February 17, 2017

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Software Defined Infrastructure Sets a Wave of Transformation

Most of us love reading about technology and its impact on organizations. One thing which is common among great technological inventions or disruptions is that all of them have touched our lives somewhere and have changed it for better.

Be it smartphones, internet revolution or digitalization - they have impacted our lives in a certain way.  For any technology to be considered as a great one, it should have a meaningful influence (directly or indirectly) on society.

A key disruption in the IT world today is the Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI), enabling control center shift to software, beyond hardware. Simply put, our desktops and laptops have always been software defined where we have enjoyed the freedom of choosing our own operating system and defining the way of working rather than the underlying hardware deciding it for us. On the other hand, Enterprise IT infrastructure expands beyond end user systems and carries the concept of hardware centric intelligence in networks, storage and its associate gear. It is this dependence on hardware that largely limits the agility of the infrastructure.

If we go through analysts’ reports and evaluate the CXO demand patterns of IT services, they predominantly revolve around agility, flexible consumption and as-a-service models. These reasons have made Cloud Computing a success; however, for workloads not suitable for public cloud, CXOs have considered SDI to be a suitable equivalent ensuring same levels of agility.

However, just deploying Software Defined Infrastructure in premise will not ensure tangible outcomes or benefits:

Just deploying #SDI in premise will not ensure tangible outcomes or benefits

SDI - A Cultural Change

Buying new software and discarding the legacy hardware infrastructure will  simply solve the technology refresh challenge and is unlikely to yield tangible results.

Identifying the right skillsets and processes are important to run SDI infrastructure. Automation is an integral part of SDI infrastructure but before an activity is automated, the process associated with the IT service needs to be understood in detail. This change requires new skill sets and a shift in culture to work together.

A broken process remains unchanged regardless of automation as understanding the existing challenges and their mitigation is of greater importance than jumping on to the automation bandwagon. Software Defined Infrastructure is an emerging technology with no clear cut leaders and hence it involves unknown risks. This is a major reason why it is prudent to work with a technology partner who can assist in the journey. Before SDI is adopted, in addition to thorough analysis of workforce skillsets, existing processes and current technology landscapes should be measured, in order to see what additional alterations are required immediately, along with technology change. SDI infrastructure adoption should be supplemented by long term changes that will empower organizations to overcome the fear of the unknown and reap real benefits of the new model