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Unlocking Success in Digital Transformation With App-First Infrastructure

Tom Christensen Tom Christensen
Global Technology Advisor & Executive Analyst, Hitachi Vantara

June 23, 2021

With the rapid pace of change set to continue through the second half of 2021, many CIOs have asked me whether achieving their organizational goals alongside their ongoing digital transformation projects is realistic. To do this effectively, CIOs need to establish an application-first infrastructure to enable them to be digitally agile.

An app-first approach to cloud infrastructure involves prioritizing investment into cloud applications, cloud security and multicloud infrastructure. Together, these areas work to support digital transformation efforts while simultaneously mitigating security risks. A robust cloud strategy will of course be of value here, and many organizations are now adopting multiple clouds and cloud-native applications to ensure flexibility and modernization.

This approach allows customers to run containerized applications and workloads powered by Kubernetes. Based on the feedback we have received from CIOs, we know that approximately 20% of workloads are containerized. One of the advantages of this is the ability to open workloads for public and private resources, whether it comes from the edge, the core or a public cloud provider. To manage and orchestrate the service, users can employ an app-first infrastructure that makes it easier to work with Kubernetes on a day-to-day basis, simplifying application deployment.

App-first is gaining momentum for a number of reasons. It not only enables organizations to host application modernization, but also works to support them in creating distributed applications for data-driven companies, particularly in cases where there’s a need for data insight across edge-core-cloud. However, ongoing operational complexity can slow the full impact of a cloud-first strategy, putting undue pressure on IT teams.

This blog addresses how IT leaders can simplify and unify their application infrastructure to break down silos in their organization, across application developers, and amid operations and security teams.

Collaborating With DevOps and Moving to DevSecOps

DevOps is a development methodology that is about bridging development and operational activities: It promotes communication and collaboration, continuous integration, quality assurance and delivery through automated testing and deployment. It helps application developers write, test and deploy applications iteratively. And it allows operation engineers to maintain availability while ensuring the infrastructure is healthy.

DevSecOps, on the other hand, takes things a step further. It’s another cross-team collaboration framework, but this time it integrates security into DevOps processes from the beginning, rather than treating it as a separate entity. With an integrated DevSecOps approach, organizations can reduce security risks without slowing down development timelines, helping everyone work together toward a common security goal.

What matters here is finding the right combination of infrastructure, platforms and software that will help achieve the best continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) of new apps and services, all while addressing security concerns.

App-First Infrastructure Automation

Having a robust and flexible infrastructure without efficient management only increases operation inefficiencies and hinders the ability to increase innovation and agility.

Orchestration and automation are the key to operational efficiencies. Here it is vital to have single-pane-of-glass management for app-first infrastructure, providing automation for compute, network and storage infrastructure. The main options for running an on-premises Kubernetes solution are VMware or Red Hat Enterprise and SUSE.

Hitachi Vantara has a deep understanding of the application modernization and app-first infrastructure required to deliver an enterprise’s multicloud service, and an appreciation of the challenges our customers face in building, deploying, connecting, securing and operating modern applications in both greenfield and brownfield environments. Through centralized management and automation, organizations can increase the velocity of development, achieve operational efficiency, and deliver better application experiences — all of which lead to better business outcomes.

Many businesses are under pressure to deal with increased customer demands and competition. Effective digital transformation will help manage these pressures, particularly where business agility, processes and architecture are concerned. It’s for this reason that containerizing applications is one of the key initiatives in driving digital transformation.

Containers and their platforms provide increased speed from development to deployment by increasing operational efficiency. Containers also provide fewer overheads compared to traditional units of hardware or virtual hardware and are highly portable with less dependency on the operating system and underlying hardware platform. This makes for the ideal distributed application across edge, core and cloud.

Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) StackOverall, a key element in the successful deployment of a container platform is having a robust and flexible app-first infrastructure that can meet the wide variety of requirements in a highly dynamic environment. Together with VMware and Red Hat, Hitachi Vantara provides highly available and high-performance infrastructure for container applications.

To find out more about app-first infrastructure and how it could support your business, read more here. Or, sign up to attend our upcoming event on the hybrid cloud and multicloud strategies needed to modernize your data center.

Tom Christensen is Global Technology Advisor at Hitachi Vantara.

Tom Christensen

Tom Christensen

Tom has +30 years' experience in data center modernization, from compute and data infrastructure to hybrid and multicloud, applications, DataOps and big data analytics. He writes extensively about technology and advocates for sustainability and social innovation.