As the application development space evolves, programmable infrastructure is opening up a new world of innovation with limitless possibilities. Today, enterprises are deploying a hybrid transformation strategy as a vital keystone for successful digital adoption, with programmable infrastructure (or infrastructure as a code) playing a critical role in making these strategies work in the real world.
The adoption of hybrid cloud heralds the next generation of innovation for the developers community where they can conceptualize new applications that harness the power of cloud. Interestingly, this approach goes beyond as a service and self-service marketplaces which are already being adopted as a larger part of the next-generation cloud transformation journey. This new approach enables customers to fully digitalize the process for managing the entire lifecycle of infrastructure, while proving its viability and business value. It also helps to eliminate complex manual and error-prone systems with automation, minimize niche resource skills requirements and automate processes involving routine tasks.
Here are 5 critical levers to be considered while designing the constructs for the programmable infrastructure framework:
- Design APIs (Application Programming Interface are a critical element and help to access and manage resources. A well-defined set of APIs enable steadiness and precision while calling API services and opens ups the possibility to interact through programming language.
- The right tools-set – The right selection of tools can make or break the successful execution of programmable infrastructure constructs. Tools help to define infra-as-a-code, process the model which initiates and call the appropriate APIs to perform required actions into an environment. These tooling requirements can largely be met in two contexts - by leveraging the native tools capabilities provided by the respective CSPs for their services and through open source or enterprise level tools available in the market in this space. The advantage of leveraging the open source tools is that they provide more flexibility in terms of supporting a combination of multiple environments, like private, hybrid or multi-cloud strategy. This is critical to any large transformation program for organizations today.
- Skilled resources – The true success of any program or script hugely depends on the skills and programming expertise of the developers. The team that is creating the solution must have core development skills and good scripting and conceptual knowledge.
- Repository control –A single-source-of-truth, storing the code into a central repository is the key step in a programmable infrastructure strategy, enabling collaboration and teamwork, versioned branching and rollback capabilities. This is one of the major cultural shifts for any conventional organization and operations teams.
- Testing framework and release strategy – This is a mechanism to decrease the risk of failure. The framework defines success criteria or KPIs for the processes which are being automated, how the code should be tested in a non-critical environment, and the processes and tools used for audit and risk compliance. It is a pre-requisition to pulling other related components into a well-defined process which facilitates quality, minimizes risk and increases agility in a programmable infrastructure environment.
In conclusion, programmable infrastructure is a critical breakthrough and a technological disruption that the IT industry has already seen in the past. It also presents an opportunity to drastically change the perception of the infrastructure deployment process and eliminate the complexity of hardware. This will enable the speed and agility to align with fast emerging IT trends and will help the organization to be future ready.