What is Modern IT Infrastructure? Components & Measurement
Modern IT infrastructure provides organizations with faster ways to do business. Powerful technologies offer new capabilities and better insights.
What is “modern” IT infrastructure?
Modern IT infrastructure is a stack of next-generation technology and services utilized to develop IT environments that are highly flexible, scalable and agile.
The dynamic, diverse, and elastic modern IT infrastructure enables organizations to consistently deliver highly optimized user experiences by leveraging multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, containerized workloads and serverless computing.
Components of modern IT infrastructure
To deliver powerful user experiences, businesses operating in today's digital economy demand maximum agility and performance from their IT infrastructure. IT infrastructure management teams are under increasing pressure to do more with less, while ensuring consistent service levels, relying on automation for IT operations management and monitoring.
In most cases, upgrading to a modern IT infrastructure is more cost effective than investing in a private data center. Public cloud platforms like AWS and Azure provide organizations with the flexibility to increase or decrease their storage and compute requirements, without having to invest in static server capabilities that may go unutilized.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure levels the playing field
Businesses are no longer limited by their financial capacity to invest in compute and storage resources, routers, and related IT services. Cloud services have leveled the playing field for everyone. Startups, or even individuals, have access to the same AWS resources as Facebook and Netflix, while only having to pay for the amount of resources that they utilize.
They can access effectively limitless compute instances and other hosted services on demand, thereby eliminating the risk of service disruption that would exist if the on-prem resources were unable to sustain a load spike.
Cloud computing is extremely flexible. Organizations with regulatory or cybersecurity limitations have the freedom to retain mission critical applications on-premises, behind their own firewalls, to be managed by dedicated support teams, while migrating the rest of their workloads to the cloud.
Service providers like AWS Outposts simplify connectivity between the components of IT infrastructure like on-prem and hybrid cloud deployments. This allows customers to leverage the full AWS resources available in the region, so that they can instantly scale on-prem applications in order to increase data storage, or reduce downtime.
A hybrid cloud infrastructure makes it possible to rely on multiple public clouds that are best aligned with specific use cases. For example, Google Cloud Anthos provides the functionality to split workloads between different public clouds like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and/or Google Cloud, with powerful management from a single control plane.
VMs and containers improve agility
Virtual machines and containers don't compete with each other in a complex modern information technology infrastructure, despite their different natures. Rather, they complement each other, as containers are perfect for small, single-purpose apps, and virtualization is best suited to—and offers optimization for—larger and more complex apps.
For some business needs, particularly where agility is the highest priority, containerized workloads are being preferred over virtualized workloads.
Containerized apps can be started almost instantly, while virtual machines that run entire operating systems can take several minutes to boot up due to their large size. Since containers are a lot smaller in size, hundreds or even thousands of them can be run on a single server, as opposed to perhaps a few dozen VMs.
In many business operations, entire apps are split among multiple containers in a practice known as microservices. This makes it easier to localize a problem than it would be on a monolithic app.
Observability enables powerful monitoring
In this DevOps-centric environment, it's no longer acceptable to take hours just to deploy monitoring for the infrastructure. There needs to be a more proactive solution for monitoring IT systems.
A powerful observability platform is a vital component of a modern IT infrastructure. It should condense all telemetry data in one place, regardless of the method used to instrument it. Tailored visualizations and applications that are unique to the organization can further improve performance monitoring.
Observability is about identifying where the problem is, what's causing it, how it's affecting the rest of the infrastructure, and what needs to be done about it.
How to measure modern IT infrastructure performance
The dynamic nature of the modern IT infrastructure requires new monitoring tools and methods. It's more important to focus on the combined health and performance of the services instead of singular data points from hosts and network services.
Cut through the layers of complexity
A modern IT environment has to contend with new layers of complexity that can limit visibility into the infrastructure. Greater monitoring of the assets is critical to reducing outages for software applications, and minimizing the response time.
Self-contained, single system monitoring technology stacks of the past are no longer enough. Monitoring platforms for modern infrastructure need to be able to manage the entire IT environment, collecting data across networks by monitoring on-prem, cloud, or hybrid environments.
A modern IT infrastructure has several moving parts. The failure of an individual component could bring the entire service to a grinding halt. An effective monitoring system will cut through all the layers to identify exactly which component has an issue—and how that issue relates to the entire infrastructure—to provide a holistic view of its performance.
Implement dynamic configuration
To support the unique needs of a modern infrastructure, monitoring has to be deployed quickly, ideally with an automated, turnkey process. This can be achieved by implementing dynamic policy-based configuration.
Dynamic discovery capabilities enable monitoring tools to automatically detect and apply the relevant monitoring configurations to new systems or services as they come online. Regardless of the environment, these discovery capabilities can identify the relevant resource and type of technology.
Rely on unified monitoring
Unified monitoring provides a top-down view of the complex environment. This enables IT teams to get actionable insights into all of the layers that make up the environment, such as containers, legacy infrastructures, multi-cloud deployments, microservices, and/or hyper converged infrastructures.
The monitoring tool should have powerful capabilities for the analysis of all data types, including log data, availability, performance, and anomalies. Unified monitoring can also provide predictive insights, so potential issues are identified before they cause any service disruption.
Leverage contextual intelligence with AI
Modern IT infrastructures can quickly expand and become even more complex. This causes rapid growth in the volume of monitoring data being generated. It can often be difficult to correlate all of these different types of data manually. This limitation can be addressed through AIOps, or artificial intelligence for IT operations.
Monitoring tools can use AI to correlate infrastructure data, and provide predictive insights for issue prevention; and machine learning algorithms can intelligently track trends to identify patterns before an unusual situation arises, helping to speed up MTTD.
How AppDynamics can help
AppDynamics provides powerful monitoring solutions for the modern IT infrastructure. Get real-time full stack observability to ensure optimal application performance, and an improved experience for end users.
Easily visualize, manage, and monitor every component across complex cloud and on-prem environments with a consolidated view of distributed apps. With AppDynamics, you can identify and mitigate the root cause of the issues before they can affect business outcomes.
“With AppDynamics, our mean time to detection went from hours to less than 10 minutes, which is a huge win for us.”
Nemo Hajiyusuf, Software Engineering Manager, Alaska Airlines