What Infrastructure Pros Need To Know About Applications

If today's businesses are all about the applications, how do infrastructure professionals fit in?

Keith Townsend

April 20, 2016

3 Min Read
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IT infrastructure exists to support the applications which deliver business value. As infrastructure engineers, architects and executives, we accept this as fact. The business emphasis doesn’t mean the infrastructure is any less significant; it's an important part of the hierarchy of the business process.

However, as we focus on ensuring packets get from point A to point B or that services provided by operating systems stay available, we sometimes lose focus on the value-add of the application. Understanding the issues and technology surrounding applications can help IT infrastructure professionals do a better job.


Learn more from Keith in Interop's Applications Track and in his session, The Serverless Architecture Trend. Don't miss out! Register now for Interop Las Vegas, May 2-6, and receive $200 off.

The application teams we support are being challenged by the business to create new business models, disrupt existing business, or fend off disruption from more agile competitors. The business drivers directly experienced by the application side of the house can lead to a disconnect between what our current infrastructure technology, processes, and skills provide.

As the chair of the Applications Track at Interop Las Vegas, I've been working on developing content that will help attendees understand the issues surrounding applications so they can do a better job. Here's a sampling of two areas we'll cover:

Business drivers

IT infrastructure teams are rarely involved in the business conversation. Reasons for being excluding range from culture to the business savvy of the IT leadership. I’m excited that a former colleague from my days of management consulting, Andrew Linn, will address part of this issue in his talk, Impact of the Idea Economy on IT Infrastructure.

Andrew is a consultant that spends time talking with both technology and business senior executives. Rather than focusing on upgrades and projects, he delivers a different view of the business of IT, helping IT organizations understand if in-house, outsourced or cloud computing will meet the needs of the applications that drive competition. I’m counting on this being an eye opening session.

Application resiliency

Business is calling for rapid application development cycles and scale. Cloud in all forms is answering that call. As a result, applications architecture is changing. The spear of the arrow are concepts such as containers and serverless applications. While most organizations aren’t close to adopting these technologies for their production infrastructures, relevant application architectures are making their way down to the enterprise.

As a result, there’s a shift of responsibility for application availability. To date, IT Infrastructure teams have provided ultra-resilient infrastructures. Therefore, historically applications have been developed with the knowledge that storage, network and compute are always available. Cloud-native applications are designed to work on infrastructure with lower service levels. What considerations shift to the application? How does this impact the infrastructure organization?

Mark May, infrastructure specialist and founder of VirtualizedStorageZone, will address this topic is his talk Resiliency is An Application Problem. And I'll be presenting a session myself on The Serverless Architecture Trend.

We'll also cover much more, including talks about neural networks by a senior researcher at Microsoft, the value of test-driven network automation, and a deep dive into big data at Yahoo. It’s my sincere hope that infrastructure experts come away with discussion points to take back to their business and application stakeholders after the conference.

Meet Keith and his roster of application experts at Interop Las Vegas. Don't miss out! Register now for Interop, May 2-6, and receive $200 off.


About the Author(s)

Keith Townsend

Enterprise ArchitectKeith Townsend is an Enterprise Architect and founder of thectoadvisor.com with over 18 years of experience. Keith has several years experience with a "Big 4" as a management consultant in which he helped set the infrastructure technology strategy for several Fortune 500 companies. He has both a Bachelors and Masters Degree from DePaul University and currently works for a large BioPharma just north of Chicago. Find Drew on Twitter: @CTOAdvisor.

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