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#5 Infrastructure Maturity Model
on Thu Jul 23 2020 17:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
with Darren W Pulsipher,
Digital transformation can be difficult. Many organizations become paralyzed when trying to decipher all of the technologies that are thrown at them every day. On this journey, like any other, it is important to have a map. In this episode, Darren explains the Infrastructure Maturity Model to help organizations find out where they are in their digital transformation, where they can go next, and how to get there.
Digital transformation can be difficult. Many organizations become paralyzed when trying to decipher all of the technologies that are thrown at them every day. On this journey, like any other, it is important to have a map. In this episode, Darren explains the “Infrastructure Maturity Model” to help organizations find out where they are in their digital transformation, where they can go next, and how to get there.
Almost every organization is in this Standardized phase or beyond. Understanding this phase gives us a baseline to start talking about the common things we see across organizations.
The basic level is where we find uncoordinated infrastructure and management by reaction. This is especially common in start-ups where an organization buys services or hardware as needed, in reaction to events rather than as part of a master plan. Here, we also see purpose-built software/hardware stacks. A heavy cottage IT is also part of this phase of maturity.
In this level, infrastructure is centralized. Organizations buy capacity rather than purpose-built hardware. Purchases are no longer reactive, but part of a longer-term plan. Typically, the organization will have common server configurations so they can purchase in volume for cost efficiency and have higher reliability. IT is more centralized and specialized, for example, in network, storage, compute, and security.
In the simplified level, infrastructure is more consolidated. Different departments can share equipment such as servers, storage, and networks. Organizations get better performance as they migrate from old ways to new ways of centralizing and simplifying. OpEx costs go down as efficiency increases.
Most organizations today are in at least some part of the Virtualized phase. This is where we find standard configurations and private clouds.
Server virtualization gives the flexibility to run applications on different machines and to move them easily among machines.
Storage virtualization is a more recent development that brings similar benefits as server virtualization: flexibility for more dynamic decisions. Storage can now span across the whole ecosystem. Storage can be provisioned for a specific application, and that storage and application can move around within the infrastructure.
Network virtualization, the latest addition, has been embraced particularly by Internet Service Providers. They have made a huge investment because of the efficiency of being able to make dynamic changes in the network remotely instead of from the previous purpose-based hardware.
All of these virtualization technologies are tied together in offerings in the private cloud space, both commercial and open source, often in one easy-to-manage place. Organizations are moving into this phase, and also changing and consolidating their IT from a vertical focus to looking across everything (NOTE: can we call this a horizontal focus?) with systems, applications, and services more so than compute, storage, and network.
In the Automated phase, organizations can automatically provision infrastructure, which saves time by eliminating layers of people and permissions. With the use of self-service portals, an engineer or software developer can get the resources that they need right away. This automatic provisioning also allows for basic automation of patches, VMs, security, and compliance. IT is now less in a reactive mode, but in a proactive mode. Other valuable parts of this phase are, for example, the automatic starting up of infrastructure for applications in production and self-healing applications.
As automation becomes more complex, an Orchestrated phase becomes necessary. Automation is applying actions onto a machine, whereas orchestration is the coordination of the actions happening across multiple machines or even modalities (storage, compute, network) for an application. In addition, automated application stacks can deploy several applications on several different servers. In this phase, organizations also orchestrate hybrid services, for example, managing resources across public and private clouds. The benefits of this orchestration are decreased OpEx costs, decreased CapEx costs, and decreased time to deployment.
In a Real-Time phase, organizations are in a service-level agreement infrastructure. Rather than applications, organizations are using services that provide value and tie everything together. Shared services run across multi-hybrid clouds and even legacy infrastructure. Pooling hybrid infrastructure, policy-based orchestration, and service-based orchestration all optimize the infrastructure, data management, and services.
It is common for different parts of your organization to be in different phases. A few groups will be further along than others; that’s healthy. Small pioneering groups can fail without affecting the whole organization, or they can have a breakthrough and pull the rest of the organization up with them. Very few organizations have moved to the highest phase on the map. The key is to not get discouraged, but to use the map as a guide to find out where you are and what the next steps might be for your organization.