Network automation: facilitates business agility using application-centric infrastructure

Companies and IT Departments across Europe are feeling pressure to help technology users provision applications so they can seize business opportunities faster. Fortunately, there are products that help them do just that. Application Centric Infrastructure provides a path to keep ICT focused and give customers the tools and processes they demand.

We are living in what has been called the “Age of the Customer”. Companies win these days by nimbly innovating to seize fast moving market opportunities before the competition does. Winners are embracing the shift to a mobile mindset and the imperative to give customers the products and services they want, when they want them. They are digitizing their entire business process and using sophisticated analytics to parse Big Data to identify specialized market niches they can sell to and specific companies to target.

In this hyper competitive environment, ICT, whether consisting of employees or service providers, faces intense pressure from its business users. ICT must raise its game by helping lines of business respond faster to changing customer needs and market shifts. ICT should facilitate exceptional experiences for internal and external customers. A typical example: IT staff needs to help high tech companies get more value from expensive engineering talent by freeing them up from manual tasks to focus on strategic projects.

One important path to improving IT performance includes centralizing data operations and reducing the need to manually configure hardware. Application developers need to access infrastructure and tools that shorten application development time; improve network throughput and enhance security for whatever combination of on- and off-premises data centers and private, and public clouds. Leading ICT teams let application developers serve themselves the infrastructure resources they need.

With all this for the average ICT department to accomplish, enter the idea of application-centric infrastructure. Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is a centrally managed network technology that is based on easily scalable, low-latency Cisco Nexus switches. ACI is the kind of product that ICT can use to automate provisioning of infrastructure to applications across the network. ACI is a platform to “orchestrate” i.e. scale up or down the infrastructure needed to support a business request and then align it with the required application, data center and cloud resources. Policies and service levels are defined through automated workflows. Change management rules are specified as an integral part of the process.

Products like ACI provide the tools that smart ICT groups can use to satisfy even their most demanding business users. The end result: better management of the network and infrastructure so that corporate and ICT management can focus on the core business.

Author: George Nistor Senior ICT Sales and Business Development Deutsche Telekom AG
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