Emerging Trends Impacting Today’s Infrastructure and Operations
COVID-19 has transformed how Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) teams must operate. The Gartner® report, “Top Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2021,” notes “The rapid and forced enablement of remote working due to COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in existing and entrenched processes and workstreams.” That shift to increased remote work means I&O needs to support a more distributed workforce with enterprise-grade solutions.
With IT staff stretched for time thanks to COVID-19-induced infrastructure changes, Gartner has identified top trends that are having an impact on I&O teams. Three of the trends they cover are “Anywhere Operations”, “Optimal Infrastructure” and “Operational Continuity”.
“Anywhere Operations” leverage the benefits of flexible operations
As work has moved out of offices, enterprises have been forced to support increasingly decentralized operations. Moving forward, organizations will want to ensure they can effectively support operations at any location, with an ability to operate effectively on-premises, in the public cloud and at the edge.
Consequently, the goal of I&O leaders, Gartner says, should be to “make digital the default experience and remote the default delivery model by prioritizing five remote-work enablement technologies: collaboration and productivity, secure access, cloud and edge infrastructure, quantifying digital experience and automation of endpoint operations.” I&O teams should also implement workflows that are effective regardless of a user’s location.
“Optimal Infrastructure” means no more one-size-fits-all
Gartner says, “I&O teams can no longer expect to build one-size-fits-all infrastructure solutions.” “Different infrastructure choices — such as cloud, edge or newer technologies like computational storage — may apply to different locations and workloads,” Gartner further notes.
I&O needs to determine what infrastructure works best for each of their workloads, and ensure features such as identity management and network access work effectively across a range of solutions. For each infrastructure type, organizations should perform cost-benefit analyses that take into account “specific use-case applicability and available team skills to manage specific infrastructure types,” according to Gartner.
“Operational Continuity” considers all external factors
“IT services must be continuous, regardless of external factors,” according to Gartner. For instance, I&O teams should implement automation and zero-touch technologies, so data centers can be managed remotely in the event staff are unable to enter them.
There are other benefits to boosting operational resilience, including greater efficiency and lower costs. However, Gartner notes, there are also challenges to operational continuity, “as it requires introducing new tools and processes, it may increase complexity, and it can be difficult to justify to the business.”
Gartner recommends that I&O teams should assess their continuity plans and requirements based on business priorities, plan for worst-case scenarios, and ensure operations can continue if those scenarios become reality. They also recommend looking into service-based disaster recovery (DR) options if the team does not have the time or skills to build their own DR solution.
These trends and others are detailed in the full Gartner report
The aftermath of COVID-19 and the proliferation of cloud and edge technologies have resulted in employees and customers expecting a seamless digital experience wherever they are. Tracking new trends and assessing emerging technologies have become increasingly important for infrastructure and operations leaders seeking to optimize their infrastructure. Advice from experts like Gartner can help I&O teams stay on top of the rapidly evolving IT infrastructure landscape.
Read the full Gartner report for a comprehensive description of the top I&O trends, including “Core Modernization”, “Distributed Cloud”, and “Critical Skills vs. Critical Roles”.
Download “Top Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2021”.
Gartner, Top Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2021, Jeffrey Hewitt, 30 April 2021
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