vulnerabilities/risks?

If the answer to any of the above is no (or you are not sure) then a Systems and Infrastructure Audit could provide you with the answers – and a whole lot of peace of mind.

We have available some of New Zealand’s most experienced Consultant Engineers.  These technical specialists have in-depth skills in IBM Power Systems technology including infrastructure, performance analysis virtualisation, backup and recovery and systems operations.

If you would like to register your interest in a Power Systems and Infrastructure Audit please register on the button below

GET YOUR AUDIT HERE

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