It is easy to see how rapidly IT is evolving. As was foretold, technology continues to change at an increasing pace. Emerging technologies which increase the amount and relevance of information are driving businesses to explore more agile and efficient methods of IT service delivery.
IT supply frameworks that are based on traditional “Design>Build>Run” phases now struggle to keep pace with the need for faster delivery. The FastWorks idioms of “failing fast” and “Pivoting” become constrained by process heavy SDLCs and deficiencies in the economy of reuse. Additionally, opportunities with virtualized infrastructures and cloud provisioning have changed the IT landscape to closer resemble that of software development. The idea of “Infrastructure as Code” offers agile provisioning, but calls for the same diligence as application code.
Design>Build>Run worked well in the 90s and in the early part of this century managed to get us by when SOA became more widely adopted. Now, cloud infrastructures and services are promising greater agility. However, many businesses are constrained by their older IT delivery methods. The IT beast gets hungrier every day and we must re-examine the sources of our constraints and adjust accordingly. Service orientation is becoming more granular. Services and micro-services increase agility, but need to be managed.
Reduction in rework offers help. When a need arises, utilizing existing solutions (code and infrastructure patterns) reduces cycle times for builds. When services are smaller and more loosely coupled, they are adaptable to a wider variety of use cases and repetitive tasks are more easily automated. Service definition allows adoption to happen quicker and with fewer resources. For infrastructure code, this allows for rapid provisioning of compute environments. Additionally, the cloud and virtualization provides compute resources that can have temporary lifespans and at low cost.
The design element can be replaced by simply conceiving a solution based upon building blocks that are already available. Build becomes an exercise in combining or orchestrating these components. Run is now consuming the solutions to their intended purpose. Design>Build>Run evolves to Conceive>Combine>Consume. A newer paradigm that is lean and agile. IT Throughput is more nimble, providing the business greater value.
Presenting smaller pieces of infrastructure code that is frequently compiled in similar manner will further offer rapid deployment by allowing parameter driven blueprints or templates. Complex environments may be requested and provisioned in an automated and on-demand fashion, avoiding the bottlenecks of redesign and re-build. Likewise, integration methods between provisioned environments is simplified and easily automated because of their known configuration.
For business, the goal will be for the new IT to empower stakeholders rather than control them. IT will move from a cost-center to the value-center that it was intended to be. Infrastructure as code will alter the role of the enterprise architect from solution designers to solution orchestrators. Business will be able to gain more using less.