A Real-Life Digital Transformation Story: From Traditional to Hybrid IT

Digital transformation is changing all aspects of our lives

Every day we rely on digital technology to give us more and more information. It is increasingly pervasive, from the cars we drive and homes we live in to how we shop and work in offices – just about everything is being tracked and turned into data.

It’s not just businesses that are capturing data to become more competitive. All types of organizations are using digital technology to harness the value of data to improve and better differentiate services they provide to their customers.

How to modernize a traditional IT infrastructure

I recently talked to an IT leader at a state’s department of transportation (DoT), a government agency in the midst of its own digital transformation. The agency supports more than 20,000 miles of highways, 3,000 bridges, the largest ferry system in the United States, along with airports and railroads.

The IT leader needed to modernize their IT infrastructure to ensure that his geographically dispersed IT facilities across the state had more compute power and availability. He was also given the mandate to reduce the IT budget and decrease power consumption. And the business demands didn’t stop there.

Along with providing basic IT services to keep everything running smoothly, the DoT was starting to explore new ways for residents to gain easy access to real time data the department was capturing, which is a key goal of any digital transformation. For example, the DoT provides a service that lets residents access their website to view real-time images of roadways. Pictures are taken by cameras and updated on their site about every 5 minutes. During normal weather days, the website has plenty of compute resources to handle these needs.

But during major traffic or weather events, the number of people that access their site peaks, often taking up to 70% of the bandwidth. When this type of bandwidth overload happens, the application has the capability to burst to the public cloud. When the event is over, the application returns to the DoT’s on-premises IT infrastructure.

Because of strict budget restrictions, running all of their workloads in the public cloud on a regular basis was cost-prohibitive. The DoT needed a hybrid IT infrastructure solution where workloads could run on premises using traditional IT or in a private cloud, which allowed them to work within their budget. And then during peak demand, they could utilize the public cloud for extra capacity.

Planning and implementing a hybrid IT strategy

Although a hybrid IT environment became the ideal solution for this DoT, it didn’t come without challenges. Planning and implementing a hybrid IT infrastructure is complex. IT must integrate different environments, systems, software and applications – and put everything together so it all works seamlessly.

To determine the best way to modernize and transform their data center, the DoT’s IT leader turned to HPE Pointnext, a trusted partner and industry expert with the knowledge and resources to meet the DoT’s unique needs. Together, they developed a plan that would not only meet the state’s IT transportation needs today, but would ensure a clear roadmap for future growth and adjustment.

Become more agile with infrastructure that doesn’t hold you back

When the DoT’s IT leader heard about a new technology called composable infrastructure, he was eager to learn more and soon realized that it allowed him to manage all of his data-center assets through a pool of resources controlled by software. After a successful installation of composable infrastructure, he found that he was able to boost bandwidth of IT resources up to 400%, improve performance, and increase redundancy for more secure IT operations.

An exciting aspect about composable infrastructure was that it allowed the IT leader to begin building an on-premises private cloud. His team could now share resources across different platforms and manage everything through software, which simplified processes and gave them more flexibility.

This type of hybrid IT delivers the cloud-like agility the DoT needed without breaking their budget. A private cloud running on premises meets their everyday needs without having to overspend on CapEx just to be prepared for peak demand during a weather or traffic event. When such events occur, they can easily burst to the public cloud, saving money on OpEx because the DoT only pays for what they need in the public cloud when they need it. But more importantly, this department was able to keep their customers happy with a continuous feed of real time roadway data, allowing motorists to make better decisions on when to travel and ultimately increasing transportation safety across the state.

What’s next to simplify hybrid IT?

The IT team at this government agency continues to work with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to plan for the future. The DoT still needs a comprehensive platform to be able to easily manage their hybrid IT infrastructure—both on premises and in the public cloud.

HPE recently announced HPE OneSphere, the industry’s first multi-cloud management solution, which will help organizations better manage hybrid IT. Through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) portal, HPE OneSphere gives customers access to a pool of IT resources that spans the public cloud services they subscribe to, as well as their on-premises environments. Using this new tool, organizations are able to seamlessly compose, operate, and optimize all workloads across on-premises, private, hosted, and public clouds. HPE OneSphere also provides dashboards based on different user roles that offer business analytics. HPE OneSphere is designed for IT operations, developers, and business executives seeking to build clouds, deploy applications, and gain insights faster.

About Gary Thome

Gary Thome is the Vice President and Chief Technologist for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is responsible for the technical and architectural directions of converged datacenter products and technologies including HPE Synergy. HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in their digital transformation. Learn about HPE’s approach to managing hybrid IT by checking out the HPE website, HPE OneSphere. And to find out how HPE can help you determine a workload placement strategy that meets your service level agreements, visit HPE Pointnext.

To read more articles from Gary, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.