Goodbye legacy systems, hello ‘Composable IT’

Published on the 31/10/2017 | Written by Paul Haverfield

Remember how much fun it was to build stuff with Lego blocks? HPE CTO Paul Haverfield does…

Imagine how much more fun it would be if the blocks could duplicate themselves whenever you wanted, and if they were programmed so that you could quickly construct, say, an ocean liner, then deconstruct it at the touch of a button and turn it into a skyscraper.

Now imagine if you could do something similar with IT infrastructure.

Think disaggregated, fluid pools of compute, storage and network fabric that you could quickly assemble and re-assemble to meet the exact needs of whatever application you’re wanting to deploy. You could spin up resources for a mission-critical business transaction application or a new cloud-native app with equal ease, all from the same pool of fluid resources.

In most cases, traditional infrastructure isn’t up to the task of providing speedy, flexible service. It lacks the capacity to ramp up or down as business units start and stop projects  sometimes at a moment’s notice. Traditionally, it has taken IT departments weeks, or even months, to plan and then to install new hardware to accommodate the needs of internal business units.

If data is the new currency, businesses must make a digital transformation to use it. They need to adjust the IT system to become more flexible to automatically adapt to changing market demands without disrupting or delaying workflow.

This is Composable Infrastructure (CI).

Essentially, CI is a new category of infrastructure where compute, storage, and networks become a shared resource that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. IT departments are enabled to quickly compose or recompose resources based on changing needs. This provides agility, decreases overall infrastructure cost and accelerates new service introduction.

Here’s an example. Traditional IT infrastructure (compute, storage, and networking) runs on separate platforms. This division creates islands of hard-to-manage, underutilised resources. In contrast, CI pools resources perform much like a cloud computing model.

When a business unit requires IT resources, a developer simply requests the required infrastructure capacity, which is made available in minutes. When the capacity is no longer required, it is returned to the pool.

The IT department makes greater use of existing infrastructure and eliminates islands of equipment fallen into disuse.

CI reduces operational complexity for the IT department, which in turn lowers the total cost of ownership by reducing capital expenditure and operating expenses. Here’s how:

  • It covers multiple priorities simultaneously – With CI, management no longer must choose between funding business-critical legacy applications and investing in new apps that can lead to innovation and growth. The CI environment supports both.
  • IT moves from cost centre to strategic business partner – With CI, IT has the tools to work with the business units to find creative ways to lower costs while improving service.
  • It allows more efficient management of resources – Apps have different requirements to run optimally. Some need high-performance storage, others not. CI’s pools provide the right resources for an app at any one time, eliminating the need to overprovision.

writer_Paul HaverfieldABOUT PAUL HAVERFIELD//

Paul Haverfield is CTO, Data Center Hybrid Cloud Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Asia Pacific & Japan.

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