Coming out of AWS Re:invent and HPE Discover, I'm reminded of the reality of the enterprise data center in 2017. The sheer amount of legacy monolithic applications ensures that the underlying infrastructure will exist for years to come.
Concurrently, new applications and business processes rely heavily on cloud services. The two environments are destined to coexist within most enterprise data centers. Here are three areas to focus on in 2017 to support a successful strategy for hybrid infrastructures.
Networking is a fundamental enabler of hybrid infrastructures. The explosion of cloud services and IoT pose new challenges to enterprise networking. Network architects face an ever-shifting network edge. In traditional corporate network environments, the network edge rules are rigid. Users and data existed on-premises, and the physical edge of the network correlated with the logical boundary.
The physical correlation simplified the management and security of enterprise workloads. However, the hybrid infrastructure destroys the traditional physical boundaries. Cloud-based workloads potentially exist in any physical location with a cloud provider's infrastructure. Also, cloud provider networks eliminate concepts such as multicast. Network engineers must understand how to secure, and support, cloud-based workloads and processes. A significant amount of time spent understanding physical connectivity to cloud providers should be a focus as well.
Data center orchestration is sometimes confused with data center automation. Automation supports orchestration, but isn't the same technical goal as orchestration. In hybrid infrastructure, orchestration is critical in the placement of workloads. As containers increase in importance, the ability to optimize workload placement between physical and cloud-based infrastructure increases. Projects such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Mesos are critical in the technical orchestration of workloads.
Mature orchestration solutions ensure that data center resources are evenly spaced and optimized for performance and cost. For example, a new container-based development environment spawns decisions that orchestration facilitates. Orchestration solutions determine the most cost-effective cloud to use in order to spin up the environment.
Digital transformation is driving a pace of change that is difficult to maintain in traditional infrastructures. Digital transformation initiatives ask IT teams to accomplish more with shrinking resources. The best way to keep pace with the infrastructure shift is automation. Many teams are tempted to began at the provisioning process. While there's value in automating provisioning, most organizations may find more value in automating some other common changes such as storage volume expansion.
Data center teams must examine existing workflows and process bottlenecks. It's these process areas that are the best investment for automation. After the discovery of target, automation engineers focus on the best tools to leverage. In turn, automation engineers team with cloud engineers to understand the integration point of orchestration platforms.
What about you?
What are your technology priorities for 2017? Share them in the comments section below.
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Keith Townsend is a technology management consultant with more than 15 years of related experience designing, implementing, and managing data center technologies. His areas of expertise include virtualization, networking, and storage solutions for Fortune 500 organizations. He holds a BA in computing and a MS in information technology from DePaul University.