IT organizations are increasingly subjected to escalating demands to deliver agile, transformative, scalable, and secure applications and services to meet the needs of a progressively global and adaptive business landscape. This change had its roots in the previous decade and resulted in the mass acceptance of Converged Infrastructure (CI) technology as a mechanism to scale the Data Center. The Dell EMC VxBlock platform is a leading systems provider within the CI market.
The IT landscape is undergoing a significant shift in terms of how applications and services are being defined, developed, and brought to market. In the digital transformation era, organizations are increasingly looking for ways to drive competitive advantage by adopting agile and cloud-centric application development methodologies. Speed to market, agility, and constant innovation are dominant and recurring themes. This shifting landscape is characterized by the following:
- Application Proliferation – Driven by pressure to release early and maximize speed-to-market, line of business owners (LOBs) and application developers are demanded to deliver applications in a more agile, faster, and more streamlined fashion. This has led to increased release cadence, more widespread use of heterogeneous tooling and open source software, and a drastic increase in application volume.
- Emergence of the Public and Hybrid Cloud Model – The drive to innovate quickly has led organizations to use public clouds, where there is a perceived ability to scale up and down ‘on demand’ resources leveraging an ‘Infrastructure as a Utility’ and a ‘Pay as you Use’ model. However, this hybrid cloud-centric approach has resulted in IT challenges to maintain a common security, networking, compliance, and operational footprint across the organization and across clouds, as well as managing costs at scale.
- Platform Heterogeneity – The emergence of the public/hybrid cloud model and multiple different locations where applications reside has resulted in the use of diverse application platforms. Where traditionally applications resided in VMware virtual machines, they now may reside on a container, KVM hypervisor, bare-metal device, or EC2 instance. This non-uniformity creates obvious technical and operational overhead and challenges.
- Application Heterogeneity – As the popularity of the hybrid cloud model has increased so has the proliferation of applications that are non-uniform and behave like both a cloud-native application and a traditional application. For instance, a modern ‘app’ may have a cloud-native-based front-end, but may also rely on a back-end database that resides on a traditional infrastructure.
Organizations face the two-fold challenge of how to manage the different processes underpinning traditional applications while also developing co-existing processes and procedures to cater to the vastly differing needs of the modern application. Aside from the obvious benefits from a TCO perspective of a singular overarching network and security system to manage this type of environment, organizations are mandated to do so, in order to adhere to and comply with business and regulatory driven compliance, security, risk, and financial goals. This represents the key challenge: How can this be achieved?