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How do companies work toward composable infrastructure?

By Justin Stoltzfus | Last updated: June 19, 2017
Made Possible By Turbonomic

Many businesses are finding their own ways toward the principle of composable infrastructure. Some start small with their own automation protocols, and others rush to use vendor services that offer more comprehensive composable infrastructure builds. The idea of composable infrastructure is driving a lot of change in enterprise IT.

In many ways, composable infrastructure is built off of the idea of network virtualization, or having a hardware infrastructure abstracted into logical components. Composable infrastructure means that rather than being built on “bare metal,” running in a particular hardware environment, systems are built to run in a virtualized environment, and in many different types of dynamic workload situations.

One of the most common drivers toward composable infrastructure is the idea that companies have to build their IT systems to be optimized all the time in a dynamic atmosphere. Some experts talk about this idea as “achieving the desired state” in IT – affecting optimized workload management and application performance using the smallest possible amount of resources.

Composable infrastructure can help with this process, because it automates and redefines the ways that system components work together. Some companies start by setting up elaborate build documents and plans that feature premade automation tools and reflect an abstracted or “cloud native” build model.

In many cases, application programming interfaces or APIs are used to construct some virtual component out of resources. For example, rather than buying a physical server and installing it, the company would use a software-defined build, letting an API script create the server virtually.

In fact, experts often talk about composable infrastructure as being software-defined. They show how it's a logical extension of the principle of network virtualization, where virtual machines and other components create this logical and abstracted distributed system. These systems often use the principle of hyperconvergence, in which storage, computing and network resources are provisioned out of a single resource pool, rather than being built separately and tied together. This idea of hyperconvergence, along with the idea of spinning up servers and other elements with API calls, are major parts of what constitutes the move toward composable infrastructure.

While companies can make moves toward a composable infrastructure using things like configuration management and different deployment strategies, many of them hire vendors to help them achieve a full measure of automation and composable build process. Some vendor tools provide high levels of automation for creating infrastructure and maintaining it from a system administration perspective.

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Containers & Virtualization Infrastructure Management Emerging Technology

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus | Contributor, Reviewer

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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.

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