Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

Invisible Infostructure - The Medium and Long Term Future

The future of infrastructure is to be invisible, yet relevant and incredibly insightful, focusing on what matters most – business outcomes [1]. For the immediate future it means to move into a hybrid, fully automated and invisible context – what does that actually mean? What will it mean to us today and tomorrow and how would it work? 

One way to outline the immediate future of infrastructure is to use the “lego” analogy. As part of our Technovision 2015 framework we used “virtual lego” to outline what the themes in the Infrastructure area will be – we called it the “invisible infostructure”. “Virtualization is the key ingredient for rendering the IT infrastructure invisible and the journey towards the cloud. It reduces costs and deals with the mounting complexity of divergent technology platforms. But there is more. With infrastructure rapidly composed and recomposed from 'virtual Lego’ building blocks, it enables businesses to become more agile, more responsive and faster. A complete, software-defined infrastructure solution stack that is deployed in minutes on any scalable, manageable ‘container’ platform. If it weren’t so real, it would pretty much become a metaphor for running a business with similar qualities.”

Read here the entire article issued by Ajith NC:


Picking up from the key idea that you will be able to construct business services by using a Lego based approach. The idea is fairly simple; use catalogue based, standard, open approach to design, build, run your application landscape – see Application Unleashed (here) for more details from an Application perspective.

Key driver for this virtual lego approach is clearly the desire to speed up, to reduce cost and to reduce complexity. We have seen the development in the compute space – so the move from hardware based Operating systems to a software based approach – called virtualisation. The same is now also happening in the network and in the storage space. The ability to construct infrastructure related capabilities in a lego based fashion requires well defined interfaces and standards; open stack is the attempt to standardise these : OpenStack began in 2010 as a joint project of Rackspace Hosting and NASA. Currently, it is managed by the OpenStack Foundation, a non-profit corporate entity established in September 2012[3] to promote OpenStack software and its community.[4] more than 200 companies have joined the project.

The result has been impressive – add Cloud Foundry to the mix and you made a big step towards the virtual lego vision. Cloud Foundry is an open source cloud computing platform as a service (PaaS) originally developed by VMware and now owned by Pivotal Software - a joint venture by EMC, VMware and General Electric. Cloud Foundry was designed and developed by a small team from Google led by Derek Collison and was originally called project B29.[1][2][3] It is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), comparable to Google Storage and Amazon S3 online storage services

But of course – this is great for green field or when you have only / mainly open source based environments – but what do you do with existing technology that is not OpenStack / Cloud Foundry compatible? It can be very tricky to establish a positive business case when dealing with such a scenario. However there is / are some signs of new products that might enable better integration. DevOps has captivated a large part of the IT industry and is fuelling the innovation cycle. For example IBM is starting to equip more traditional software products with DevOps based capabilities a la open source – see here a news updated issued last week. This will open new opportunities which then translate into new innovations to help clients making use of the lego based approach.

As I noted before the immediate future of infrastructure is hybrid, fully automated and invisible – we call it invisible infostructure. The idea is that we will deal with infrastructure that evolves into an invisible but extremely information-rich and powerful platform for business. To illustrate this we outlined 4+1 main building blocks :  

  1. Virtual Lego
  2. Let’s Get Physical
  3. Build, Release, Run, Repeat
  4. Orchestrate For Simple
  5. What Would Amazon Do?

But infrastructure is one aspect for an enterprise – there are 6 other key areas to consider of course : read here


 

We call this framework TechnoVision and to stay uptodate we refresh TechnoVision every year. It is a framework that incudes viewpoints and insights to guide you through the technologies that will radically improve the performance and the reach of your enterprise. 

Coming back to the future of infrastructure – the invisible infostructure. I outlined above what the immediate future looks like. Question is what is the long term future? What will Infrastructure look like in 2030? In 2030 infrastructure will be much more “business aware”. Our today known Infrastructure capabilities (like compute, network, storage) will have the ability to construct and orchestrate services that are business focused. Autonomics and robotics are accelerating the drive to invisible & intelligent “businessstructure” and we as consumers will be able to create, combine & consume in much more flexible and agile way. These “businessstructure” components are able to “understand” complex situations and by using enriched and realtime data, are able to make valuable decisions. The result? A much more connected, autonomous and truly invisible infostructure.

Thanks for reading

[1] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/invisible-infostructure-part-1-key-drivers-gunnar-menzel?trk=mp-reader-card
[
2] https://www.capgemini.com/blog/cto-blog/2014/11/welcome-to-technovision-2015

 


About the author

Gunnar Menzel, VP Enterprise Architect
Gunnar Menzel, VP Enterprise Architect

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