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Distributed computing infrastructure has experienced evolutionary changes over the past two decades. Large, clunky server and storage systems have evolved into streamlined, highly efficient systems. Administrators have shifted how they consume resources, too. Historically, resource utilization was inefficient at best. Today, software automates the process to effectively manage resources — even the relationship between applications and the underlying hardware has changed. Today, abstractions between hardware and applications provide the ability for IT organizations to shift resources, as needed, to ever-changing application requirements.

Breaking down the complexity falls into one of four key categories:

  1. Infrastructure: Infrastructure includes the server, storage and network hardware components. It also covers the architecture that governs how each of the components is configured.
  2. Software: The software that runs and manages the infrastructure is broken down into two sub-components: 1) The software that manages the physical hardware and 2) The overarching management software used to provide insights and guidance to manage the underlying infrastructure.
  3. Service Delivery Method: In the past, most organizations used a single, monolithic service delivery method to leverage infrastructure resources. Today, organizations rely on a number of different methods to manage infrastructure resources that include virtualized, converged, hyperconverged, composable, private cloud and public cloud. And unlike in the past, organizations today use a combination of different methods of infrastructure delivery to support the varied application requirements.
  4. Demand Shifts: IT organizations need to increase the speed and flexibility of the services they provide. Customer requirements are constantly changing and so are the underlying infrastructure requirements. These changes are forcing IT organizations to rethink their approach to infrastructure requirements in favour of more flexible options.

Each of these four categories provides a degree of complexity on their own. The challenge is that IT organizations are faced with all four categories all at once. With this combination, one can see how the complexity grows exponentially.

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