With all the IT advances taking place these days, it’s hard to keep up with everything. But one area that is undergoing a profound transformation and deserves attention from solution providers is IT infrastructure.
Whether you’re talking about hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, software-defined networks or anything as a service, infrastructure management is evolving from a siloed, complex model to a more centralised, software-centric approach with business agility as its primary objective. Solution providers need to understand the changes and learn the new technologies in order to stay relevant and find new revenue sources. Infrastructure, after all, is the foundation for all things IT.
Here are some infrastructure developments you should know about:
Hyper-convergence, to make it simple, is infrastructure in a box. All the components that typically make up a network’s infrastructure – compute, storage, networking and virtualisation – are managed in an appliance from a single vendor. While this approach simplifies management, dependence on a single vendor for hyper-converged systems could be a turnoff for some. However, there is serious potential for solution providers to build robust service offerings around the technology.
Edge computing shifts the processing of data-intensive applications away from the core of the data centre to the edges of the network, where interactions with the cloud, mobile assets and social media take place. This approach will gain popularity as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands and exponentially increases data volumes that, handled under traditional models, would otherwise overwhelm servers and data centres. Solution providers interested in building an IoT practice should give edge computing a serious look.
Software-defined networks (SDN) move many of the functions previously handled by individual hardware components, such as network switches or firewalls, to centralised applications that control traffic, load balancing and other tasks. The goal is to increase agility and make the environment more responsive to changing needs. Virtualisation has played a fundamental role in making data centres software-centric. Network integrators and solution providers with virtualisation experience may find a path to new business in SDN.
The Open Compute Project is a collaboration among various IT players, including Facebook, Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Cisco, with the goal of sharing ideas and working together to “collectively develop the most efficient computing infrastructure possible,” according to the project’s website. Solution providers should keep an eye on the project’s developments because of its potential implications for future infrastructure management.
XaaS stands for “anything as a service,” and refers to the concept of turning any IT function into a cloud-based consumable service. This includes IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), which transfers data centre and infrastructure functions from a local environment to the cloud. IaaS is already a decent income source for solution providers, and as more functions are turned into the service model, more and more profit opportunities will emerge.
Some of these infrastructure trends may fizzle while others take off, but no matter how infrastructure ultimately evolves, it behooves providers to stay on top of developments and identify opportunities to grow their businesses. To stay informed on this and other IT-related topics, join our Channel Partner Program.