By Modeen Malick, Principle Systems Engineer at Commvault
New application architectures such as Kubernetes and microservices have numerous benefits and can add significant value to a business. While enterprise adoption is currently low, it is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. Containers, a form of Operating System (OS) and Kubernetes, used to manage containerised workloads and services, are set to become the development platforms of choice. The automation and orchestration they deliver can help businesses build applications that deliver both scale and velocity. For businesses looking to begin their journey toward microservices, a dual strategic approach is required. By incorporating the development of programmable infrastructure as well as investment into IT staff, organisations will be empowered to leverage the benefits of new application architectures.
The foundation of digital transformation
Programmable infrastructure uses software development tools and methodology to enable developers to dynamically request resources to support applications, including storage, compute and networking. Using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), systems are able to both make and respond to requests for services and functions.
Programmability forms the foundation of digital transformation, specifically with regard to infrastructure and microservices-based applications. It ensures that resources are correctly provisioned to support applications, and that they are secure and compliant.
While most modern infrastructure supports the use of APIs, they need to hook into all layers of the IT stack to be effective. For containers, microservices and Kubernetes to be effective, provisioning needs to be agile, and each layer of the IT stack needs to interact with the others if necessary.
The people pillar
The simplification and automation of provisioning is, in fact, supported by strict policies and configurations that must be in place to ensure this is done correctly, securely and in a compliant manner. Domain expertise in storage, networking and security is essential to ensure that these details are in place behind the scenes to enable microservices to function seamlessly with each element of the IT stack.
It is also critical to ensure that IT professionals are empowered to leverage the advantages of
programmable infrastructure, and that both IT and business leaders drive the process changes required to support new application architectures. This requires significant investment into people and appropriate training.
While technology is a crucial element of digital transformation, it is important to remember that it is an enabler, and it is the people and the processes that drive the journey. Training needs to play a strategic role, to ensure that skills development is in line with business priorities and objectives, to maximise impact and returns.
Infrastructure and training are critical dual elements in the successful implementation of microservices, but businesses cannot afford to forget that new technologies inevitably alter workflows and processes. In addition, the speed of change around microservices applications is much faster. New processes also require training, support and communication.
With modern application architectures, Kubernetes, containers and microservices, businesses are empowered to build new applications quickly, add or change features based on business demands and deliver on the imperative of digital transformation. However, without first addressing infrastructure and investing in staff, these benefits will not be realised. The success or otherwise of digital transformation hinges off a dual strategic approach of infrastructure and people, supported by appropriate technology.