Technology advisory firm Gartner has articulated infrastructure modernization efforts very well using the term “bimodal IT infrastructure modernization”. What are these modes?
“Mode 1” is the existing assets and systems. “Mode 2” is the modernized infrastructure. As per the technology advisory firm, IT Infrastructure heads focus directly on Mode 2 – which is new technology, skills and processes while completely ignoring the preparedness of Mode 1 to ensure a seamless transition to Mode 2.
By spending time on the existing system and infrastructure, IT leaders can ensure a strong launchpad for modernizing the IT infrastructure. It is important to note that the spending on optimizing the existing infrastructure is negligible or insignificant in the overall scheme of things. However, a through analysis of Mode 1 and preparing it for Mode 2 enables companies to reap the true RoI from its Infrastructure modernization efforts.
If the complexity of the IT infrastructure is not addressed at Mode 1, it results in two things. The benefits of the modernization exercise in terms of cost and operational efficiency will not be attained. Secondly, Mode 2 investments will not yield desired results and the IT landscape has not been simplified and optimized in Mode 1.
The IT Infrastructure leaders must begin with optimizing the infrastructure footprint based on the number of components and its types as well as alignment with the overall business requirement.
It can be undertaken in the following steps:
- Create and bucket the entire inventory of the IT Infrastructure:
Traditionally, systems and resources across compute, storage and network are assigned in an ad-hoc manner based on business requirements. Due to this, IT Infrastructure teams find it extremely challenging to plan and analyse the efficient utilization of the IT Infrastructure. This leads to unutilized or underutilized IT resources which must go through a thorough process of optimization to ensure that the modernization exercise is efficient and seamless.
- Create a Loop Room to manage and measure effectiveness of modernization:
With the optimized Infrastructure footprint, it is important to create a hub which would bind the modernized infrastructure through processes and tools and monitor its performance centrally to ensure a successful modernization effort. The metrics measured would reflect the return on investments done into the infrastructure modernization exercise.
- Optimizing the IT Ecosystem:
When we consolidate the IT infrastructure, it also gives immense scope to cut down on the other elements such as server rooms, ACs, cost of maintenance etc. It can also enable to optimize the number of physical server locations and simplify resource allocation and management of the overall IT Infrastructure.
- From “Virtualization” to “Containerization”:
Organizations have been using virtualization to increase the efficiency per server (workloads assigned per server). The process has also enabled a significant reduction in the Infrastructure footprint and allied savings in OPEX as well as CAPEX costs. With Kubernetes, an open-source platform, the IT infrastructure teams can manage ad-hoc requests better by enabling containerization. The fluid and flexible containers can manage dynamic requests with efficient provisioning – both scaling up and scaling down of compute, storage, and network resources. Such an IT infrastructure containing operating systems such as Oracle Linux with containerization and orchestration capabilities enable organizations to derive great value and RoI from their infrastructure modernization efforts.
- Develop the “Intelligent Automation” charter:
While optimizing Mode 1 and preparing for Mode 2, it is advisable to identify processes in the IT infrastructure landscape that are rule-based, redundant and consume considerable amount of manpower, and technology resources. Such processes will become a part of the “Intelligent Automation” framework. These processes must be re-engineered if required and automated so that human capital efforts can be focused on operational efficiency, and strategic initiatives.
Is Infrastructure Modernization a technology upgrade? It fails when one thinks of it that way. The initiative is strategic and should completely align with business objectives. Its success, often measured as cost and effort savings and faster RoI realization, is heavily dependent on an organization wide top down approach and should include every element of the IT infrastructure – including standard products and custom-built components.