Conventional wisdom tells us that it is a good thing to have options. For infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals, this means deciding what “hybrid” means for their given environment and adjusting their mindset to adapt to the changing world of IT. Perhaps it is an on-premises data center, a single server in a colocation or some combination of the two.
I&O is in the most disruptive period of all time
“I&O is in the most disruptive period of all time,” says Gregory Murray, research director at Gartner. “Agility and responsiveness are surpassing cost as justification for cloud adoption, automation and data center modernization. The future for I&O professionals is as brokers of resources and services across providers and environments.”
Murray identifies six steps necessary to transform and adapt infrastructure and operations for a hybrid era.
Step 1: Adopt cloud services
I&O teams must embrace cloud to achieve modernization in a hybrid world. “Successful public cloud adoption requires that organizations both design a public cloud strategy and establish a public cloud adoption framework,” Murray says. “Organizations will be more successful if they implement a process for assessing applications, selecting providers, identifying and mitigating risks, understanding costs and creating a management strategy.”
Step 2: Modernize your infrastructure
Begin the modernization process by building an infrastructure foundation that swiftly delivers services across a suite of environments and providers. The key is to enable automation at all levels of the stack — infrastructure provisioning and automation, virtual machine and container orchestration, and the deployment of application development environments. “Once this is in place, you have an API-driven platform that can now be optimized,” explains Murray.
Given our increasingly hybrid world, workloads may run across multiple environments
Step 3: Optimize workloads
Given our increasingly hybrid world, workloads may run across multiple environments. In order to optimize workload placement, I&O leaders must assess both application placement and architect workload placement. “To determine which applications are ready for the cloud, look for major obstacles such as loss of brand, productivity, compliance and customer privacy to differentiate between critical applications and nonstarters,” Murray says.
Step 4: Enable hybrid integration
Since cloud first does not necessarily translate to cloud always, nearly every enterprise is running some form of hybrid environment. I&O teams should start by clarifying what “hybrid” means for their environment in order to establish connectivity, protect data and create uniform, modern operations.
“Only after connectivity and identity are established across environments can I&O teams begin to create and leverage higher-level forms of hybrid to further modernize their data centers,” Murray says.
Step 5: Automate and govern
Modern I&O is using automation to deliver disruptive agility and ensure policy enforcement across hybrid environments. Successfully applying automation and governance requires defining such policies, evaluating the utility of DevOps and considering broker services.
Establishing effective yet unrestrictive governance requires a balance between the people, the processes and the tools
Establishing effective yet unrestrictive governance requires a balance between the people, the processes and the tools. “If your operations team is unable to keep up with the pace of agile development teams, it is time to evaluate DevOps. Likewise, becoming the preferred broker of both internal and external services through a service catalog is foundational to eliminating the need for shadow IT and improving governance,” Murray explains.
Step 6: Operate and protect
Modern IT organizations need to ensure that systems are always accessible across all providers and environments. As organizations modernize their operations, maintaining availability and avoiding downtime become especially critical. This can be done through the creation and continuous testing of a disaster recovery plan.
I&O teams should continually assess and integrate tools that automate end-to-end workflows over time
This step also requires evolving operations tools. In a hybrid environment, the nature of IT operations management tools will mature. As a result, I&O teams should continually assess and integrate tools that automate end-to-end workflows over time.
“Once automation and controls are in place, establish comprehensive monitoring across all applications and their supporting infrastructure to enable proactive and automated responses,” Murray says.