Digitalizing for the Future: The Infrastructure and Operations Roadmap

How CIOs and I&O leaders can prepare for a future of AI, IoT and integrated solutions.

With the commoditization of hardware, the capabilities of cloud offerings and the demands to increase agility, CIOs and infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders are expanding their footprints in the data center and are leveraging technologies such as automation, hybrid cloud and containers to drive digital transformation. This is easier said than done.

I&O teams should consider implementing automation and orchestration to maximize agility

“IT will be increasingly tasked with supporting complex, distributed applications using new technology across various platforms. Successful organizations navigate this change by expanding existing skill sets and collaborating with other teams in the IT organization,” says Simon Richard, director at Gartner.  

Although there is no secret recipe or playbook, Gartner has uncovered best practices IT leaders and the teams they lead need to embrace to make the digital transition successful.

Aggressive implementation

I&O teams should consider implementing automation and orchestration to maximize agility. In particular, the democratization of infrastructure APIs is creating an opportunity for IT professionals to take a pragmatic approach to infrastructure management.

As early as possible, design for software-defined, API-driven infrastructure,” says Richard. “New products and services should all allow for automation from a new generation of management tools. Start applying orchestration in the context of application provisioning where possible instead of automating components without context.”

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Containers, containers, containers

Containers are being used in both legacy and cloud-native applications. Adopting the collaborative principles of DevOps can ensure a successful deployment of containerized workloads. Lack of communication and collaboration between teams can spell disaster for a containerization project. In many ways, containers make DevOps easier by providing a technology framework that is consistent with the DevOps methodology, and thus a natural fit.

Read more: 8 Steps to Get DevOps Right

Upskill the team

I&O responsibilities need to expand to include the use of new tools and new processes. Cloud-based operations, including protection, backup and recovery of data, are examples of where I&O teams can take the lead. Assuming that cloud workloads will manage themselves is a false premise.  

Setting priorities based on specific business needs and creating a framework for execution is key

I&O teams also need to begin thinking more like development teams. They should consider the impact of new architectures such as cloud, containers and microservices while managing the operating environment.

“Legacy I&O practices and data center architectures are not sufficient to meet the demands of the digital business,” says Richard. “Setting priorities based on specific business needs and creating a framework for execution is key.”

Gartner clients can read more in “2018 Planning Guide for Infrastructure and Operations,” by Simon Richard.

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