(This is a continuation of a previous blog)
Although Zemeckis fell short of predicting how a smartphone would transform day to day interactions in the movie Back to the Future II, he did manage to pick up on the prominence of mobile devices and the current wave of wearables. In various scenes throughout the movie, we see interesting technology that looks vaguely familiar to Apple Pay and Google Glass.
This shift to mobile consumption has done more than relegated to humble PC to the back of the line, it has fundamentally changed the way we build applications for these platforms and the architecture of the infrastructure that supports them prompting my next prediction;
#4 - The mobility explosion will prompt supporting information infrastructure to be more data-driven.
Asia Pacific is already the world largest mobile region, with analysis showing 1.7 billion unique subscribers in 2013 making it half of the global connected population with another 750 million to come over the next 5 years. The launch of high-speed LTE and 4G services across the region are unshackling users from notoriously poor mobile internet coverage and super charging bandwidth.
The ubiquity of mobile networks coupled with the fact social media platforms are becoming the “new OS” are giving rise to new ways to engage perspective customers. Targeting consumers with individualised offers based on an increased understanding of their preferences, relationships and location is now the aim of the game. The trend is clear, out of the 597 million active users of social media across China in 2013, 38% based their buying decisions on recommendations on others comments online.
Here in Asia, this transformation is already well under way. We have seen the popularity of services like YAY in India, LINE in Japan, KakaoTalk in South Korea and WeChat in China introducing new ways to book taxi's, buy products online and even apply for micro loans.
In this hyper-connected ecosystem, building mobile applications with PaaS (ie. CloudFoundry, Azure, OpenShift and Hadoop) can not only accelerate the development cycle but bake in real-time decision making and machine learning very easily. Furthermore deploying them on the cloud gives them unprecedented scale and agility, but there are other factors to consider.
Today's applications are being re-platformed, replaced or in the case of agile practices being evolved faster than ever before to keep up with consumers expectations and competitors. As organisations seek to find new channels, extract greater business value and monetize their information, they need to think about how to manage the most precious asset - the data! And lets face it, it all about the data.
So how do we build application and infrastructure architectures that are data driven?
The obvious place to start is making sure the data you need is available. Availability goes beyond uptime, with the vast majority of data needing to be analysed being the unstructured type, it's important that access is universal, permissions are protected and fast enough to be responsive. This is why many organisations have turned to object storage platforms.
The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) not only provides multiple modes of access but features extensible meta data and REST API’s to enable linkages to the other data sets. To ensure isolation and access authentication, HCP features secure multi-tenancy of applications and plugs into LDAP's and security services like OpenStack's Keystone. Recall of data is critical, with this study suggesting almost half of users would stay clear of an app if they experienced performance problems. HCP's support for different storage classes and tiering capabilities for hybrid cloud ensures data is sitting in the appropriate place for the access profile. This is especially important when doing analytics on large data sets.
In an all mobile world, access of this data can be from virtually anywhere, crossing not only metropolitan boundaries but continental ones too. Therefore, extending these attributes intelligently outside the four walls of the data center not only automates arduous tasks like data movement, but introduces elastic scale to your content by easily making data services consistent to deploy.
The Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) works together with HCP to effectively provide an access gateway for remote and branch locations, as well as being a data on-ramp to the cloud thereby removing the need for data locality from the application. Similarly, HCP Anywhere is another snap-on to the HCP suite offering file sync and share capabilities over wireless networks.
The strength of Hitachi's Content and Mobility portfolio has always been the tight integration between all these modes of mobility. Whether consuming data inside a captive data center, across multiple locations or geographies, or on consumer mobile devices, the access and data management policies are the same. You can even choose how to deploy it, either as an appliance or as software on the cloud. For more details of the recent enhancements to the products and portfolio, read here.
Back in December, IDC ranked HCP firmly in leaders quadrant of their MarketScape on Object-based Storage Platforms saying HCP addresses many scenarios "customers are looking to accomplish in the areas of hybrid cloud and workforce mobility while retaining visibility and control over their digital assets".
In closing, whether you are building a data-driven experience for your employees or customers, not all infrastructure is created equal for serving this type of workload so choose wisely.