Agile is a term that continues to drive change in the data center. Business users talk the language of digital transformation. They need new services and they expect faster delivery, minimal downtime and the ability to respond rapidly to changing market or business conditions.
Legacy infrastructures simply cannot cope with the pace of change and that’s why many data center managers have moved their resources to the cloud. But, cloud migration may not be the only element in a data center that has the agility to meet business demands and run operations efficiently and cost-effectively.
A Continuing Role for On-Premise
On-premise infrastructure will continue to play an important role in the agile data center for organizations that need to maintain a balance between agility and control.
In fact, Gartner has forecast that, by 2020, 90 percent of data centers will have adopted a hybrid infrastructure, using on-premise and cloud facilities to meet the security, control and operational needs of different applications.
With that strategy, data center managers can use the agility that cloud offers to deliver services quickly and scale rapidly to meet increased demand. Meanwhile, mission-critical applications, which require the highest levels of availability and security, remain under direct local control.
Automation Supports Agility
An agile data center features high levels of automation to support three key elements.
By automating discovery, IT teams can ensure that they have a complete, up-to-date picture of all resources and dependencies in cloud and on-premise environments. If rapid change is necessary, the team does not have to lose time carrying out manual discovery.
Automating monitoring provides an up-to-date picture of infrastructure status, helping to maintain the highest levels of availability. And, automating deployment and workflow delivers the operational speed that is an essential feature of an agile data center.
Composable Infrastructure Increases Flexibility
With a composable infrastructure, IT teams can reconfigure or compose resources to meet the specific demands of a business application or service in minutes to support real-time infrastructure agility.
Infrastructure elements form a shared resource with composition driven by software. By using application-specific code that requests the required resources, IT teams can automate provisioning for even greater agility.
Agile Networks Essential
Software-defined networking maintains the fast, flexible communications that are integral to data center agility.
An SD-WAN, for example, features application awareness and traffic-shaping capabilities. These enable network managers to set and implement policies to prioritize critical user or customer-facing traffic and maintain essential speed of network response.
Combining SD-WAN with other network technologies, such as MPLS or broadband Internet, allows network managers to enhance the functionality, flexibility and agility of those technologies without major investments or upgrades.
Team Responsibilities Change
With high levels of automation and cloud management and maintenance handled by service providers, IT teams have more time to focus on service development and other strategic activities to support digital transformation.
Skill sets will change in the agile data center with a lower requirement for day-to-day management and monitoring skills, and greater emphasis on development and collaboration with the business.