The move to the Cloud, coupled with enabling working from home and providing remote access to systems and data has made IT infrastructure more complex. In turn, this has meant increased costs to IT, at a time during which budgets are being reduced and businesses are under severe financial pressure.
IT has been asked to feel the pain and many organisations have investigated how they could reduce the operational costs of IT infrastructure management.
There are several ways to make IT infrastructure management less complex and less expensive, including the following:
Use cloud computing services
Cloud computing can help to reduce the complexity and cost of IT infrastructure management by providing on-demand access to computing resources, such as storage, networking, and computing power.
The downside of moving to the cloud is that new hardware, software, and resources are needed to complete the migration. Capital expenditure that is often beyond the capabilities of the organisation.
Moving to the cloud and using a managed service provider removes the need to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and allows organizations to scale their infrastructure up or down as needed. What would otherwise be CAPEX is transferred to OPEX.
Staffing costs are reduced by eliminating the need to hire expensive contractors during the migration process.
Automation can help to reduce the complexity and cost of IT infrastructure management by automating routine tasks and processes. This can include using tools to automate the provisioning, deployment, and monitoring of infrastructure components, as well as tools to automate the deployment of applications and services.
One specific area is in the implementation of Software Defined Access Networks (“SDA”).
An SDA is the first step on the way towards an Intent-Based Network (IBN). An SDA is a self-configuring, self-learning, self-healing network. An IBN is true automation, a SDA that learns, adapts and evolves by itself. IBN is only in the later stages of development, and manufacturers are working closely with Universities and Research Centres to bring it to commercial reality.
Simply put, Software Defined Access splits the network into two levels or planes – the physical level of equipment, and the software level which sits over the physical level and defines what the network looks like and how it operates. In essence, the network configures itself as the network equipment is added to it.
That then gives the opportunity to define and manage the network from a central point using software rather than configuring individual bits of equipment. This makes deployment and management of the network simpler and less resource intensive. It is therefore cheaper and more effective.
A second area is network monitoring. Many network management packages offer a monitoring service that continually scans the network for unusual activity and issues early warning alerts about suspicious activity. This releases network staff to carry out other tasks.
Adopt a DevOps culture
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and information-technology operations (Ops) to shorten the development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. DevOps aims to improve collaboration and communication between development and operations teams so that organizations can deliver applications and services at a faster pace, with more reliability and stability.
DevOps emphasizes automation, monitoring, and testing to improve the reliability, efficiency, and speed of software releases. Some of the key principles of DevOps include continuous integration, continuous delivery, and automation.
A DevOps culture emphasizes collaboration and communication between development and operations teams and can help to reduce the complexity and cost of IT infrastructure management by enabling a quicker and more efficient deployment of applications and services.
Use open source software
Open-source software (OSS) is a type of software that is released under a license that allows users to access, modify, and distribute the source code. OSS is typically developed and maintained by a community of volunteers, who collaborate and contribute to the project. OSS is often free to use, and users are free to share and modify the source code as they see fit.
One of the main advantages of OSS is that it allows for transparency and collaboration, and anyone can contribute to the development and improvement of the software. Some examples of well-known open-source software include the Linux operating system, the Apache web server, and the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
Open source software can help to reduce the complexity and cost of IT infrastructure management by providing access to a wide range of freely available tools and technologies. This can include operating systems, databases, networking tools, and more.
This may not be an option if the existing infrastructure is based on a proprietary environment such as Azure or AWS.
Optimize resource utilization
Optimizing resource utilization is the process of making the most effective use of available resources, such as time, money, materials, and personnel. This can involve a variety of strategies, such as reducing waste and inefficiency, streamlining processes, and using technology to automate and improve the allocation of resources.
Optimizing resource utilization can help organizations save money, reduce waste, and improve efficiency, which can lead to increased productivity and competitiveness. Some examples of ways to optimize resource utilization include using data and analytics to identify areas for improvement, implementing lean manufacturing or Six Sigma principles, and implementing automation and artificial intelligence to streamline processes.
It can include using tools to monitor resource utilization and identify areas where resources are being underutilized and take steps to optimize their use.
These are just a few suggestions for reducing the complexity and cost of IT infrastructure.