Article | June 1, 2021
As your organization scales, inevitably, so too will its infrastructure needs. From physical spaces to personnel, devices to applications, physical security to cybersecurity – all these resources will continue to grow to meet the changing needs of your business operations.
To manage your changing infrastructure throughout its entire lifecycle, your organization needs to implement a robust infrastructure lifecycle management program that’s designed to meet your particular business needs.
In particular, IT asset lifecycle management (ITALM) is becoming increasingly important for organizations across industries. As threats to organizations’ cybersecurity become more sophisticated and successful cyberattacks become more common, your business needs (now, more than ever) to implement an infrastructure lifecycle management strategy that emphasizes the security of your IT infrastructure.
In this article, we’ll explain why infrastructure management is important. Then we’ll outline steps your organization can take to design and implement a program and provide you with some of the most important infrastructure lifecycle management best practices for your business.
What Is the Purpose of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management?
No matter the size or industry of your organization, infrastructure lifecycle management is a critical process. The purpose of an infrastructure lifecycle management program is to protect your business and its infrastructure assets against risk.
Today, protecting your organization and its customer data from malicious actors means taking a more active approach to cybersecurity. Simply put, recovering from a cyber attack is more difficult and expensive than protecting yourself from one. If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything about cybersecurity, it’s that cybercrime is on the rise and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
As risks to cybersecurity continue to grow in number and in harm, infrastructure lifecycle management and IT asset management are becoming almost unavoidable. In addition to protecting your organization from potential cyberattacks, infrastructure lifecycle management makes for a more efficient enterprise, delivers a better end user experience for consumers, and identifies where your organization needs to expand its infrastructure.
Some of the other benefits that come along with comprehensive infrastructure lifecycle management program include:
More accurate planning;
Centralized and cost-effective procurement;
Streamlined provisioning of technology to users;
More efficient maintenance;
Secure and timely disposal.
A robust infrastructure lifecycle management program helps your organization to keep track of all the assets running on (or attached to) your corporate networks. That allows you to catalog, identify and track these assets wherever they are, physically and digitally.
While this might seem simple enough, infrastructure lifecycle management and particularly ITALM has become more complex as the diversity of IT assets has increased. Today organizations and their IT teams are responsible for managing hardware, software, cloud infrastructure, SaaS, and connected device or IoT assets. As the number of IT assets under management has soared for most organizations in the past decade, a comprehensive and holistic approach to infrastructure lifecycle management has never been more important.
Generally speaking, there are four major stages of asset lifecycle management. Your organization’s infrastructure lifecycle management program should include specific policies and processes for each of the following steps:
Planning. This is arguably the most important step for businesses and should be conducted prior to purchasing any assets. During this stage, you’ll need to identify what asset types are required and in what number; compile and verify the requirements for each asset; and evaluate those assets to make sure they meet your service needs.
Acquisition and procurement. Use this stage to identify areas for purchase consolidation with the most cost-effective vendors, negotiate warranties and bulk purchases of SaaS and cloud infrastructure assets. This is where lack of insights into actual asset usage can potentially result in overpaying for assets that aren’t really necessary. For this reason, timely and accurate asset data is crucial for effective acquisition and procurement.
Maintenance, upgrades and repair. All assets eventually require maintenance, upgrades and repairs. A holistic approach to infrastructure lifecycle management means tracking these needs and consolidating them into a single platform across all asset types.
Disposal. An outdated or broken asset needs to be disposed of properly, especially if it contains sensitive information. For hardware, assets that are older than a few years are often obsolete, and assets that fall out of warranty are typically no longer worth maintaining. Disposal of cloud infrastructure assets is also critical because data stored in the cloud can stay there forever.
Now that we’ve outlined the purpose and basic stages of infrastructure lifecycle management, it’s time to look at the steps your organization can take to implement it.
Article | June 3, 2021
It is hard to manage a modern firm without a convenient and adaptable IT infrastructure. When properly set up and networked, technology can improve back-office processes, increase efficiency, and simplify communication. IT infrastructure can be utilized to supply services or resources both within and outside of a company, as well as to its customers. IT infrastructure when adequately deployed aids organizations in achieving their objectives and increasing profits.
IT infrastructure is made up of numerous components that must be integrated for your company's infrastructure to be coherent and functional. These components work in unison to guarantee that your systems and business as a whole run smoothly.
Enterprise IT Infrastructure Trends
Consumption-based pricing models are becoming more popular among enterprise purchasers, a trend that began with software and has now spread to hardware. This transition from capital to operational spending lowers risk, frees up capital, and improves flexibility. As a result, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) revenues increased by 53% from 2015 to 2016, making them the fastest-growing cloud and infrastructure services segments. The transition to as-a-service models is significant given that a unit of computing or storage in the cloud can be quite cheaper in terms of the total cost of ownership than a unit on-premises.
While businesses have been migrating their workloads to the public cloud for years, there has been a new shift among large corporations. Many companies, including Capital One, GE, Netflix, Time Inc., and others, have downsized or removed their private data centers in favor of shifting their operations to the cloud.
Cybersecurity remains a high priority for the C-suite and the board of directors. Attacks are increasing in number and complexity across all industries, with 80% of technology executives indicating that their companies are unable to construct a robust response. Due to lack of cybersecurity experts, many companies can’t get the skills they need on the inside, so they have to use managed security services.
Future of Enterprise IT Infrastructure
Companies can adopt the 'As-a-Service' model to lower entry barriers and begin testing future innovations on the cloud's basis. Domain specialists in areas like healthcare and manufacturing may harness AI's potential to solve some of their businesses' most pressing problems.
Whether in a single cloud or across several clouds, businesses want an architecture that can expand to support the rapid evolution of their apps and industry for decades. For enterprise-class visibility and control across all clouds, the architecture must provide a common control plane that supports native cloud Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as well as enhanced networking and security features.
The scale of disruption in the IT infrastructure sector is unparalleled, presenting enormous opportunities and hazards for industry stakeholders and their customers. Technology infrastructure executives must restructure their portfolios and rethink their go-to-market strategies to drive growth. They should also invest in the foundational competencies required for long-term success, such as digitization, analytics, and agile development.
Data center companies that can solve the industry's challenges, as well as service providers that can scale quickly without limits and provide intelligent outcome-based models. This helps their clients achieve their business objectives through a portfolio of 'As-a-Service' models, will have a bright future.
Article | November 11, 2021
We’re all hoping that 2022 will finally end the unprecedented challenges brought by the global pandemic and things will return to a new normalcy. For IT infrastructure and operations organizations, the rising trends that we are seeing today will likely continue, but there are still a few areas that will need special attention from IT leaders over the next 12 to 18 months.
In no particular order, they include:
The New Edge
Edge computing is now at the forefront. Two primary factors that make it business-critical are the increased prevalence of remote and hybrid workplace models where employees will continue working remotely, either from home or a branch office, resulting in an increased adoption of cloud-based businesses and communications services.
With the rising focus on remote and hybrid workplace cultures, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet have continued to expand their solutions and add new features. As people start moving back to office, they are likely to want the same experience they had from home. In a typical enterprise setup, branch office traffic is usually backhauled all the way to the data center. This architecture severely impacts the user experience, so enterprises will have to review their network architectures and come up with a roadmap to accommodate local egress between branch offices and headquarters. That’s where the edge can help, bringing it closer to the workforce.
This also brings an opportunity to optimize costs by migrating from some of the expensive multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) or private circuits to relatively low-cost direct internet circuits, which is being addressed by the new secure access service edge (SASE) architecture that is being offered by many established vendors.
I anticipate some components of SASE, specifically those related to software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), local egress, and virtual private network (VPN), will drive a lot of conversation this year.
Holistic Cloud Strategy
Cloud adoption will continue to grow, and along with software as a service (SaaS), there will be renewed interest in infrastructure as a service (IaaS), albeit for specific workloads. For a medium-to-large-sized enterprise with a substantial development environment, it will still be cost-prohibitive to move everything to the cloud, so any cloud strategy would need to be holistic and forward-looking to maximize its business value.
Another pandemic-induced shift is from using virtual machines (VMs) as a consumption unit of compute to containers as a consumption unit of software. For on-premises or private cloud deployment architectures that require sustainable management, organizations will have to orchestrate containers and deploy efficient container security and management tools.
Now that cloud adoption, migration, and edge computing architectures are becoming more prevalent, the legacy methods of infrastructure provisioning and management will not be scalable.
By increasing infrastructure automation, enterprises can optimize costs and be more flexible and efficient—but only if they are successful at developing new skills. To achieve the goal of “infrastructure as a code” will require a shift in the perspective on infrastructure automation to one that focuses on developing and sustaining skills and roles that improve efficiency and agility across on-premises, cloud, and edge infrastructures. Defining the roles of designers and architects to support automation is essential to ensure that automation works as expected, avoids significant errors, and complements other technologies.
AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations)
Alongside complementing automation trends, the implementation of AIOps to effectively automate IT operations processes such as event correlation, anomaly detection, and causality determination will also be important. AIOps will eliminate the data silos in IT by bringing all types of data under one roof so it can be used to execute machine learning (ML)-based methods to develop insights for responsive enhancements and corrections.
AIOps can also help with probable cause analytics by focusing on the most likely source of a problem. The concept of site reliability engineering (SRE) is being increasingly adopted by SaaS providers and will gain importance in enterprise IT environments due to the trends listed above. AIOps is a key component that will enable site reliability engineers (SREs) to respond more quickly—and even proactively—by resolving issues without manual intervention.
These focus areas are by no means an exhaustive list. There are a variety of trends that will be more prevalent in specific industry areas, but a common theme in the post-pandemic era is going to be superior delivery of IT services. That’s also at the heart of the Autonomous Digital Enterprise, a forward-focused business framework designed to help companies make technology investments for the future.
Article | February 12, 2020
Since it was first available, Citrix has worked with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to integrate Citrix ADC with the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). As a valued technology partner, Citrix has a device package — a software module — that enables users to configure the Citrix ADC directly from a Cisco APIC. This setup has run in many customer production environments over the years. Let’s consider one of those customers — Jim. He was the first to deploy the integrated solution in his data center. The solution gave him the automation he needed and a single view to configure, deploy, and manage applications. However, his application admins preferred to use the Citrix ADC user interface to manage L4-L7 services.