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From legacy processes to DevOps: Why IT infrastructure is critical for business agility


Get IT infrastructure right to ensure your business is agile enough to adapt in an ever-changing environment.


From new mobile apps to global supply chains, today’s business environment is changing faster than ever. With IT infrastructure so central to modern business operations, it’s a good time for IT and business leaders to review existing processes and work towards a future where data processing is a driver for growth and new developments.


The ability to drive change is often encumbered by the legacy of inflexible IT infrastructure and processes which depend heavily on complex, tightly-coupled systems. For example, if a business requirement was to extend a back office application to the Web, a whole chain of events need to occur – from storage provisioning to application testing – for the project to succeed.


Many enterprises are still dealing with complex infrastructure that is difficult to change due to extensive use of traditional platforms and “heavyweight” applications. These applications are now being addressed with micro services; however, with such systems being connected to many other applications and data sources a legacy application is difficult to modernise.


The other factor is people. If an organisation is looking to change, it often needs to change people and adopt new approaches like Agile and DevOps.


Table 1: The many IT components of a typical business application.

IT component

Business process requirements

Server and storage equipment

Whether on-premises or in the cloud, server and storage must be provisioned and managed (including capacity planning) to support the business information system.

Server operating systems

The platform that makes it all happen. Subscriptions, maintenance and support is needed.

Databases

A requirement for managing structured data, along with  licensing and support requirements. Often there is a business case for data integration.

Web and app serving

The software which serves the application itself. Usually web-based, but many legacy “fat client” apps still exist. App serving can be quite specific to the type of application and requires ongoing support and optimisation.

Applications

At the top is the application itself. This is what the business views as the primary outcome of an IT project. All applications require support and integration with business processes.

Usability and testing

Often overlooked, usability and performance testing from end-users is critical to optimising IT infrastructure and getting the best outcome for the business.



As this list describes, the business depends so much on IT infrastructure and if any component is restrictive to change, a larger project or program of work can be delayed. This is why IT infrastructure – regardless of where it is hosted – is critical for business agility. With a modern, flexible infrastructure available to the business, applications can be provisioned faster and data integration can deliver more immediate value.


The risks of doing nothing, or not taking control of IT infrastructure options,can result in losing opportunities to generate new business and being drawn into a threshold the business cannot overcome with a massive new investment.


Discovering DevOps

Countless methodologies have been developed to help improve how organisations deliver new projects. In recent years the concept of “DevOps” has risen to prominence as a method for reducing the gap between how software is developed and how it is operated in production.


DevOps is not a product or a service, it is a process whereby people who develop a product collaborate with those who managed and use the product. And what is exciting about DevOps is its potential as a broader project management and quality control methodology outside its roots in software development.


DevOps is becoming more relevant to business leaders as its culture can be applied to any product, process or service. DevOps promotes rapid changes and rapid improvements thus improving overall quality levels. It is time for IT and business leaders to discover how DevOps in the enterprise will make a real difference to IT infrastructure management.


Start your journey now


Moving away from legacy IT processes to DevOps needs a change in both software and thinking. Whether the application is on-premises or in the cloud, updates, optimisation, application support and agility are crucial.


Often the best way to start a journey to modernising legacy systems is with the business case. From there the results can be seen and further change approved.


In this blog series we will discuss how modern automation tools like Ansible, Chef and Puppet can drive business agility by automating server and application management. These automation tools work well with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a modern platform for application delivery from on-premises to cloud.


Critical aspects for modernisation include the right architecture and the right processes to lead change. Take control of you IT infrastructure for better business outcomes and avoid the risk of losing customers and failing to innovate.




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