Current IT trends, such as cloud computing, hybrid IT, automation, AI, and 5G, are transforming network infrastructures and how they’re managed. To remain successful in a changing industry, IT managers must have the proper management tools and technology in place to support these IT trends while maintaining full control over data center operations and offering a broad range of IT-based services — from traditional critical infrastructure to emerging new digital services. Let’s take a closer look.
Cloud-first or hybrid IT strategies increase the complexity of infrastructures. With the cloud shift, its components become more dynamic, volatile, and short-lived. While this means the amount of information about the infrastructure grows, the validity of the information decreases. Infrastructure managers need to adopt an integrated documentation solution for greater transparency into these complex infrastructures.
A paradigm shift is expected here — away from the traditional requirement of documenting everything down to the last detail toward a situational, benefit-oriented documentation. Otherwise, there’s risk of getting lost in counterproductive micromanagement. As part of their hybrid infrastructure management strategies, infrastructure managers will have to expand the depth of documentation within their hybrid infrastructures to be able to control data center operations effectively and make the right decisions. Out-of-the-box documentation tools from the cloud offer the flexibility required for this.
An important trend in the coming years is the further development of cloud offerings from infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) to complete functional offerings, such as software as a service (SaaS) and function as a service (FaaS). As a result, infrastructure managers will shift their focus from the computing power and its components (server, storage, databases) to the function and business benefits.
This is accompanied by a fundamental change in infrastructure management for both users and providers. In the future, cloud providers will increasingly deal with topics, such as auto documentation, autonomous IT infrastructure ops, and virtualization. Users, on the other hand, will spend more time integrating and managing external services and managing cloud contracts. The challenge for the user company will be to maintain a transparent and consolidated overview of all business-relevant IT services — both self-operated and external ones — that are integrated into their own operations from the cloud. Implementing comprehensive infrastructure management solutions that can map the hybrid composition of modern infrastructures is business critical.
Networking with the 5G cellular standard is becoming more and more relevant for the IoT and Industry 4.0. In 2021, the first “test factory locations” will be expanded to include production. In order to achieve the necessary 5G connectivity with high bandwidths and short latency times, the focus is on expanding the network, antenna, and radio mast infrastructures.
To ensure the bandwidths can be quickly adapted to acute needs, there will be a dynamic boost in infrastructure management, which can primarily be achieved through network virtualization and the automated provision of resources and bandwidths. Geographic information systems also play a central role in efficient inventory management of network infrastructure components and cables and are becoming essential for network infrastructure managers.
Millions of companies have had to support home office workspaces to keep operations running smoothly and maintain productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to reduce the workload for IT departments and service managers when setting up new remote workplaces and services, companies will increasingly rely on mobile workplace services and, for example, introduce service catalogs. In this context, classic IT documentation remains important as it enables components and processes to be grouped into standardized services, which can then be largely automated using workflow management and integrated order management.
While each of these IT trends will affect companies in various industries differently, the new challenges they bring to infrastructure management will essentially remain the same. High-performance and flexible infrastructures are the basis for all digital business processes and applications, be it smart cities, Industry 4.0, or 5G.
Integrated infrastructure management software solutions can help companies achieve seamless documentation, planning, and management of their complex and hybrid IT, telecommunications, and data center infrastructures — from the physical level to business service — through a uniform data model regardless of manufacturer. With the necessary transparency and tools to plan and manage the IT, data center, and telecommunications landscape more easily, companies will be able to eliminate faults more quickly, optimally synchronize resources and requirements, and meet changing demands for value-added expanded services.