Inside Track: Future proofed
Invest in haste, repent at leisure. That seems to be the case for those looking to futureproof their investment in IT infrastructure, because the company that spends extensively on on-site infrastructure is making a bet on the future that could seem foolish in coming years.
From intelligent networks and context aware applications to everything-as-a-service and the Internet of Things (IoT), we are in a particularly disrupted time for IT infrastructure. But business doesn’t stop while competing methodologies battle it out, so what should you do if you need to beef up your infrastructure but don’t know where to place your bet?
According to Brian Jordan of Cisco, there are three trends emerging in the market that feed into this question — evolution of the application, workload location and self-provisioning by the business.
“Traditional applications are very singular — they stand alone — and instead of that we’re seeing applications become less monolithic, more mobile and definitely more scalable. We’re seeing technology such as micro services appear; it’s now a big trend to find people developing applications as micro services,” said Jordan.
Jordan works with Cisco’s data centre and industry solutions sales department and the second trend he identifies is that of workload location. Companies are faced with the choice of where to place their workloads in the cloud and that choice is likely to have long lasting consequences, not the least of which will be how easy it will be to move those workloads as new services become available.
“As everybody knows now there is a choice of putting your application in either a private cloud or some kind of managed private cloud or even the public cloud, so choice of location has become a big issue. At the same time, the third trend is that of people in the business requesting infrastructure directly and that represents a big change,” he said.
“The business now wants to have the best it possibly can in terms of speed to market and it has come to expect that.”
Test of time
These three trends will play a role in whether the investment that companies make today will likely stand the test of time. Meanwhile Cisco has started using a four-stage methodology to help customers assess the durability of their IT investment. Called the ASAP method, this stands for analyse, simplify, automate and protect.
“These are the four characteristics I think companies need to look at to futureproof their infrastructure and make sure they’re ready for change. Analyse means to take a good hard look at what you’ve got, and how appropriate it is for your needs,” said Jordan.
“Infrastructure analytics is based on the reasoning that you can’t protect what you cannot see and all of the security tools that have been in the industry up to now have attempted to look at what’s going in in the network but they paint an incomplete picture.”