So, the past few days has seen some serious deadlines and finals come and go.
And, no, we’re not going to talk about the rugby (yet). In the world of IT, the “Brexit” of our industry, AKA “Digital Transformation”, is really rearing its head again right now, and for good reason. Both a recent event I reported on in London (see next blog post) and an equally recent briefing with Apstra – they of intent networking – have reiterated the real need for companies to adapt their IT to the modern world.
This isn’t some hyperbole – look at the state of the retail industry in the UK, for example – one big name after another goes down the digital pan. And traditional banks and finance houses are under more pressure than ever to compete with the new wave of online-based rivals.
Apstra quoted Gartner who – let’s face it – are hardly unknown for somewhat over-excited predictive passion, but in this case they really are hitting the target: “Through 2021, organizations that fail to adjust network funding and operational practices will be three times more likely to fail in their digital business transformation” which, in turn, means they will be the next Toys R Us, Debenhams or whatever.
At the heart of the transformation are two key elements – IT architecture and automation. And, yes, we are revisiting here – automation was a heady topic for me in testing mode in the 90s, and architectural transformation and orchestration was the big thing in the early 2000s. The massive difference between then and now – which is where the likes of Apstra have a major role to play – is that, back then (and then some) IT wasn’t ready for being reinvented; the technology just wasn’t up to scratch. But it is now. Moreover, other areas of IT, beyond the networking team, such as DevOps, and SecOps, have simply game out on a limb and reinvented themselves, so now the IT infrastructure is playing catch-up, in an attempt to regain control.
As an example of what I’m talking about, transformation means IT accelerating and managing as much of that process as possible – kind of where IT helps itself… With its latest software release, for example, Apstra has announced the wackily titled “Intent Time Voyager”, which is not based on DALEK technology, nor any inspiration from Herbert George Wells, but is a massive improvement in that staple tool of IT – rollback and roll forward. The Apstra OS (AOS) creates a snapshot of the entire network configuration for every committed change and admin can store up to five snapshots of known-good configurations (i.e. not just one). Moreover, this is vendor-neutral configurations we’re talking – the whole network – which can then be restored to any particular snapshot with three clicks, Apstra is claiming. Which is nice.
This is precisely the kind of “transformation acceleration” tool I’m talking about – one that lets you move the IT infrastructure forward with a great degree of control, automation and speed. It’s the kind of technology that might just keep more retail giants in business; as we all know, “every little helps”…