The growing importance of SDI

By enabling digital transformation of an enterprise to an application-aware infrastructure that captures workload requirements and leverages analytics to optimize in real-time, SDI is an IT trend that can have the greatest impact on an enterprise’s infrastructure and operations

By: Chandra Sekhar Pulamarasetti, Co-founder & CEO, Sanovi Technologies

As organizations are adopting SMAC (social media, mobility, analytics, and cloud computing), enterprise applications are becoming smarter with context sensitive analytics powered by mobility and social media. These newer capabilities are driving the underlying infrastructure to handle huge amounts of data. Constant innovation to stay relevant in the current competitive world is pushing the IT teams to spend more time with business than operating the infrastructure. This requires the underlying IT infrastructure to be more smart and self-managing completely.
Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) provides exactly this, where the applications define the policies and the underlying infrastructure delivers the application needs seamlessly with total automation. It enables digital transformation of the enterprise at a very optimal cost.
According to Gartner, SDI is one of the major technology trends that impacts infrastructure and operations of the businesses. As infrastructure and operations constitute about 55% of the IT budgets, it obviously goes to SDIs.
Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2015 also include Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure (SDAI). Gartner clearly emphasized on the role of SDAI, predicting that it will change the nature of business operations. Cloud computing and web-scale IT are closely related to SDAI and leverage the capabilities with each other.
Unlike one architecture or platform that runs a particular software, SDAI can run several independent applications simultaneously. Cloud and virtualization are fundamental
underlying technologies that enable SDI. While virtualization
delinks the underlying infrastructure from the application
layer, cloud software enables self-service and policy-driven models for consuming the infrastructure resources more elastically through automation. Orchestration engines infusing application-centric policies that deliver best practice deployment models on top these two layers enable SDAI for enterprises.
The primary goal of SDAI is to deliver an application aware
infrastructure that captures workload requirements and best practices through policy-based automation across datacenters, and leverage analytics to optimize in real time. Automation of infrastructure and application processes is key to scale up in SDAI.
Automation enhances efficiency of components when there are many tasks of repetitive nature in a business process. For example, when you insert your card in an ATM, the back-end SDAI activates certain actions related to your activities. When you withdraw cash, it activates a print out on the same ATM, SMS alert from a different server, and an email from another server. While the first corresponding action is initiated on the same machine, the other two are initiated elsewhere in the infrastructure. Such automated actions are cost-effective compared to silo actions. At the same time, they eliminate human errors.
Automation coupled with elasticity helps in optimal utilization of resources. If a server of an eCommerce website is overloaded, then the automation program can quickly balance the load across the existing infrastructure of servers or replicate additional servers according to the need. When the traffic recedes, the automation program can quickly relieve the added servers. In this process, the extra costs happen only in times of need and at other times total and dynamic cost management takes place automatically.
SDAI ensures agile programming of everything from applications to basic infrastructure operating under it. As a
result, organizations can deliver a broad spectrum of flexible processes. According to Gartner, software-defined networking, storage, datacenters, and security are maturing. Cloud services are software-configurable through application programme interface (API) calls. Rich API is being made available for applications to consume these infrastructure services. For example, an application can fulfil its service continuity and recovery needs dynamically through application defined continuity policy API, provided by the underlying SDI. In such a scenario, digital businesses will have a super structure that helps to scale up or down quickly.
The recent changes that are sweeping SDI can be compared to the initial days of personal computers. If PC with a small program operating at one point of geography is a speck of the universe, the SDI is the entire universe that is at your disposal with anytime, anywhere, and any scale availability. Paying per capacity, software, professional hours, etc, will become history with SDAI. Businesses pay only for the all encompassing resources used. Location, software upgrades, infrastructure in silos will be history soon. SDAI offers all these as a bundle of service.
An SDAI service provider offers servers, storage resources, back-up plans, recovery solutions, cloud computing, automation program, and many more services in just a
single package.
Web-scale IT is a pattern of global class computing. It delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers in any enterprise IT setting. With the advent of private cloud
infrastructure in the form of converged systems, enterprises an bring the dynamic and highly scalable cloud service provider infrastructure capabilities to the enterprise users on their premise. Such infrastructure provides seamless scalability and makes the enterprise very agile and help it run its IT very optimally. Compared to application on hardware in the business premises, this separates the application layer from the hardware one. Business users no more need to manage infrastructure IT as well as application IT. These can be owned by different owners.
They do not even need to know who really owns and operates.
Only APIs coordinate and communicate with them.
web-scale IT gives the opportunity of vertical or horizontal
scaling. As many things need to be connected for business
that operates across the globe, web-scale IT makes this seamless by eliminating the need to put in complex
middleware applications for this connectivity. SDAI will enhance the web-scale IT capabilities significantly. With the increased adoption of mobility, cloud computing is reshaping itself as client computing. Convergence of cloud and mobile is driving cloud to extend and run applications on the end-user mobile devices to leverage the huge amount of compute and memory resources available on them. It will be available as a self-service computing on any device including a handheld device. As
network and bandwidth costs are critical issues, the apps on devices will be smarter and use less storage space. Managing these devices will be based on the cloud. This ensures application portability across devices and geographies. Applications evolving to support simultaneous use of multiple devices and screens will be a reality. SDAI will make all of these possible, as it seamlessly allows for expanding the boundaries of the cloud from a datacenter to end user devices. In summary, organizations adopting SMAC will benefit immensely from SDAI. With the deployment of private cloud infrastructure on premise, enterprise IT will have the capabilities of web-scale IT, similar to that of large service provider infrastructure, providing great agility.
With increased convergence of mobility with cloud, cloud
computing will extend to include end-user computing and
resources, thereby providing rich user experience and unmatched service scalability. SDAI will extend these two
areas significantly with its software defined approach and
total automation.

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