Figure 2 shows different levels within Intel’s software-defined infrastructure. At the top is customer service, where the self-service portal and service level agreements reside. Below that is operations orchestration, automation and intelligence, along with workload health and utilization. The next lower level is the infrastructure, composed of storage, network and servers. At the bottom is the physical facility that includes power, cooling and location.
SDI provides full control of on- or off-premise workload deployments when combined with a cloud-management platform, and completes testing and provisioning in minutes — as compared to what used to take days or months. With SDI, IT organizations can:
- Build a unified services catalog on their infrastructure that enables self-service.
- Secure easy, rapid access to new services and tighter control over workloads.
- Reduce capital expense while increasing operational efficiencies.
- Power all the next-gen services and apps needed to drive new revenue opportunities.
Intel’s SDI model is structured around policy-based software automation processes in three different layers — the orchestration layer, composition layer and hardware pool. Let’s look at the orchestration layer and how it helps the IT department focus more on business priorities without losing visibility or control of how resources are being used.
Orchestration and self-service
Data centers moving to a software-defined architecture can create self-service capabilities that balance IT’s need for control and security with the business’ need for rapid innovation.
Most importantly, SDI allows IT to build a unified services catalog on their infrastructure that enables self-service capabilities for both IT and business users. To stay relevant, organizations need to have this quick and easy access to new services as well as tighter controls over workloads.
SDI, the cloud-management platform also known as an orchestration layer, enables consistent management and policy enforcement across private and public clouds, along with self-service capabilities. IT can build and rely on a centralized, unified catalog of custom and third-party services, many of which can then be combined using policy-driven automation. This enables much faster completion of work streams and extends the benefits of self-service to business consumers. This adds value on several levels, including dashboards that can provide access to the applications, services and even third-party solutions users need.
Orchestration software improves the ability to manage everything from uptime and performance to security and compliance across hybrid cloud environments. It achieves this by enabling resource provisioning and management based on the unique requirements of an application. And, a fully orchestrated SDI also has fewer deployment bottlenecks than public cloud offerings, which can bring costs in line with public cloud for many types of workloads.
Over time, IT can use orchestration technology to build a catalog of standardized application and middleware services with clearly defined costing considerations for use across the business. A self-service catalog will not only help business decision-makers address pressing challenges faster, it will free up time for IT to focus on strategic projects.
The combination of self-service capabilities in a hybrid cloud environment is not the solution for every business challenge; in some cases, traditional IT approaches will still make sense. But increasingly, across all kinds of use cases, self-service provides an unprecedented opportunity for breaking down barriers to innovation and responsiveness. And it not only gives IT more control over managing infrastructure, it can also help strengthen the strategic relationship between IT and line of business decision-makers.