In an age of a living Moore's Law, IT infrastructure upgrades at the pace it has had for decades. However, data in the cloud computing era surges in volume, as does a myriad of cloud-native applications and intelligent analytics. These trends disrupt the tempo of IT infrastructure construction, application, and O&M. Stakeholders must rethink the concept of IT infrastructure.
These past years, we have sought a clear roadmap for the evolution of IT infrastructure. In fact, hints of this evolution have emerged from as early as the birth of cloud computing. IT infrastructure is expected to develop towards convenience and flexibility on demand, just like water and electricity. Its transformation is catalyzed by rapid changes in the business landscape and constant innovations in the technology arena.
User centricity is a permanent principle behind the evolution of IT infrastructure. The TTM of new applications has been slashed from months to days and even hours. Flexibility and elasticity are the name of the game, and IT infrastructure must also be open and adaptable to both cloud-native applications and traditional services. Moreover, as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and a new wave of Internet development rise to eminence, IT infrastructure is expected to grow in construction and services. It must be faster, stronger, smarter, and more autonomous.
Infrastructure spans software-defined x86 standard hardware, to open-source cloud, to today's intelligent and interconnected. Enterprises refocus their effective utilization of resources towards better support for service innovation and growth. This focus has thus changed from cost effectiveness to value creation.
Today, IT infrastructure is marketed as software-defined, hyper-converged, and intelligent. However, such adjectives are only singular attributes. To abstract the very essence of IT infrastructure, we need to look to its core value – a driving force for business transformation.
Enterprises do not care much about the nitty-gritty of IT infrastructure. State-of-the-art servers, storage, and network devices aside, enterprises are most concerned with demands such as bringing new services online as quickly as possible, no breakdown during peak hours, and immediate recovery in the case of faults. This is why they are increasingly interested in the cloud, microservices, and containers. Today, almost all applications can or must run in the cloud, which meets the current performance, stability, availability, and scalability demands. The cloud is therefore the IT infrastructure of the future.
Looking back on the IT roadmap, a major technological revolution took place every 10 to 15 years, in parallel with continuous advances in mainframes, midrange computers (mainly the UNIX server), the Internet, and cloud computing. Today, this roadmap has led us to an intelligent, fully-connected world. Traditional processor-based x86 architecture is not enough for massive AI computing. Heterogeneous computing units, such as GPU, FPGA, and ASIC, are on the rise. IT infrastructure must now support heterogeneous computing, cloud, and edge intelligence to power intelligent applications. AI provides evolutionary pressure for IT infrastructure as it integrates into every field.
Huawei envisions how IT infrastructure can develop in the new era with its strategy that Intelligent Computing Inspires a Digital World. At its core is an entire IT infrastructure that is integrated, intelligent, and automated, accelerating industry applications and helping enterprises succeed in their digital transformation.
IT infrastructure evolves constantly. Yet no matter how far it advances, its true value is the adoption of business-centric technologies to enable operational excellence and success.