Making Sense of API Data Is a Business ChallengeBy Mike Vizard | Posted 2016-04-28 Print
IT organizations need to think through all the cultural implications of being able to leverage API data and manage IT as a true service.
Integrating the Software-Defined Management Paradigms
Now that every element of IT exposes some form of an API, it's possible to build a software-defined network (SDN) that will enable IT organizations to eventually self-provision resources in much the same way that they provision cloud computing resources today. The bigger challenge may be the need to integrate all the software-defined management paradigms.
Not only are there multiple flavors of SDNs, but there are also a bevy of software-defined storage (SDS) platforms. On top of that, additional layers of a software-defined data center (SDDC) are being created by VMware, Microsoft and a number of other vendors that have embraced open-source frameworks such as OpenStack.
Some of those frameworks are being presented as a heterogeneous overlay for managing the data center. At the same time, system vendors have taken to developing converged and hyper-converged systems that make use of internal APIs to unify the management of compute, storage and networking.
DCSO software might one day provide the glue that binds all those frameworks together. But it might be years before those frameworks and DCSO software applications come together.
Leveraging APIs to Manage IT as a True Service
In the meantime, IT organizations need to think through all the cultural implications of being able to leverage APIs to manage IT as a true service. Today, most IT organizations consist of separate application and IT operations teams. The IT operations teams themselves generally consist of compute, storage and networking specialists who don't always work as collaboratively as they should.
The end goal of many of these new emerging API frameworks is to make it much simpler for IT organizations to rely on tech generalists who don't cost as much to hire as specialists. Using these frameworks, IT generalists should be able to provision and manage a broad swath of IT infrastructure resources at much higher levels of scale, thereby increasing productivity.
Moreover, that approach would significantly lower IT operational costs. In addition, it will make it possible for IT organizations to respond to the rapidly changing needs of the business with more agility.
It's amazing to think that all this transformation is about to take place as a result of the exposing of low-level APIs. But as cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) have already shown, using APIs enables the creation of a level of abstraction that makes it much simpler and cost-effective to manage IT at scale.
As IT organizations start to apply those same principles in their own data center environments, it's conceivable that fewer application workloads might move into the public cloud. Even if they do, IT organizations should be able to seamlessly apply a consistent framework for unifying the management of internal and external IT resources, regardless of where they are or who might own them.
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