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Smart Infrastructure Orchestration – Are you ready to give up control?

Written by Ravi Rao, Principal Product Architect, Extreme Networks

Information Technology (IT) environments are rapidly evolving into a complex set of disparate functions and workflows such as provisioning, security, configuration, and performance data - all with various degrees of availability across a distributed architecture that includes data centers (local and remote), virtual environments, private and public cloud infrastructure, and spanning traditional, smart and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In this modern IT environment, the expectation is that every device connected to the network is omnipresent with all the required service levels. The only logical way to manage this complex, yet fluid environment, is to leverage tools that allow for a full view of how things are connected across the network and provide the ability to efficiently narrow down the areas that require attention. This dictates that infrastructure orchestration and management workflows and dashboards be available to IT managers in a unified, single window to perform the respective duties optimally.

The fundamental challenge to achieving the right outcomes in day-to-day IT operations is the lack of a single comprehensive window to visualize everything that is connected to the network. In most organizations, the IT manager must wade through a plethora of tools and windows, and on top of it co-relate the devices and their connectivity, before embarking upon finding the status of the device thus resulting in a delay or-at times-  incorrect diagnosis of the environment. A single user interface that can co-relate all the disparate devices into one window and present a unified picture of the IT environment is an immediate need that would alleviate the situation.

Businesses have traditionally relied on human intelligence to reconcile data provided by disparate, distributed sources, and to make business decisions based on the analysis of that data. The richer the granularity of data, the better the decision-making capacity. That is why it is imperative that the data related to the business - its inputs and operating parameters, infrastructure and its current operating state, is not only collected with the required accuracy but also collated and accessible at a single place or at known places to execute the right decisions.

In an IT environment that supports the business, the process of data capture, analytics and actions based on the data should thread on the same time-tested footsteps. IT managers must ensure the data being captured is available, collated and analyzed at a single source, and provide the right insights to indicate the state of the IT environment, but that is not enough to make business decisions alone. The entire automation system should be engulfed by an aura of artificial intelligence or machine learning to provide the intelligence to interpret the data meaningfully for the business.

An intelligence-driven IT automation framework will provide businesses with a robust, state of the art IT infrastructure. The salient features of such an intelligence driven framework are:

  • Single data lake, inclusive of what is provisioned and current operating state
  • Intelligent, and intent driven cross-domain provisioning
  • Rich and extensive ecosystem integrations
  • Pervasive visibility across all the domains and entities
  • Data analytics
  • Intelligent remediation
  • Artificial intelligence encompassing provisioning, analytics and remediation

The framework provides the ability to not only automate and streamline one of the domains such as the network domain, but also will provide the intelligence to co-relate events and business processes from across the IT infrastructure and related areas and provide the informed decision to keep the business running in a smooth, efficient and optimal manner.

The ability of the next generation automation framework to deliver an optimal, always-on infrastructure is materialized only if the personnel operating the infrastructure also relies on the framework and are prepared to trust and hand over some level of control to the framework to not only optimize the working environment of the infrastructure, but also the working atmosphere for the personnel.

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About the Author

Ravindra (Ravi) Rao has been in the IT industry for over 30 years. During this time, he has worked extensively on application development and architectures, and data center architectures, as well as on the operational side of applications and data centers. He has also worked to design and implement data center and service provider networks. Prior to joining Extreme Networks, he held roles at Unisys Corporation, SUN Microsystems, Cisco Systems, VMware., Verizon, Equinix and Brocade Systems. He has spent the last 8-10 years in data center automation and has been working on integrating toolchains into a common user experience. He holds several patents on service provider and data center network automation.

Published Wednesday, November 21, 2018 7:47 AM by David Marshall
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Comments
Smart Infrastructure Orchestration - What can we do with it? : @VMblog - (Author's Link) - January 17, 2019 10:36 AM
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