A change, they say, is as good as a holiday. That might have been true in simpler times, but with change being the overarching constant in the IT world today, it very rarely seems like that. Change in today’s IT world is not only ever-present, it’s something that is essential to get to grips with if you want any hope of surviving – let alone excelling – in your respective field. One of the most significant transformations happening in the IT world today is the increasing shift away from on-premise infrastructure management to hybrid and cloud solutions. While it’s by no means unequivocal among IT professionals that on-premise enterprise infrastructure is in its twilight years, it’s hard to argue with the facts: cloud and hybrid infrastructure solutions are disrupting traditional infrastructure models in enterprises. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the contributing factors to this fundamental shift, including the role of open source DevOps and the increasingly common use of virtualisation.
Where are we on a timeline of the on- versus off-premise infrastructure debate?
Although the shift away from traditional infrastructures and the increasing feasibility of cloud architecture has been a long time coming, we’ve only now reached the tipping point of enterprise adoption. Until just two years ago, C-level executives were voting pretty unanimously against the cloud’s ability to replace on-premise applications – their main reason being the security and stability benefits of in-house infrastructure. With high-profile hacks seemingly escalating in regularity and intensity with each year, it’s understandable that security is a primary concern – however, no business today operates in isolation from the internet, and it’s an unfortunate truth that until such a time as we have a true solution to locking down online security, some element of risk to sensitive data is unavoidable whether it is stored on-premise or in the cloud. The question of stability has also been addressed as virtual architectures and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) technology have matured alongside increasing broadband capabilities around the world. The levels of stability that can be achieved at scale and across multiple geographies is far beyond that which was economically achievable with an on-premise model.
Granular virtualisation is breaking down the barriers between on- and off-premise infrastructure.
Before the turn of the millennium, virtualisation was something that only massive data-centres were likely to have anything to do with, but after the release of VMWare and ESX, virtualisation became feasible for commercial and personal use. In 2006, the worlds largest book seller entered the cloud market with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Just ten years later, AWS is a $7 billion business servicing 5 million customers in the UK alone. A key enabler for this explosive growth of virtualisation and cloud has been infrastructure automation. Multiplying the size of your server estate multiplies the overhead of configuration management, and the ability to provision and de-provision quickly and consistently are critical to ensuring that cost is not also multiplied unnecessarily. Today, virtualisation technology has matured to the extent that it’s possible to not only virtualise systems, but also granular processes. In fact, two of the hottest trends in technology are microservices and containerisation. It remains to be seen if containerisation will ultimately replace virtualisation, but there is a clear drive towards more granular application services and infrastructure to support them. Infrastructure automation has made it possible to provide businesses with services that would otherwise be astronomically expensive in hardware terms. Combine infrastructure as code with the surge in popularity of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and enterprise architecture of the near future will look quite different from that of today – the decoupling of network control from the hardware layer not only means less reliance on in-house hardware and less constraints on physical space, it also gives IT professionals an unprecedented level of control over their environment. Ultimately, this enables organisations to deliver faster without infrastructure bottlenecking the process.
Open Source DevOps tools are perfect for hacking out and experimenting with new infrastructure concepts.
DevOps is changing the face of enterprise architecture because it brings these game-changing technologies together under one roof. With open source DevOps tools, it’s unbelievably easy to create a completely new prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP) without disrupting the way things get done in your organisation. By using infrastructure automation to create virtualised systems that you can then tweak in whichever way you please without fear of failure. Open source DevOps software also requires little to no capital investment, so at the worst you may end up wasting a few hours of staff time. Simply put, Open source DevOps software lets your entire organisation come together and work out where and how your infrastructure and processes could be improved. This means you can have the benefit of trying out new technologies or concepts as soon as you hear about them, and instantly roll back to your stable system should anything go awry. Keeping up with the latest infrastructure technology through open source DevOps allows you to keep tabs on the latest trends, while keeping enough distance to invest only in the ones that truly benefit your organisation.
ECS Digital is a DevOps consultancy with 12 years’ experience in implementing DevOps in businesses of all kinds, all around the world. Our team has a combined wealth of knowledge on infrastructure automation and open source DevOps. To find out more about what DevOps could mean for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us.