Enterprise agility and operational effectiveness are largely dependent on the responsiveness, scalability, and resiliency of the digital infrastructure used to enable mission-critical applications, data operations, and connectivity demanded by customers, partners, and employees.
During periods of uncertainty – disrupted supply chains, rising inflation, geopolitical instability, energy price spikes, the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change – agility and resiliency are especially critical.
Recognizing these new enterprise imperatives, and the need for enterprises to adopt distributed-by-design approaches, International Data Corporation (IDC) has updated its Future of Digital Infrastructure framework.
Initially introduced in 2020, the updated framework captures the full complexity and interconnectedness of today’s on-premises, edge, and public cloud infrastructure resources.
Built on three core pillars, the framework helps technology buyers and vendors understand how successful digital-first strategies are built on critical digital infrastructure investments across dedicated on-premises datacenters, edge locations, and public cloud resources.
- Cloud technologies serve as the foundation for platforms and systems used to build and deliver cloud services and enable delivery using a variety of shared public cloud service, managed service, dedicated infrastructure, and software-as-a-service models. Cloud technologies include modern computing, storage, and networking, as well as software for infrastructure automation and observability; data management and mobility; security; and are built for on-demand scalability, software-defined control, API enabled integration, and usage or consumption-based metering.
- Autonomous operations emphasises the value of software-defined automation based on an infrastructure control plane design and informed by AI/ML-powered analytics and policy-based governance. Autonomous operations enable self-healing, self-driving and self-service infrastructure access, configuration, deployment, and Day 2 operations, along with on-demand workload scaling and end-to-end infrastructure resiliency.
- Ubiquitous consumption empowers digitally driven businesses to take a holistic approach to assessing and leveraging all available deployment options across digital infrastructure ecosystems. Ubiquitous consumption provides seamless experiences to end users and business units and provides an opportunity for IT to adopt as-a-service consumption and support models as a part of digital infrastructure IT strategy that aligns spending with business outcomes and shifts routine activities such as capacity planning, lifecycle support, infrastructure monitoring, and cost optimisation to equipment and software vendors.
Moving to distributed-by-design architectures
As enterprises migrate more workloads to public clouds, providers of on-premises infrastructure are responding by investing in automation and subscription models to provide an equivalent, cost-effective on-demand experience.
However, beneath a thin veneer of service request systems and performance monitoring tools, most of these public and private cloud deployments operate as silos with limited workflow or data integration.
IDC’s framework highlights the need for distributed-by-design architectures that support more business flexibility and agility than can be provided by siloed hybrid or multicloud strategies.
“Successful future enterprises will depend heavily on digital infrastructure architectures and management strategies optimized for a new generation of highly distributed workers and data intensive applications and services,” explains Mary Johnston Turner, research vice-president: Future of Digital Infrastructure Agenda program at IDC. “The Future of Digital Infrastructure demands environments that are ‘distributed by design’ with the expectation that they will be highly automated, agile, and workload aware. IT and line-of-business leaders will need to proactively collaborate and align investments with digital business priorities and KPIs.”