Enterprises need to embrace hybrid IT as a stepping stone towards digital transformation. The present era is characterized by new applications and services—for example, mobile computing, social media, and Big Data and analytics, to name a few—which heavily leverage cloud native technologies. At the same time, enterprise IT teams are continuing the legacy application environments such as databases, messaging, and collaboration systems. To efﬁciently and effectively bridge legacy and new environments, CIOs must adopt an IT infrastructure strategy that supports the agility to accommodate different application requirements. In addition, they should rapidly move to a dynamic and evolving business environment.
Is it really that simple? A lot of IT practitioners would say: ‘It is not’.
The challenge is with the management and operations of traditional applications that are designed to support existing business processes such as collaboration, ERP, supply chain and web infrastructure. Along with traditional applications, there is a new breed of applications and services, which drive revenue and new customer experiences by leveraging mobility, Big Data, and cloud native technologies. Both of these applications cannot be ignored.
Although IT wants this to be the new charter for them, it is difﬁcult for them to deliver on these priorities as traditional IT infrastructure is optimized for stability and performance, but not for speed. IT is being stretched in traditional environments to lower operating costs while increasing operational velocity in the new application environment. To help bridge the gap, it would be great if one infrastructure could do both.
What if on-premise infrastructure can imitate the characteristics of a public cloud? More importantly, is it even possible to imitate these characteristics?
Yes, it is possible, and here are the guiding principles that enterprises should follow:
- Bring strong standardization with infrastructure architecture. Essentially, on-premise infrastructure needs to be cloud enabled (highly scalable, automated, and standardized with standardized with software-deﬁned intelligence). Use automation as main efﬁciency driver for cloud-enabled infrastructure
- Strive to achieve high standardization and automation in all Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) components Include the most frequently used Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) components into high standardization and automation along with the IaaS stack
- Proactively embrace pieces of DevOps such as ‘automated environment provisioning’, ‘requirements management’, ‘continuous build / conﬁguration management’, ‘testing automation’, ‘one-touch deployment’, and ‘systems maintenance’ and ‘monitoring solutions’
However, guiding principles alone will not help without a clear understanding of what is actually involved. Enterprises need to modernize their infrastructure in order to deliver an agile and efﬁcient foundation. Hardware abstraction including server, storage, and network virtualization or container technology are core elements to enable a level of infrastructure ﬂexibility which digital future demands. infrastructure in order to deliver an agile and efﬁcient foundation. Hardware abstraction including server, storage, and network virtualization or container technology are core elements to enable a level of infrastructure ﬂexibility, which digital future demands.
Deploying modernized technology is a core part of digital transformation, and there are several routes to infrastructure modernization. These routes are often termed as ‘build’ vs ‘buy’ continuum.
Enterprises should opt for fully conﬁgured, tested, plug-and-play Infrastructure solutions. The pre- engineered stack offers the following beneﬁts:
- Faster-time-to-market: By eliminating the time and cost of design, test, and build with a turnkey approach
- Plug-and-play: Achieving beneﬁts more swiftly with rapid deployment
The latest generation of enterprise platforms are designed and imbibed with the guiding principles of being cloud-enabled. We, now, see a new class of enterprise platforms termed as Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI), which can increase IT efﬁciencies for traditional applications and enable continuous service delivery for modern applications. HCI can accelerate application development cycles and allow companies to be more agile in leveraging IT resources whenever needed.
Today, enterprises have an option that brings the agility and ease of scalability of the public cloud along with the operational efﬁciencies that IT has been desiring since long. The bigger truth is infrastructure modernization is the ﬁrst step in the digital transformation journey that enterprises simply can’t ignore.
It is time to act fast, and there is a new deﬁnition of being faster. It is time for enterprise IT to view digital transformation from the infrastructure lens. An all-inclusive view of business goals, underlying infrastructure, and supporting IT capabilities will enable them to take the right path towards the successful digital transformation.