The rise of the digital economy is driving rapid and fundamental changes in businesses and their operating models. In this new era, business success will increasingly revolve around a company’s mastery of digital technologies – from consumer applications to the IoT and beyond. At the heart of this transformation is digitalisation.
Spurred on by the ease of use of on-demand resources provided by public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS), business leaders and software developers are demanding “consumer-ready” access to IT resources. If they can’t get their needs met in a timely manner, they are likely to bypass standard IT procurement processes and turn to the public cloud for quick, easy access to the sought-after services.
In this new, faster-paced business climate, IT needs to up its game to accelerate development and delivery of applications and enable faster time to market for the business while supporting a complex, heterogeneous, multi-cloud environment
Data Centre Challenges
Typically IT is hindered by economic and operational challenges. On the economic side, IT has to find ways to meet the new demands of the business with flat or decreasing budgets. At an operational level, IT is bogged down by sluggish manual processes, rigid technology siloes, and ingrained inefficiencies that come with legacy infrastructure.
Many IT organisations have enhanced some aspects of the delivery of IT infrastructure to development and production groups using scripts, configuration management tools, and manual effort. The virtualisation of compute and storage and new management tools have enabled a level of automation and more efficient IT operations, but significant barriers still block the truly agile IT organisation. In particular, the provisioning of network and security services is still carried out with predominantly time-consuming manual processes that are distributed across multiple teams and involve multiple handoffs.
It all adds up to a bottleneck that slows the delivery of IT resources and the rollout of new business services. Any speed and agility gained with compute and storage virtualisation and automated provisioning and management are nullified, at least in part, by the manual provisioning required for a hardware-based network. These challenges drive the need for a fundamentally new approach to the delivery of IT services.
Automation is key to IT responsiveness
Without it, there is too much manual intervention required to provision, manage, and maintain a data centre filled with an ever-evolving mix of servers, storage systems, and networking devices.
While initial automation steps are helpful, they don’t solve the overarching challenges. The greatest benefits stem from end-to-end automation. This approach starts with the virtualisation of compute, storage, and networking resources, where control is abstracted from the hardware, and evolves to a Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC), where just about everything happens in software.
Most companies have virtualised their compute and storage environments but many lag behind on virtualisation of the network and associated security services. In this next step, the network and security services that occur in the physical infrastructure are decoupled from the infrastructure and abstracted into the data centre virtualisation layer. All services are then managed in software.
From an agility standpoint, network virtualisation is a lot like server virtualisation. You achieve the same automated operational model as with virtual machines and realise many of the same benefits. You can produce a unique virtual network in seconds, and then programmatically create, move, copy, delete, and restore virtual networks as needed, without reconfiguring the underlying physical hardware or topology.
Embrace an approach that fully automates the delivery and management of infrastructure and applications, and you are positioned to accelerate service delivery and respond faster to the dynamic needs of a digital business. Automation helps eliminate bottlenecks across the IT service lifecycle, reduce rework due to errors in the provisioning process, and increase security.
We partner with VMWare to help organisations establish a software-defined environment of natively integrated compute, storage, and network virtualisation technologies with automation and management, to support any workload from traditional enterprise applications to modern cloud-native applications.
‘Speed and Agility with Automation’ taken from the VMWare whitepaper ‘A Practical Guide for Automating IT’.