Rene Buest, Director of Technology Research at Arago

Recently I met with Rene Buest, director of Technology Research at Arago, during Cloud Expo in Frankfurt. Based on his experience, I wanted to find out if artificial intelligence (AI) is eating the data infrastructure.

 

In the last few months, I’ve read a few articles about the impact of AI on the software world, with provocative titles like AI Is Eating Software. As an employee of an infrastructure and data management company, I wanted to understand what AI means for data infrastructure and what kind of impact this exciting technology will have on the future of IT. I asked Rene four questions to get his take on the subject.

Who is Arago? What is Arago’s business proposition?

Rene Buest: Arago is an AI company. Since it was founded in 1995, Arago has been a pioneer in AI engineering. We are building an AI platform focused on the B2B sector. Our AI platform uses machine reasoning and analytical components to improve organizations’ efficiency and innovation. Arago’s HIRO is built to automate any process inside an organization, from enterprise IT up to business operations. With our approach to intelligent IT and business operations automation, a machine with human problem-solving skills is taught by the experts, so the actual humans can turn their attention to innovation.

Many big industry names are saying that AI is eating software. Is AI also eating the hardware?

Rene Buest: Perhaps a better way of looking at this one is to ask: Is AI eating IT admins? And the answer is yes and no. Yes, AI is going to transform the jobs of today’s IT admins, because AI is going to automate a lot of tasks that have been done manually in the past. As an example, finding an anomaly in a multitude of log files is something that an AI system can do better and faster than a human administrator. However, IT admins will be able to focus on tasks that are more valuable for the business. Instead of just keeping the lights on, IT professionals will be designing new solutions, looking into new trends, and bringing creative technical approaches into the business world. This is certainly a positive development.

What is the impact of AI on traditional infrastructure? How about on data?

Rene Buest: The next-generation infrastructure needs to be more autonomous, in order to support AI – I’m talking about an AI-defined Infrastructure. Serverless infrastructure and containers, for example, are two of the technologies that it is imperative to make ”AI-ready.” With regard to data, AI does not only need a large quantity of data, it also requires data of adequate quality. Good-quality data is necessary to build a process in an AI system, as is the experience of specialists. Without the right data and expertise, AI cannot reliably learn and, ultimately, act autonomously in the most positive way.

How can enterprises and IT organizations prepare themselves to have an AI-ready data infrastructure?

Rene Buest: It’s very easy. First of all, an organization needs to accept a continuous data flow as a foundation for its future strategies. This includes getting rid of data silos, which means that organizations need to invest in open systems and open APIs. AI needs easy and secure access to data, independent of its location and format. Once this access is ensured, AI then needs to be implemented to automate IT operations, because every single piece of data that exists or is created in an organization ends up being stored in the IT environment. Later, this approach can be expanded to other business processes by using knowledge of the organization gathered through IT automation , ultimately making more processes autonomous. Eventually, an organization could think about data-driven processes by using data, knowledge, experience, and AI to generate outcome-based processes like new business models, services, or products. This is the execution path to an AI-enabled enterprise.

 

Summarizing this interview, I can say that AI is not “eating” data infrastructure. Instead, in order to deliver future-proof AI, organizations first need an open and agile infrastructure.

 

Thanks to Rene for taking the time to speak with us at the show. In my next blog post, I will share another take on the history of AI, with Rene’s insight. Stay tuned!

Christian Lorentz

Christian has held a variety of positions as System Engineer, Consultant, Product Marketing Manager and Product Manager for Digital Equipment, Chipcom, Cisco Systems and Riverbed. Christian joined NetApp in 2015, as Sr Product and Solution Marketing Manager for EMEA , and has over 20 years’ experience in the networking and storage arena.