IT infrastructure, what we’ve all come to know and love (or hate, depending on your viewpoint) is the driving force behind all of our machines. What if it were to be so widely available that you didn’t even have to think about it when building a program? In a less dramatic sense, this is the definition behind invisible infrastructure.
Remember back in the day when personal computer commercials used to say “powered by a 6 core processor with a million gigs of RAM and other awesome technical specs”? That’s because in those days, it was important to the consumer that their hardware was powerful and capable. But in today’s world of software-defined everything, edge computing and cloud-native applications, it’s expected that infrastructure is available, reliable, secure and compliant. To put it simply, it just has to work.
In the last 10 years, there have been huge advances in the hardware and data center worlds, but the rise of cloud computing especially means the location of our data is not as important as it once was. Data centers are built literally all over the world, and the hardware that powers them is cheaper and more readily available than ever. All of these factors have led to a shift in focus from the hardware side (“Do I have enough storage space for my data? What’s the lifecycle like on those servers? How much will it cost to replace them?”) up the stack to software (“What’s missing from my application to make it more functional for my users? Where is the fastest access point for my data?”).
So, what’s an example of this? Take serverless computing. The goal is to keep developers focused on development instead of infrastructure management, allowing them to decrease production cycles and move faster. The idea that a developer no longer needs to write code to fit a specific infrastructure requirement leaves him or her free to write applications the way they see fit. Essentially, serverless creates invisible infrastructure. Organizations must be liking this idea, because 46 percent of them are using and evaluating serverless in the last year according to a survey by The New Stack, a 10 percent increase year over year.
However, just because infrastructure is “invisible” (unseen) doesn’t mean it’s unimportant, or taken for grated. Rather, the role of infrastructure and its location will be more important than ever. As the amount of data produced by devices continues to grow, questions will be raised about who owns that data and who has access to it. Infrastructure and its location will play a vital role in answering those questions.
The world is rapidly changing, and invisible infrastructure is just part of what’s to come. Whether you need to access a single server or a hundred, it’s almost as easy as flicking a switch, and nearly anybody can do it. Now what remains to be seen is what the consumer will do with all of this infrastructure they suddenly have at their fingertips.