Dynamic infrastructure

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Dynamic Infrastructure is an information technology paradigm concerning the design of data centers so that the underlying hardware and software can respond dynamically to changing levels of demand in more fundamental and efficient ways than before. The paradigm is also known as Infrastructure 2.0 and Next Generation Data Center.

Top tier vendors promoting dynamic infrastructures include IBM,[1][2] Microsoft,[3] Sun,[4] Fujitsu,[5] HP [6] and Dell.[7]

The basic premise of Dynamic Infrastructures is to leverage pooled IT resources to provide flexible IT capacity, enabling the seamless, real-time allocation of IT resources in line with demand from business processes. This is achieved by using server virtualization technology to pool computing resources wherever possible, and allocating these resources on-demand using automated tools. This allows for load balancing and is a more efficient approach than keeping massive computing resources in reserve to run tasks that take place, for example, once a month, but are otherwise under-utilized.

Early examples of server-level Dynamic Infrastructures are the FlexFrame for SAP and FlexFrame for Oracle solutions introduced by Fujitsu Siemens Computers (now Fujitsu) in 2003. The FlexFrame approach is to dynamically assign servers to applications on demand, leveling peaks and enabling organizations to maximize the benefit from their IT investments.[8]

Enterprises switching to Dynamic Infrastructures can also reduce costs, improve quality-of-service and make more efficient use of energy through reducing the number of standby or under-utilized machines in their data centers. Instead of the hot spare principle of keeping second servers on standby to replace all production machines in contingencies for hardware- and software-related failures, Dynamic Infrastructures provide for failover from a smaller pool of spare machines. By reducing redundant capacity, organizations are enabled to make more efficient use of their IT budgets and devote greater proportions of their budget to physical and virtual production servers.

Dynamic Infrastructures may also be used to provide security and data protection when workloads are moved during migrations, provisioning,[9] enhancing performance or building co-location facilities.[10]

Potential benefits of Dynamic Infrastructures include enhancing performance, scalability,[11] system availability and uptime, increasing server utilization and the ability to perform routine maintenance on either physical or virtual systems all while minimizing interruption to business operations and reducing cost for IT. Dynamic Infrastructures also provide the fundamental business continuity and high availability requirements to facilitate cloud or grid computing.

Fujitsu's definition: "Dynamic Infrastructures enable customers to assign IT resources dynamically to services as required and to choose sourcing models which best fit their businesses. This brings IT flexibility and efficiency to the next level."[12]

IBM's definition: “A dynamic infrastructure integrates business and IT assets and aligns them with the overall goals of the business while taking a smarter, new and more streamlined approach to helping improve service, reduce cost, and manage risk.”[13]

For networking companies, Infrastructure 2.0 refers to the ability of networks to keep up with the movement and scale requirements of new enterprise IT initiatives, especially virtualization and cloud computing. According to companies like Cisco, F5 Networks and Infoblox, network automation and connectivity intelligence between networks, applications and endpoints will be required to reap the full benefits of virtualization and many types of cloud computing. This will require network management and infrastructure to be consolidated, enabling higher levels of dynamic control and connectivity between networks, systems and endpoints.

Need for Cloud Computing[edit]

Even in the face of global uncertainty, it is the infrastructure that continues to enable commerce and communications – the roads, networks, utilities, and technologies connecting and differentiating organizations, competitors and customers. The need therefore, is for a new type of infrastructure that:

  • Enables visibility, control and automation across all business and IT assets
  • Is highly optimized to achieve more with less
  • Addresses the information challenge
  • Leverages flexible sourcing like clouds
  • Manages and mitigates risks

Organizations need an infrastructure that can propel them forward — not hold them back. Until now, many organizations have thought of physical infrastructure and IT infrastructure as separate. This meant, for example, that airports, roadways, buildings, power plants, and oil wells were managed in one way, while datacenters, PCs, cell phones, routers, and broadband devices were managed quite differently.

To succeed in today's world of instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent assets, a new approach is needed. Now, the infrastructure of atoms and the infrastructure of bits are merging into an intelligent, global, dynamic infrastructure. This convergence of business and IT assets requires an infrastructure that can measure and manage the lifecycle of assets that exist beyond the data center, throughout an organization's entire facilities as well as between one organization and another. The range of this approach is broader than ever before, and its effect on organizations is equally far-reaching.

Benefits of having dynamic infrastructures[edit]

Dynamic infrastructures take advantage of intelligence gained across the network. By design, every dynamic infrastructure is service-oriented and focused on supporting and enabling the end users in a highly responsive way. It can utilize alternative sourcing approaches, like cloud computing to deliver new services with agility and speed.

Global organizations already have the foundation for a dynamic infrastructure that will bring together the business and IT infrastructure to create new possibilities. For example:

  • Transportation companies can optimize their vehicles' routes leveraging GPS and traffic information.
  • Facilities organizations can secure access to locations and track the movement of assets by leveraging RFID technology.
  • Production environments can monitor and manage presses, valves and assembly equipment through embedded electronics.
  • Technology systems can be optimized for energy efficiency, managing spikes in demand, and ensuring disaster recovery readiness.
  • Communications companies can better monitor usage by location, user or function, and optimize routing to enhance user experience.
  • Utility companies can reduce energy usage with a "smart grid."

Virtualized applications can reduce the cost of testing, packaging and supporting an application by 60%, and they reduced overall TCO by 5% to 7% in our model. – Source: Gartner – "TCO of Traditional Software Distribution vs. Application Virtualization" / Michael A Silver, Terrence Cosgrove, Mark A Margevicious, Brian Gammage / 16 April 2008

While green issues are a primary driver in 10% of current data center outsourcing and hosting initiatives, cost reductions initiatives are a driver 47% of the time and are now aligned well with green goals. Combining the two means that at least 57% of data center outsourcing and hosting initiatives are driven by green. – Source: Gartner – "Green IT Services as a Catalyst for Cost Optimization." / Kurt Potter / 4 December 2008

"By 2013, more than 50% of midsize organizations and more than 75% of large enterprises will implement layered recovery architectures." – Source: Gartner – "Predicts 2009: Business Continuity Management Juggles Standardization, Cost and Outsourcing Risk"). / Roberta J Witty, John P Morency, Dave Russell, Donna Scott, Rober Desisto / 28 January 2009

The key to a business and IT infrastructure that is "dynamic" is leveraging technologies, service delivery and acquisition models that optimize the infrastructure for efficiency and flexibility while transforming management to an automated service delivery and management model.

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