Infrastructure is kind of like the vertebrae in mammals, it’s foundational, without it nothing would get done. Today, technology powers business, and infrastructure is the foundation of technology. Without it, all the network and communication systems, the servers, and the software running inside the system wouldn’t function.
For businesses that have been around for a decade or two, their IT infrastructure will probably be a hodgepodge of systems bolted together over the years. Additions would have been made when needed, but rarely is there an overarching architectural philosophy that holds the system all together. This means the business can easily be faced with connectivity, productivity, and security issues. The good news: help is on the way. The products that have hit the market over the past few years, along with the cloud and AI revolution, have focused on making a company’s infrastructure as connected, productive, and secure as possible.
The following are seven IT infrastructure strategies that will help tech leaders run their most optimized system environments.
Gartner invented the term “AIOps” to describe a system “to get multiple data sources into one platform and apply multiple analytical technologies to that data in an automated fashion to discover the relationships and patterns that lie undiscovered in previously isolated data.” An AIOps tool collects and analyzes data, performs real-time analysis on mass quantities of this data then infers a probable root cause, helping to speed up problem discovery and resolution in IT operations.
AIOps uses descriptive and diagnostic analytics to analyze past system problems and then acts proactively with predictive and prescriptive analytics to fix current and even, potentially, upcoming operational problems. AIOps is one of the most important technologies for today’s IT operations department as it can effectively help a system self-heal.
For Gartner, “Anywhere Operations refers to an IT operating model designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure.” Anywhere operations take into account that 48% of employees are expected to work from home once COVID-19 has been contained, compared with the expected 30% pre-pandemic.
This shift places a huge burden on IT departments to develop flexible and resilient organizations that ensure the work at home experience differs little different from a work in the office experience. Anywhere operations require technologies like cloud computing, serverless computing, edge computing, IoT, and 5G, and Gartner believe it falls into the following five building blocks:
- Collaboration and productivity
- Secure remote access
- Cloud and edge infrastructure
- Quantification of the digital experience
- Automation to support remote functions
Artificial Intelligence-Defined Infrastructure
An Artificial Intelligence defined Infrastructure (ADI) is an intelligent system that after, being supplied with external information, is allowed to make decisions autonomously without any human intervention. ADI enriches software-defined infrastructure (SDI), which is limited to static code and is unable to learn about its environment or operating system. ADI adds AI and machine learning to an SDI, imbuing it with intelligence that allows it to build and run a self-learning and self-healing infrastructure environment.
AI-defined IT infrastructure environments can deploy any workload resource or resources that might be needed or it can reduce the workload where appropriate. It can continuously analyze the ever-changing behavior of an infrastructure component in a predictive asset maintenance way, thus learning about its system.
Unlike typical automation software, like RPA, an AI-defined infrastructure solution doesn’t work on predefined scripts, it trains on a company’s existing knowledge base, learning about its system as it goes, then automatically monitoring and analyzing all responding components in real-time to identify and solve any problem arising. The more incidents solved, the bigger the deeper the infrastructure knowledge the system retains.
IT Asset Inventory
An IT asset inventory identifies a company’s current infrastructure and management state, including a list of all physical and virtual data centers, computer rooms, hosted data centers, as well as cloud environments. Other hardware, like utility, networking, telecommunication, and infrastructure equipment, along with software, contract leases, maintenance agreements, as well as a full accounting of IT personnel is included.
An IT asset inventory helps companies understand what assets they have, which in turn, can be useful in building an IT strategy as the inventory provides information about what items need to be incorporated, replaced, or maybe even purchased to fulfill a particular strategy. It is also extremely useful to understand costs and budgets associated with IT.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a cloud-based computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the public internet. IaaS is a pay-as-you-go service and can quickly scales up and down upon demand. Like other software as a service product, it helps companies avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing their own physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure.
Each resource, including hardware, software, or networking equipment is offered as a separate service component, and some systems can be rented by the minute. The cloud service provider manages the infrastructure, handles the maintenance, while the users installs, configures, and manages their own operating systems, middleware, and applications.
Cloud infrastructure is becoming less siloed, container-wrapped workloads are becoming much more portable and data streams are more mobile than ever. An Omnicloud lets a company deploy, manage, and run applications from anywhere while delivering wider coverage, greater flexibility, and limited latency to serve end-users around the globe.
Because of today’s sophisticated orchestration programs, it doesn’t matter what kind of infrastructure a system runs on, what concerns a CTO is finding the most effective and cheapest distribution for a company’s application workloads. Going with one provider is rarely the most cost-effective or operationally efficient way, so cloud providers figured out a way to give users the best of both worlds.
Google has its Anthos-powered BigQuery Omni for Multi-Cloud Analytics, which lets users analyze their data from a single pane of glass across Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure. The other cloud providers have similar offerings. The bottom line for them all is that omnicloud is about connecting applications and audiences in the best possible and most cost-effective way.
In December 2018, Gartner claimed serverless computing was one of its ten computing trends in infrastructure and operations. Serverless computing integrates the capabilities of Backend as a Service (BaaS), handling all system infrastructure management as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) costs while letting clients build, develop, and deploy systems and applications without worrying about hardware and software requirements. Users can focus on creating applications above all else.
Serverless computing provides excellent portability and takes an event-driven approach to data that should give companies more control over their infrastructure spending, as well as help them reduce their operating and maintenance expenses.
Putting it all Together
An IT strategy defines a company’s IT vision as well as provides a roadmap for using IT to create organizational value. Optimized infrastructure can provide a business with high-performance storage, a low-latency network, unsiloed data, data virtualization and visualization, tight security, and zero downtime.
Not easy things to achieve but easily more achievable with the seven IT infrastructure strategies mentioned above. Infrastructure is the foundation of every business that relies on technology, which is almost any business today. “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation,” said the American religious leader Gordon B. Hinckley and the same goes for a great system operation.