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Come 2017, Web-scale IT will be an architectural approach in 50 % of global enterprises

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BANGALORE: Come 2017, Web-scale IT will be an architectural approach found operating in 50 percent of global enterprises, up from less than 10 percent in Fiscal 2013, as stated by Gartner Inc.

Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that affords the competences of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting by way of rethinking positions across several dimensions.

“Large cloud services providers such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., are reinventing the way in which IT services can be delivered,” alleged Cameron Haight, research VP at Gartner. Supplementing that – “Their capabilities go beyond scale in terms of sheer size to also include scale as it pertains to speed and agility. If enterprises want to keep pace, then they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers.”

“Web-scale IT looks to change the IT value chain in a systemic fashion,” held Haight.  Volumnising that – “Data centers are designed with an industrial engineering perspective that looks for every opportunity to reduce cost and waste. This goes beyond redesigning facilities to be more energy efficient to also include in-house design of key hardware components such as servers, storage and networks. Web-oriented architectures allow developers to build very flexible and resilient systems that recover from failure more quickly.”

Haight purported that open and freely available blueprints of data center facilities and associated server, storage and networking hardware are lowering costs and disrupting the traditional IT vendor landscape.

“IT organizations have historically had a limited number of vendors from which to source their hardware, whether the need was for servers, storage devices or network equipment. This began to change when large, cloud services providers, because of their extreme needs for scale and cost control, began to design and assemble infrastructure components,” maintained Haight.  Delineating that -“These devices were different than those sold to traditional enterprises, because they did not have some of the basic features often available in commercial products.”

Notwithstanding of the cloud services company, a common element amongst all these devices was an organizational requirement to run an open-source OS, not only to reduce costs, but also to increase the control of IT environments.

This brings several upshots for the traditional enterprise. First, and perhaps most significantly, an open approach offers more options for hardware (and data center) equipment design and procurement – where scale-out architectures make sense. Whereas Gartner anticipates that traditional suppliers will provide solutions aligned with these blueprints, new providers will also have offerings.

With the server hegemony broken, enterprises will have a chance to power the economies of scale designed into these systems – not just from a pricing perspective, but correspondingly from an operations expense position. Granting the fact that – this cost is difficult to measure; a novel sense of innovation is beginning to suffuse the industry that likely will have additional benefits further down the line for large cloud services firms, as well as traditional enterprises.

Simultaneously, loosely coupled, Web-oriented architecture (WOA)-based software architectures are enabling development teams to increasingly operate autonomously, while improving overall application resiliency. The Writing on the wall reads that the IT organizations must rethink how applications are designed if they are to meet the requirements of Web-scale IT environments. These requirements read in the order as – scaling performance proportionally with the addition of resources, adapting to the needed degree of business change, remaining resilient in the face of infrastructure fragility and being operationally efficient as the size of the system grows.

To be able to achieve these requirements, the architecture of the application and the “glue” or technology that binds multiple Web-scale services together must be examined. By way of respect to the applications, enterprise architects and developers must consider a wide range of approaches to meet Web-scale needs.

Taken together, a fresh application and architectural approach puts enterprises on the path of design for operations. This means that having examined how to improve performance and resiliency from the start, IT organizations can begin to rethink their operational support.

Merging new-fangled software architectures with DevOps-style approaches can become the catalysts to improve an IT organization’s ability to adapt to change. Consequently, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 25 percent of global enterprise CIOs will have had previous involvement in corporate Web-scale IT initiatives, up from less than five percent in Fiscal 2013.

The influence of DevOps on IT culture, tools, processes and organizational structure is resulting in the acceleration of application delivery and an environment of continuous experimentation.

“DevOps is causing organizations to rethink much of the conventional wisdom of IT operations,” states Haight.

“Historically, enterprise IT has been focused on managing risk – particularly for companies that reside in regulated industries. However, the major DevOps underpinnings, such as automation, are enabling these same enterprises to realize they can be fast and ‘safe.’ Embracing risk is not as risky as it sounds with a DevOps mindset. Having the architecture of the application being more resilient in the first place enables IT operations teams to implement and support leaner and more agile processes that might otherwise be viewed as inappropriate for conservatively minded organizations.”


Jawed Akhtar

A Journalist by interest and a Music Enthusiast by passion. Wedded to Mother Nature, Jawed indulges his aesthetics in travelling and reading books of varied genres. Having covered News stories for top Dailies in his formative years, that is, he is game for tryst with Technology at Techmagnifier.

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