October 30, 2019

Meet composable infrastructure

Meet composable infrastructure

For years, Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) has been the next big thing in data centres. Promising to get rid of the inefficient, low performance, and extremely expensive legacy SAN infrastructure most companies employ, HCI leverages the CPU and memory resources within a cluster of servers to turn it into a collective storage pool that a business can access, replacing traditional infrastructure with an efficient, high performance, pay as you grow storage and virtualisation set-up.

However, the real-world business environment has demanded that this concept evolves to keep pace with business needs, and the end result has been composable infrastructure.  Composable infrastructure is designed around three essential principles: Fluid pools of infrastructure resources; Software-Defined Intelligence; and unified APIs.

In essence, what this means is that compute, storage and network devices have been conflated into a single system where resources can be provisioned as needed, depending on what different workloads require for optimum performance. Much like the public cloud, which allowed businesses to gain the value of resources being requested and provisioned from a shared capacity, composable infrastructure is an on-premise solution, sitting in the enterprise data centre, that allows companies to pool resources in one location and share them over the network.

Offering a single management interface that can plug into other programming elements, composable infrastructure provides a scalable infrastructure foundation for modern hybrid IT approaches offering a single platform for traditional IT or more fluid next-gen services. Leveraging a combination of virtualisation, container and bare-metal deployments, composable infrastructure provides the capacity and flexibility to cater for future innovation.

Making the modern IT environment work

In light of modern business demands, composable infrastructure enables IT, allowing tech teams to support two different models for delivering applications. The fluid, next-gen services that need flexible, dev-friendly kit that can be set up quickly, and change easily as often as is needed, are balanced with the more static and conservative mission-critical workloads that require stability, predictability and reliability.

Composable infrastructure is the new foundation – the building blocks to bringing together these seemingly opposing use cases by supporting both the traditional and the more modern workloads, letting IT operate like a cloud provider to lines of business, maximising speed, agility and efficiency of both infrastructure and operations to consistently meet SLAs and provide the predictable performance needed to support all these differing workloads. This eliminates the on- and off-premises management silos while keeping security and compliance in mind.

Composable infrastructure aggregates all stranded or unused storage into pools to meet the needs of any workload, enabling IT to quickly scale up and scale down storage needs as workloads dictate.

Composable infrastructure lets IT quickly assemble infrastructure building blocks using software-defined resource templates. These templates can easily be composed and then recomposed based on the demands of applications. By maximising resource utilisation, IT can eliminate overprovisioning and stranded infrastructure while ensuring right-sized resource allocation for each of the applications the company is running. This enables customers to spend less money on infrastructure and significantly increase the speed to provision infrastructure.

Stability and control

Composability, via the software-defined foundation, is where the true magic happens. When designed and planned right, automated management software takes you from first system boot to full service in a fraction of the usual time. This is further enabled by intelligent software performing automated discovery and provisioning of all available compute, storage, and fabric resources into fluid resource pools. These can be aggregated and disaggregated to meet workload and application needs – dynamically or based on schedules or triggers. Template-driven provisioning helps reduce risk exposure as template-driven provisioning ensures governance and policy compliance.

Application development can be accelerated by giving DevOps teams more control over their environments. Fluid resource pools allow developers to execute non-disruptive changes and to continuously refine applications to meet customer needs as they arise. Developers can request exactly the amount of compute, storage, and networking fabric their applications need, directly from code. The unified API aggregates physical resources just like virtual and public cloud resources, giving developers true infrastructure-as-code capabilities.

By providing a simplified single infrastructure model across the enterprise, composable infrastructure offers less overall complexity by reducing management, operations and knowledge silos while encouraging open skills flow and collaborative teams. In short, composable infrastructure simplifies the continuous service delivery of IT. When workloads align with business demands, along with high availability designs and configurations, and when automation provides efficient infrastructure management, composable infrastructure offers resilient systems and reduces unplanned downtime – especially when paired with proactive maintenance and AI-driven operations.

Leading the revolution

With composable infrastructure, you can dynamically and easily integrate into existing heterogeneous data centres and connect seamlessly to existing networks and SANs. For example, HPE Synergy remains the flagship composable solution, providing an offering for enterprises who want to simplify and automate their compute, SDS, HCI and software-defined solutions.

Abstracting operational minutia, replacing it with high-level, automated operations, composable infrastructure allows change operations, such as updating firmware, adding additional storage to a service, or modifying network connectivity, to be automatically implemented via a template, significantly reducing manual interaction and human error. IT can configure the entire infrastructure for development, testing, and production environments using one interface that is implemented in one simple step.

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