Businesses worldwide are on track to spend $1.1 Trillion on Digital Transformation in 2018 according to IDC. Executives tasked with driving transformation have to balance funding innovation initiatives with keeping the lights on. Maintaining existing infrastructure is necessary but when much of the budget is used to maintain the status quo, transformation efforts slow down to a crawl. New competitors disrupting established companies are not saddled with the burden of maintaining legacy infrastructure. They can innovate faster, using new business models and technologies like Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, industrial IoT, and Real Time Analytics. What do all these technologies have in common? The foundation for these transformational technologies is open source software.

Why open source technologies are an attractive destination

Modern, cloud-ready applications are increasingly being built on Linux containers and managed by Kubernetes - both these technologies are based on open source software. Take the example of applications using Artificial Intelligence to make better decisions. Containerizing AI/ML models makes it easier to train them in a private cloud and deploy them to the edge while minimizing the costs and security risks associated with large data transfers. Kubernetes can be used to manage the end-to-end AI/ML model development lifecycle.

Containers and Kubernetes simplify access to underlying infrastructure and help manage application lifecycle and development workflows. Red Hat OpenShift, an enterprise-ready Kubernetes platform, has additional capabilities for self-service, build, deployment and automation which further enhances this experience. IoT application development is increasingly adopting containers, microservices and DevOps methodology to speed up integration of the diverse components in the three-tier IoT architecture (devices, gateways and integration platforms).

Legacy virtualization

Contrast the modern application development and infrastructure described above with the current legacy virtualization approaches that many organizations are saddled with. Legacy virtualization platforms can hinder progress towards adopting Modern IT paradigms.

Gartner’s report on the virtualization of x86 server infrastructure market says “The market for virtualizing x86 server infrastructure has rapidly matured during the last decade. Infrastructure and operations leaders must explore new approaches to virtualization to gain further advantage in 2018 and beyond.”

The report further states “by 2018, more than 80% of x86 server OS instances have been virtualized — although the actual level varies in certain geographies (including China and Latin America, which are lower). As such, in 2018, the market for x86 server virtualization can be considered mature. This opens potential opportunities for enterprises to deploy alternative virtualization solutions for different use cases or when infrastructure refresh decisions prompt reconsideration of existing virtualization.”

It is time to chart a new path forward for modern cloud-ready applications and adopt the DevOps methodology needed to enable their success.

Modern Infrastructure for Modern Applications

As demands change on the application front, so will demands on the infrastructure. Modern infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible and should adapt to the differing workload characteristics and deployment methodologies required by modern cloud-ready applications.

We expect the need to support both private virtualization and cloud-ready workloads to co-exist for a long time. The transition of the application set and the way applications are developed is a journey and will not happen overnight. Open source infrastructures allow for this flexibility and further abstraction of the resources needed to meet these demands.

Container provisioning and management using open source tools can provide applications the flexibility to run on many platforms and at the time that suits the business. As this application transformation takes place, having an infrastructure that can flex based on demand will be ever important. Lower cost, better flexibility, high capacity and scalability makes this journey worth pursuing.

How to modernize and migrate infrastructure

The transition of applications and workloads from being stateful and very heavy to being light and more stateless is driving changes. The change is also in how we deliver, build, manage and support these new infrastructures. Once the new infrastructure is in place, moving workloads to them is more an iterative journey than a single event.

The need for the optimal use of people, process and technology allows these migration events to become more acceptable, safe and repeatable. The key to starting this process is discovery - bringing the stakeholders from within the organization to collaborate in the collection and analysis of information on applications, some of which could be many years old.

As the transition of the application development to containers continues to push the industry the need for management of the older, legacy, virtual workloads will still be needed for a long time in every organization. These different modes need to co-exist. The migration of these virtual assets should use a process that is repeatable. The creation of this repeatable process allows for the creation of manageable migration groups of virtual machines. These groupings allow for proper scheduling of the migration event, grouping of tiered workloads of a service and more reliable control of service outages.

How Red Hat can help

The savings from commoditization can be invested in new digital transformation initiatives, much like Intermountain Healthcare demonstrated with their migration to Red Hat Virtualization and increased investment in DevOps initiatives with OpenShift and Ansible. Learn more about how Red Hat can help migrate your virtualization infrastructure.

More digital transformation resources

Market Research Sources

Source: Gartner, Market Guide for Virtualization of x86 Server Infrastructure, Michael Warrilow, Thomas Bittman, Philip Dawson, 26 December 2017

Source: Worldwide Spending on Digital Transformation Will Soar Past $1 Trillion in 2018, Led by the Manufacturing Industries, According to a New IDC Spending Guide, 12 June 2018

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