• StrataFusion

Four Key Steps for Agile Infrastructure

We’ve seen a lot of tech trends take shape over the past 18 months. Keeping a close eye on how infrastructure is impacted, it’s been interesting to listen to technology executives sharing that the cloud is not an infrastructure omni solution. To balance agility, cost and control, a hybrid solution is required.

Most technology leaders agree that a cloud-based infrastructure brings the agility needed to adapt faster to market conditions and explore new options quicker, with lower cost and risk. What is often forgotten is that the financial expenditure category (e.g. OPEX for cloud, CAPEX for in-house) can play an important role in the decision-making process as to where to host a certain workload.

Hybrid cloud trend continues to gain momentum

The benefits of running compute and storage services in-house are often underappreciated. For example, a finely tuned yet dynamic in-house environment may allow your teams to develop more complex solutions faster. Therefore, it’s crucial for tech leaders to decide the level of commitment and control they need first. The more benefits you get from being able to make a longer commitment to the workload and/or the more control you can assert to achieve higher efficiencies, the closer to home you should have the compute and storage.

And investment continues. IDC is forecasting cloud infrastructure spending to grow 12% to $74.3 billion for 2021, while non-cloud infrastructure is expected to grow 2.7% to $58.9 billion after two years of declines.

As always, the right path depends on the unique needs of a company, as well as the marketplace itself. A successful hybrid approach addresses the following challenges:

  1. ARCHITECTURE: To be agile in a fast-changing landscape, CIOs and tech leaders should consider leveraging hyperconverged and dynamic compute, storage and network technologies to deliver service-oriented applications where possible. This requires a high level of visibility combined with highly optimized and automated deployment processes. A robust architecture management platform will help address the operational aspects of availability, security, performance, economics and change (ASPECs). In today’s business climate, many cloud originated technologies and practices can be transposed onto “on-prem” compute and storage.

  2. ORGANIZATION: Culture is foundational to the success of our next generation infrastructure operations capabilities. How teams manage chaos, embrace change, or are able to rapidly recover (instead of trying to prevent every possible disaster scenario) determines a positive outcome. This is where leaders should invest in cloud skills, even if still primarily on-prem, as well as organize around the common shared services (e.g. SSO, database, storage, compute etc.) that go across the domain specific business requirements.

  3. PROCESS: Devops and ITIL are, in essence, different sides of the same coin. Managing IT activities and assets still centers around good process and workflows -- automated or embedded in the application, or not. Continually improving these is critical as the ongoing digital transformations continue to change the landscape. So, embrace SRE, agile and other technology centric approaches. Leaders should look at automating as much as possible because it drives standardization and speed. But don’t forget an automated bad process is still a bad process, only faster.

  4. ROADMAP: Agile infrastructure requires a plan. Below are the 3 key phases that will create a continuous improvement loop.

  • Visibility: You can’t manage or improve what you don’t know. Invest in finding out what you have and how the system interacts internally and externally.

  • Measure: Define the metrics that matter. In SRE they are SLOs that measure the customer experience. Failure to meet the SLO must have consequences. Not the monetary kind but an action that moves the metric toward a better value.

  • Control: Develop the technologies, methods and skills to be able to drive the key metrics in the desired directions.

Your IT Infrastructure will be a competitive advantage when you are able to solve business problems quickly, have the controls to manage investments efficiently, and map a path that provides data-informed insights to all corners of the business.

Learn more about cloud infrastructure challenges and how you can overcome them. Contact Edward Wustenhoff to get started!