Composable Infrastructure: a new approach to IT risk management

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Heard the one about the CIO and the dog? So this CIO is talking to her boss, and she says, “You know, I really only need two things to run IT: a person and a dog.” The CEO says “OK, so what does the person do?” The CIO: “They make sure everything’s set up right and all the dials are set properly.” The CEO asks: “And what’s the dog for?” CIO: “The dog’s there to make sure nobody adjusts the dials.”

Well, it’s an exaggeration, of course, but still, an apt picture of a common approach to IT risk management – and one that’s entirely understandable. Given the fragility and complexity of the infrastructure at many organizations, the “dog” – change control – is key. It’s the IT systems, after all, that keep the business running.

But building a fence around the infrastructure introduces critical consequences that won’t serve businesses in a highly competitive landscape. One is the risk of becoming too rigid to seize opportunities fast enough; another, being blindsided by a competitor that appears on the scene with a radical new business model driven by next-gen apps.

Clouded by risk

In today’s DevOps world, more people want to get their hands on those dials, and if they can’t they may turn to public cloud to access infrastructure. This makes enforcing compliance and security policies for the cloud, to say the least, challenging. And it introduces a big potential for unmanaged risks. More people are writing apps these days, but if IT is not involved, they may not understand what’s needed to ensure good resilience and availability. For example, if you write a cloud native application, you want to write it in such a way that it understands the resilience of the hardware, and that it can run in multiple availability zones.

On-premises infrastructure brings its own risks, of course. There’s the financial risk with overprovisioning and underutilization. When you deploy the infrastructure for an application, you may not know exactly the right amount of resources you need. If you buy more than you need then you've over-spent, and the resources are underutilized. If you buy less, you can’t meet the demands of your application.

Then there’s human error, which accounts for more than 20 percent of outages. What’s more, when humans don’t configure infrastructure correctly, they can inadvertently create security holes. If your systems happen to be complex to configure – perhaps requiring changes across multiple technology silos by multiple teams – errors are inevitable.

Time for a new home for the dog

So what kind of infrastructure would let CIOs give the dog a better home? It would be one that provides solid change control and all the predictability of traditional IT, while also providing cloud-like speed for the new world of mobile, big data, and cloud native apps. It would allocate resources efficiently. It would simplify and integrate management, reducing error-prone manual processes and automating IT operations.

In short, it would be a Composable Infrastructure – one that turns compute, storage and fabric into fluid pools of resources that you can effortlessly compose and recompose to meet each application’s changing needs. Composable Infrastructure’s software-defined intelligence provides a single management interface to integrate silos and reduce complexity. A unified API provides full programmability – a single interface to configure, provision, update, and diagnose the infrastructure. You can compose the resources for an application with a single line of code.

Composable Infrastructure is a big step towards supporting modern business applications while giving you far more flexibility, accessibility, and control. It enables you to eliminate unmanaged cloud risks and take command within your own secure data center.

Learn more about Hewlett Packard Enterprise Synergy, HPE’s first instantiation of Composable Infrastructure.

For more on how composability can help your organization, check out this on-demand interactive webinar – Composable Infrastructure: A new way to architect your data center.

You may also want to download our e-books (each requires a quick and easy registration):

Top Ten Reasons to Move to Composable Infrastructure

Composable Infrastructure for Dummies

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
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