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Composable infrastructure demands new strategy

As enterprise technology moves away from the world of the traditional data centre and straight jacket of fixed upgrade cycles towards a future built of composable infrastructure.

By John Oates

As enterprise technology moves away from the world of the traditional data centre and straight jacket of fixed upgrade cycles towards a future built of composable infrastructure acting within a flexible, hybrid infrastructure so the way CIOs can think about technology is changing too.

Traditional hardware strategy has been about making long-term decisions and dealing with   upgrade cycles set by processor and operating system vendors.

It meant getting the most from capital investment which would be paid off over the lifecycle of the hardware installed

But composable infrastructure aims to make hardware more like software. That means improvements are incremental and constant rather than tied to big roll-outs linked to processor or operating system refresh rates.

Treating infrastructure as code should allow enterprise IT departments to react to business needs almost instantly – more like a cloud provider than a data centre.

This will allow businesses to both optimise delivery of traditional enterprise IT functions as well as speeding up delivery of new applications for mobile devices and to support the idea economy.

These two conflicting requirements – finding best value for static services like enterprise resource planning, transaction processing and email – but also rapidly deploying new services and reacting to disruptive business change is a big challenge for today’s technology leaders.

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But composable infrastructure promises to deal with the very different demands of these two operating environments – creating and supporting legacy applications for traditional IT and coping with the continuous adaption and change needed by applications which run the idea economy.

To get the most out of such a platform enterprises need sophisticated management systems to shift work loads and get the best value out of systems.

In order to reduce management workloads templates can be used to form the basis of designing work loads. So enterprise management systems might need to work hardest at month’s end but no longer need dedicated systems. Instead you can call up computing, storage and networking functions from the pool of resources.

Developers can select templates from HPE’s OneView to easily provision, configure and monitor the resources they need via a single API.

Shifting to composable is, by its very nature, an incremental process. It can be added to existing systems and does not require a ‘rip out and replace’ strategy.

Composable infrastructure also supports a variety of flexible capacity, pay per use payment options which allow business to ensure it has the spare capacity it might need on tap for instant deployment.

The brave new world is not complete yet but new vendors are joining all the time.

It should allow CIOs to fully engage with the role the business is increasingly demanding of them – to ensure systems and applications are fit and ready for the future, whatever it changes it brings.

It should allow IT staff to react quickly but also strategically to the demands of business, changing regulatory environments and shifting markets while still controlling costs.

HPE has a useful White Paper(pdf) outlining these changes here:

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