Examining the barriers to infrastructure-as-code

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IT management has never been easy and the complexities multiply as we seek to adopt the latest technologies and push the bounds of innovation. For instance, as we enable more digital capabilities, by nature, we must increase the number of applications used within our IT environments. However, provisioning the infrastructure resources required to build and manage applications can often be an unpredictable process, causing bottlenecks and performance issues across the entire environment but especially so in one key area, data storage.

Rather than succumbing to the complex, highly manual and time-consuming nature of IT management, new solutions and management frameworks can help to create more simplicity and ease. Modern infrastructure that emulates a cloud operating model is capable of prioritizing flexibility, agility and speed in addition to enabling reliability and performance. What initially began with the prolific adoption of infrastructure as-a-service has now paved the way for infrastructure-as-code.

An infrastructure-as-code platform integrates self-service IT experiences and scale-out, on-demand solutions that rise above physical architecture limitations. Essentially, it enables organizations to adopt a cloud operating model on top of their infrastructure to deliver a cloud-like experience for IT teams and storage consumers.

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Why Now?

The pace of digital transformation has rapidly accelerated over the last few years - and for many organizations, this pace is expected to continue. Organizations want a new experience from their on-prem infrastructure to better support the agility needed to quickly pivot with unexpected changes. To enable this, IT modernization needs to address IT infrastructure while enabling simple and intuitive digital experiences. At the same time, organizations also want to avoid heavy upfront costs and expensive overprovisioning -- but therein lies the challenge.

Many enterprises are leveraging self-service IT solutions through a cloud service model to alleviate overworked service desks and to save time and money. Known for ease-of-use, these types of solutions allow users to access the resources they need to find solutions on their own without the assistance of a service representative. On the flip side, they provide customers an avenue to better manage cash flow by only paying for what they use. Additionally, with automation of operations, applications and data management, organizations are able to maximize optionality between on-prem, edge and hyperscaler offerings.

How to enable infrastructure-as-code

Enterprise storage must evolve to provide a storage-as-code experience for both consumers and storage administrators. This means automating the tedious storage management functions while also enabling a simple-scale out solution where physical architecture limitations do not bind storage pools. With AI-driven automated workload placement, mobility and rebalance, storage pools are continuously optimized, meaning your storage platform is always prepared. When a cloud-like operating model comes into play, the storage pool can scale almost limitlessly in a way that embraces different models of arrays, media types and capacity footprints.

A key consideration for this type of solution is enabling a clear separation between the role of the consumer and the role of the storage administrator. While the administrator should have access to a centralized management system, the consumer should be the one who builds applications that meet the performance and storage needs for their particular goal. This is a crucial step in emulating the cloud operating model.

Real-world implications

For developers, a service like this is especially powerful. As we’ve seen organizations scale and reach new heights amid digital transformation, it’s clear that the companies who empower their innovators are the ones that come out on top. With developers no longer accepting being tied down by long manual requests for resources and infrastructure, cloud-like solutions are what they’re looking towards. Cloud is an operating model and not necessarily a destination in this regards.

Among the biggest complaints storage specialists have is that they often get bogged down by IT ticket requests and long back and forths deeming them as the 'ticket-serving' person. However, fast and efficient resource provisioning enables developers to maximize their time and productivity so they can focus on doing what they do best -- innovating and creating. All the while, the storage specialists maintain control over the environment and the "catalog" of storage resources they make available to the business units they serve.

Ultimately, the self-service experience of the cloud plays a significant role in transforming the experience that developers live on a day-to-day basis.

Looking ahead

It’s clear the benefits are numerous with an infrastructure-as-code. From embracing a cloud-like operating model for more speed and agility, to transforming the role of the developer, to achieving business objectives and managing costs -- this model is here to stay.

Image credit: cherezoff / Shutterstock

Dan Kogan is VP of Product Management, FlashArray Business Unit, Pure Storage.

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