Adopting Infrastructure-as-code: Why now ?

By Pratyush Khare, Vice President, Systems Engineering, Asia Pacific & Japan at Pure Storage

According to a 2022 IDC Asia Pacific survey, 76% of Asian enterprises have integrated digital transformation into a formal strategy for business resilience, indicating the region’s commitment towards building future-ready enterprises. While the forward-looking outlook is commendable, it also brings a unique set of challenges — as more enterprises adopt the latest technologies, IT infrastructure management becomes more complex.

Provisioning the infrastructure resources required to build and manage applications can often be unpredictable and this results in bottlenecks and performance issues across the entire environment but especially so in one key area, data storage.

Rather than succumbing to the complex, highly manual and time-consuming nature of IT management, new solutions and management frameworks can help to create more simplicity and ease. Modern infrastructure that emulates a cloud operating model is capable of prioritising flexibility, agility and speed, all while enabling reliability and performance. What initially began with the prolific adoption of infrastructure as-a-service has now paved the way for infrastructure-as-code.

An infrastructure-as-code platform integrates self-service IT experiences and scale-out, on-demand solutions that rise above physical architecture limitations. Essentially, automated infrastructure provisioning enables organisations to adopt a cloud operating model, which simplifies the configuration process; delivering consistency, reliability and speed to IT teams and storage consumers.

Accelerating through digital transformation

The pace of digital transformation has rapidly accelerated since the pandemic, with 1 in 3 companies expected to generate more than 30% of their revenues from digital products and services by 2023 — compared to 1 in 5 in 2020. Organisations want a new experience from their on-prem infrastructure to better support the agility needed to quickly pivot with unexpected changes. Thus, IT modernisation needs to address IT infrastructure while enabling simple and intuitive digital experiences. The challenge, however, lies in avoiding heavy upfront costs and expensive overprovisioning within organisations.

Many enterprises are leveraging self-service IT solutions with a cloud service model to alleviate overworked service desks and achieve greater efficiency, saving them both time and money. By 2027, the storage-as-a-service market is predicted to reach a market value of US$ 49.54 billion, with Asia-Pacific significantly contributing to the growth through government project launches.

Known for ease-of-use, these solutions allow users to access the resources they need without the assistance of a service representative. On the flip side, they empower customers to better manage cash flow with the flexibility of only paying for what they use. Additionally, with automation of operations, applications and data management, organisations are able to maximise optionality across on-prem, edge and hyperscaler offerings. 

How to enable infrastructure-as-code

Enterprise storage must evolve to provide a storage-as-code experience for both consumers and storage administrators. This means automating the tedious storage management functions while also enabling a simple-scale out solution where physical architecture limitations do not bind storage pools. With AI-driven workload placement, mobility and rebalance, storage pools are continuously optimised, which ensures that your storage platform is always readily available. When a cloud-like operating model comes into play, the storage pool can provide nearly limitless scalability, embracing different models of arrays, media types and capacity footprints. 

A key consideration for this type of solution is drawing the line between the role of the consumer and the role of the storage administrator. While the administrator should have access to a centralised management system, the consumer should be the one who builds applications to best suit their  performance and storage needs. This is a crucial step in emulating the cloud operating model. 

Real-world implications 

Infrastructure-as-code pushes cloud computing to its fullest potential, especially for developers. As organisations scale and push boundaries amid digital transformation, it is evident that companies who empower their innovators are the ones that come out on top. With developers’ time now freed up from long manual backend requests, cloud-like solutions are a new opportunity for companies to tap into to boost innovation. Cloud is an operating model and not necessarily a destination in this regard.

Among the biggest complaints, storage specialists are often flooded by IT ticket requests and continuous back-and-forths. However, fast and efficient resource provisioning enables developers to maximise their time and productivity, allowing them to focus on what they do best – innovating and creating – while storage specialists maintain control over the environment and “catalogue” of storage resources they make available to the business units.

Ultimately, the self-service experience of the cloud plays a significant role in transforming the experience for developers on the day-to-day. 

Looking ahead 

In short, adopting an infrastructure-as-code solution easily benefits and improves an organisation’s cloud environment. From embracing a cloud-like operating model for more speed and agility, to transforming the role of the developer, to achieving business objectives and managing costs – this model is here to stay.