Agile IT infrastructure ready for the future

In order for young companies to cope with the requirements and challenges of digitization, they need a high-performance IT infrastructure. It drives the digital transformation through continuous adjustments in the company.

By competing with the competition, the design of the infrastructure plays a central role. The demands are accordingly high and varied.

Versatile, agile and flexible

Both the data centers and the attached IT infrastructure have to be convincing in many ways. It is important to get the different requirements under one roof. Efficiency is required in every way, starting with costs.

High-performance infrastructure must be fast and be able to solve complex tasks, but at the same time be scalable at any time, because they remain the basis of digital change in companies.

While flexibility is required in some areas, a necessary degree of stability and standardization is required at the same time. Without a digital strategy for the company, it becomes difficult to decide which IT environment priorities should be prioritized:

  • Innovation and time-to-market: In connection with the IT infrastructure, speed does not just mean the speed with which data can be collected and evaluated. It’s more about dealing with shorter technological innovation cycles in order to bring products and services to market before the competition.
  • Complexity: Larger amounts of data, more diverse applications, new business models or analyzes in real time: The consequences of digitization not only mean higher demands on the performance of hardware and software, they also contribute to the greater complexity of infrastructures. In order to be able to use these efficiently and effectively, the necessary specialist knowledge is required in the company.
  • Agility: Different areas of the company make different demands on IT and these are evolving. It should therefore be possible to integrate new applications and new functions quickly and easily into the existing infrastructure without hindering ongoing processes.

The IT infrastructure must be able to adapt to changes as easily as possible. It is irrelevant whether these are new requirements that have arisen as a result of internal developments, or whether it is a matter of further technical developments that are to be integrated into existing systems. Despite all the pressure to innovate, it must still be guaranteed that all systems and applications continue to run safely and stably.

Rethinking for new challenges

For these reasons, a change is required with regard to the structure of the IT infrastructure in the company. In the long term, companies can only keep pace with the digital transformation if they turn from traditional approaches to new opportunities.

This applies, for example, to the acquisition and operation of your own data centers. For smaller companies in particular, the question arises as to whether other solutions are not more practical and more cost-effective. Apart from the investment costs, this results in ongoing follow-up costs through to personnel costs for employees who maintain the hardware.

In order to be able to work cost-effectively on the one hand and to help shape digital change instead of just reacting to it, new technical solutions are therefore required. When setting up a modern IT environment, the general technological pressure to innovate should always be taken into account.

Ideally, the prerequisites for an adaptive infrastructure are created right from the start, which can be adapted to new developments and needs at any time. Against this background, rethinking also means thinking ahead for meaningful changes.

Know what is and will be important

The basis for this is precise knowledge and strategies for the company’s digital goals. In addition, it must always be about observing current and future technology trends. The important thing is not what can bring short-term or short-term success, but what will continue to determine technological and digital developments as a continuing trend:

  • Data-based companies: Data is one of the foundations of digital change and is accumulating in ever larger quantities. Even smaller companies have to deal with the question of which data is available and usable.
  • Artificial intelligence: One of the most important instruments for using available data in a competitive way is artificial intelligence (AI). It allows faster analysis methods, simplified and automated work processes.
  • User experience: AI is also involved to a significant extent in improving the user experience. Individualized customer approach, multi-channel communication and better products and services can be developed on the basis of customer data.
  • Networking: Networked work environments, Internet of Things – these aspects of digital change are now part of everyday life. Smart solutions can thus be implemented within a company, but they can also become part of products and services.

As far as the IT infrastructure is concerned, companies now have a wide range of design options. In principle, the only thing left to do is to select the solutions that are best suited to your own goals and needs. It is often worthwhile to think outside the box and consider new approaches.

Infrastructure options

Because even with tried and tested approaches, technical developments continue, which opens up new solutions. The best example of this is cloud computing, which has become an indispensable part of digital work. An obvious reason is the possibility of being able to build a high-performance infrastructure without your own (physical) data center.

The infrastructure thus becomes a service that even small companies can access conveniently and at comparatively low costs. In detail, however, the cloud offers a wide variety of options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS)

In the IAAS variant, the term infrastructure is rather narrowly defined. Users primarily receive the basic elements from the cloud provider: Computing, storage and network are supplied as virtual resources that allow basic processes such as data processing, data transport and data storage.

However, users are responsible for all other infrastructure levels themselves. From the virtual environment to the operating systems, databases and applications to the data, companies have every opportunity to design large parts of the infrastructure at their own discretion. This allows a high degree of flexibility, but requires more know-how. Installation and configuration of the operating systems and applications must also be carried out independently.

Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS)

In contrast to the IAAS solution, companies receive much more extensive support with PAAS. The provider already provides almost the entire infrastructure. Only the application and data level is managed and designed by the user himself.

In terms of use, this means a considerable simplification and even lower costs. After all, all essential functions are purchased from the same provider as a package. Conversely, however, this results in a greater dependency on this and less flexibility in the individual construction of the infrastructure.

Function-as-a-Service (FAAS)

This term refers to a comparatively young trend in which the services are provided in container form. The technology aims to make applications stable, portable and flexible at the same time. For this purpose, the applications are virtualized together with the necessary resources such as computing, storage and network in their own “containers”.

Another advantage is the high degree of flexibility that container technology allows in various areas: The individual applications and services can be adapted to new requirements at any time, while the basic components in the public cloud are not affected.

With a container management tool, companies also have the option of planning, provisioning and scaling their containers themselves. This allows an otherwise quite complex infrastructure to be managed with simple means. This makes it easier to plan both the implementation of new containers and the adaptation of existing containers.

New opportunities in digital change

What can also be shown using the example of container technology: digital change remains a complex and, above all, fast process. According to experts, the fact that many basic technologies are available as open source tools will ensure rapid further developments. In this way, questions of storage or security can be solved: as a general approach or as an individualized solution.

At the same time, “old” technologies do not have to lose their relevance as a result. Hybrid clouds or hyper-converged infrastructures are just further evidence of how diverse the further developments in the field of IT infrastructure can be.

This affects all levels, from the computing power and how it is provided to the way in which applications are used. Companies thus have every opportunity to tailor their infrastructure precisely to their goals, requirements and needs.

 

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