5. Speed It Up

Move faster. That’s the mantra that most UK CIOs have been hearing from their business colleagues for some time now. IT’s historically methodical pace helped drive the shadow IT movement and all the complications that have arisen from it, from performance and compliance concerns to the unexpectedly high costs of cloud services. Strategic CIOs have taken shadow IT’s key lesson to heart, however: IT needs to pick up the pace.

A Hybrid IT model is a catalyst for much-needed organisational agility, because it enables IT to launch new capabilities quickly and seamlessly invoke and scale back resources based on changing business needs. Flexible consumption models that mix and match private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises infrastructure are crucial in digital transformation. With these foundational components of Hybrid IT in place, CIOs can begin to accelerate service delivery, at scale.

Composable Infrastructure?

Acceleration requires CIOs to rethink their traditional on-premises infrastructure. IT teams can pool resources for maximum flexibility and efficiency by merging previously separate computing, storage, networking, and virtualisation capabilities into a single, composable infrastructure. And developers and business users can request capacity for a project with the push of a button and have access in minutes, when IT adds software-defined intelligence to assemble and reconfigure resources on the fly.

The advantage of composable infrastructure is that, by bringing together compute, storage and networking resources – and enabling them to be easily managed through software, IT professionals can more readily deploy and monitor data centre resources.

This is not only hugely beneficial for IT teams demanding that their on-premise infrastructure is as easy to acquire, deploy and scale as public cloud resources, but also for the wider business who want the IT department to deliver both operational stability and agility.

In fact, the pooling of these resources can ultimately lead to improved application performance, a more agile cost-effective data centre and a business which can sooner embrace newer IT concepts such as DevOps and IT-as-a-service.

“Hybrid IT does play a key role in delivering services more efficiently, and it will require a transformation of the IT department.”

– Floriana Molone
Head of IT Customer Services and Deputy Director, London School of Economics

The Key Requirements of Composable Infrastructure

Management capabilities that IT professionals believe must be provided as part of the software included with composable infrastructure.

68% Storage Efficiency 61% Security Features 58% Built-in Backup 58% Provisioning/WorkloadOptimization 59% IT Operations Analytics 68% Storage Efficiency 68% Storage Efficiency 68% Storage Efficiency 68% Storage Efficiency 68% Storage Efficiency
Source: IDC

At biomedical and genomic research centre Broad Institute, the ongoing transition to cloud and managed services has fundamentally changed the IT team’s structure and roles, according to CIO William Mayo. Because the Institute relies on high-performance computing for its biomedical and genomic research, modern-day infrastructure such as software-defined capabilities and composable architecture are critical.

“As we’ve made our cloud migration, it’s become clear that we don’t need to put hands on a keyboard or a piece of hardware to maintain it anymore,” says Mayo. “I can have the software pick up a configuration, create the VM [virtual machine] – or 1,000 VMs – at the moment it’s needed, do what’s needed, and then shut them back down. I completely get out of this sysadmin/storage admin construct that we’ve had for so long.”

The Top Benefits of Composable Infrastructure

IT users’ priorities for deploying composable systems

Improved IT staff productivity
Improved utilisation of computing resources
Improved business agility
Faster time to market
Improved utilisation of storage resources
Source: IDC

Additional fuel to speed up IT service delivery comes in the form of a single, unified API that is used to construct the fluid resource pools. That’s augmented by a central management platform that provides a holistic view of the infrastructure that bridges any gaps between on-premises enterprise systems and cloud-based services. This end-to-end visibility, coupled with automation and orchestration capabilities, is the IT equivalent of putting the pedal to the metal.

SunTrust Banks has compiled these technologies and methodologies into the aptly-named Business Accelerator. It’s a technology stack that comprises design thinking, agile development, DevOps, modular architectures, microservices, and the cloud. “Design thinking changes the way the business operates. All the other layers change how IT operates,” says Anil Cheriyan, SunTrust’s CIO.

The Business Accelerator has dramatically improved flexibility and reduced deployment times for new services. It replaces SunTrust’s traditional waterfall method for software development. That involved extended cycles of stakeholder meetings, requirements, use cases, system design, infrastructure planning, and security integration. The new DevOps-oriented approach, however, enables more elastic, real-time deployments. “Now, we build a minimally-viable product to test and learn as we build,” Cheriyan says. “It’s a fundamental change in how we operate.”

“Hybrid IT plays a major role in our ability to scale-up and down.”

– Jason Oliver
Director of ICT, Science Museum Group
Key Play

5. Composable infrastructure principles

Use these composable infrastructure principles to accelerate transformation of on-premises infrastructure:
Unified API

A single interface to discover, search, inventory, configure, provision, update, and diagnose your data centre infrastructure. A unified API enables abstraction and automation of any physical or virtual resource.

Fluid resource pool

A single pool of resources enables you to run any kind of workload – physical, virtual, or container-based – at any time, based on need. Moving to a single pool of fluid resources effectively eliminates infrastructure silos.

Software-defined intelligence

A common software layer that serves as a complete, configurable, and programmable abstraction layer for all resources in the data centre. This enables fast, policy‐based automation of applications and infrastructure across development, testing, and production.

View the key play highlights

Take a Deeper Dive into Hybrid IT

The Strategic CIO’s Playbook

Create a game plan for accelerating digital transformation with the right mix of Hybrid IT.