CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER AND CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
As CIO and CTO for AMERICAN SYSTEMS, Brian Neely leads the overall vision, planning, and management of all technology and information management-related resources throughout the enterprise. Mr. Neely began his career at AMERICAN SYSTEMS in 1996, and has been instrumental in the company’s strategic and operational plans, including acquisition, growth, and sustainable development… supporting thousands of users distributed at hundreds of locations globally.
ExecutiveBiz: What technological advancement do you feel will most significantly impact your business in 2016?
Brian Neely: We are on the verge of becoming a ‘software-defined’ world. Software code has always been the artistic muscle behind the applications that drive productivity, social media, and even business itself, but it has generally been held hostage by the rigid, complex, expensive hardware over which it gets deployed. So what does it mean to be software-defined? It means defining traditional hardware-based services as simply ‘code.’ It is the pure abstraction of functionality, allowing the separation of the concepts that are being developed, from their real-world implementation. It is the complete decoupling of how the underlying infrastructure acts, is managed, and is controlled, from the actual infrastructure itself.
Software Defined Networks (SDN), Storage (SDS), Infrastructure (SDI), Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN), and even complete Data Centers (SDDC) are becoming a reality. With SDx you can define a complete system, an entire system-of-systems, an entire enterprise, with just code. The routing, the switching, the transport, and of course, the security are all defined by code. This evolution is as much a philosophical shift as it is an actual technological event, separating the ‘brains from the brawn,’ and 2016 will represent a tremendous leap forward as decision-makers began to fully recognize this powerful concept.
Huge capital expenditures, with intensive, disruptive deployments based on static architectures will become a relic of the past; the new SDx paradigm will let organizations rapidly deploy flexible, scalable designs riding over inexpensive commodity hardware and circuits. It’s agile, it’s repeatable, and it’s deeply configurable. You can test it, you can change it, and you can even roll it back with high granularity and relative ease. And in an era of rapidly changing business requirements, where speed-to-market is paramount, it’s what’s required to be competitive. SDx even allows organizations to shift to new hardware platforms, pool disparate resources, adjust to price sensitivity, and even change out suppliers with little-to-no disruption.
Just like the shift to the cloud, this new SDx paradigm should cause businesses to reassess how they deploy, manage and use technology. At AMERICAN SYSTEMS, we have consolidated 12 data centers down to just two, and within six months those will both be completely virtualized as well, they will exist entirely in the cloud, and they will be defined entirely as code. We have the ability to recreate an entire complex data center of 100’s of servers, routers, switches, and their associated configurations, protocols, applications and data in just hours… all completely automated, all intelligently provisioned, all through scripting. We have been able to use SDx to consistently deliver higher quality services at a much lower cost, and that’s why we are also beginning to see this shift in approach from many of our Government customers as well. Why not architect a dynamic, adaptable hardware solution that can keep up with the rapid, iterative cadences of modern applications and the demands of today’s agile organizations?
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