An industry view of Web-scale IT
An industry view of Web-scale IT
Go big or go home. This is the attitude being taking by many businesses looking to deliver more products and services more quickly, more effectively, and across more platforms and channels. How are they doing this? By turning their attention to web-scale IT, that’s how.
The term, coined by Gartner’s chief of research for infrastructure and operations, Cameron Haight, describes the ways in which businesses can harness technology to offer users content quickly and on a vast scale. Speak to any industry expert on the subject and the message is clear – however digital your business is at the moment, you’ve still got some way to go.
For the casual observer, web-scale IT may not be the easiest concept to understand, but put into context it makes perfect sense. When a company is more focused on the cloud than data centres, when it recruits a DevOps teams, and when it speaks in terms of continuous deployment and open source components rather than future releases and packaged software – that’s web-scale IT in action.
According to Gartner, web-scale IT is in the top ten of technologies most likely to have a significant impact on businesses over the coming years. Furthermore, the research firm predicts that by 2017 half of global businesses will be taking a web-scale IT approach to their operations. This would mark a dramatic rise from the less than 10% of companies using it in 2013.
Looking further ahead still, Gartner suggest that 25% of CIOs in global businesses will have been involved with corporate web-scale IT initiatives to some extent.
Speaking about web-scale IT, Gartner’s vice-president and fellow, David Clearly, has stated that first step towards the web-scale IT future for many organisations should be DevOps – bringing together development and operations.
This is just one of the tactics adopted by the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to meet their aggressive business requirements. Recognising the need to push the limits of existing infrastructure systems, these consumer internet giants were looking for rapid development and deployment cycles, scale on demand, and cost containment. To achieve this they needed a new set of technologies, processes and organisational structures that transformed data-centre infrastructure. The result was a goodbye to centralised scale-up network storage and a heart-felt hello to scale-out distributed systems.
But web giants aside, how can we bring web-scale to the enterprise? Take a good look around you, and you realise that web-scale IT is already being used by a whole range of companies. It’s not just the Googles and Amazons of this world that are reaping the rewards. These global giants may be redefining the way in which IT services are delivered, but other businesses are following their lead, emulating the architectures, processes and practices of these high-flying cloud providers.
Companies can reap the benefits of web-scale technologies and architectures in data centres in a number of ways. Adopting open-source web-scale technologies directly for systems of differentiation and innovation is one option, however it carries with it a fairly high level of risk. An alternative – less disruptive – approach is using server virtualisation to run a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ applications. Here, we enter the world of turnkey hyper-converged infrastructure solutions that deliver a familiar computing environment.
Coming back to Haight again, he has predicted web-scale IT will “change the IT value chain in a systemic fashion.
“Web-oriented architectures allow developers to build very flexible and resilient systems that recover from failure more quickly.”
Haight is also keen to emphasize that even though it is large enterprises making the most noise about web-scale IT, small businesses can reap the benefits as well.
“While the term ‘web-scale IT’ implies scale in terms of size, there is also a scale in terms of speed,” he explains. “I tell my clients that there is nothing stopping them from being as agile as these organisations.”
At LAN2LAN we also show our clients how they can adopt an agile approach to web-scale IT. Get in touch with us to find out more about the right solution for your business on 0870 787 4001