Agile for Infrastructure: Fact or Fiction?

The ONUG Community has encouraged the shift from hardware to software infrastructure’s acceleration. The reason? Speed. Software-based infrastructure reduces the time to deliver new digital products and services to market. It’s a core competency of the digital transformation age in which we live. At ONUG, we know that most IT organizations take three to five years to transform and deliver software infrastructure. Note that it took Netflix five years for its organization to transform and gather the skills, processes and people to stream video at scale. This transformation is a key part of why Netflix is valued at $155B; remember, AT&T purchased Time Warner for $85B last year, which included HBO. One of the key building blocks to delivering software-based infrastructure is adopting the Agile method. But Agile is not a best practice of infrastructure professionals.

The Agile method is a particular approach to project management that is utilized in software development. This method assists teams in responding to the unpredictability of constructing software. It uses incremental, iterative work sequences that are commonly known as sprints. For infrastrastructure professionals, most don’t deliver infrastructure via Agile as their skills sets and processes are bounded to specific vendor products. True, DevOps is a type of Agile relationship between application development and IT operations, thus DevOps is used by infrastructure groups to support application teams. In most cases, infrastructure teams don’t use the Agile method to deliver infrastructure services. That’s a big distinction.

With infrastructure moving faster toward a software model, the way infrastructure is envisioned, designed and deployed will only transition toward software best practices of Agile project management and DevOps organizationally at speed. At ONUG, many community surveys tell us that in five years, no one will be designing infrastructure. So which tools are most appropriate to build software-based infrastructure? Is waterfall a better approach to delivering software infrastructure than Agile? Or is infrastructure still too special to be generalized and deployed as software with Agile, Waterfall, etc? The ONUG Community also says that many large enterprise DevOps teams are strained under the pressure of lacking skills sets and a culture that just isn’t right yet.

At ONUG Spring in Dallas on May 7th and 8th, we invited the following industry leaders to tell us how they do Agile for infrastructure. This discussion starts on May 8th at 3:00 pm.

Kyle Scarmardo, Co-founder & Co-host, Tech Fugitives
Christopher Rice, SVP, Network Cloud & Infrastructure, AT&T
Mark Freedman, Managing Director Infrastructure Technology, Goldman Sachs
Chris Stetson, Cloud Architect, Cigna
Brian Silverman, Sr. Architect, Network and Cloud, McKesson

Join these most insightful IT personalities as they share the challenges and opportunities of delivered software infrastructure via the Agile method. We’ll have a community discussion too and find out if Agile for infrastructure is fact or fiction.

 

Author's Bio

Nick Lippis

Co-Founder and Co-Chairman at ONUG

Nick Lippis is an authority on corporate computer networking. He has designed some for the largest computer networks in the world. He has advised many Global 2000 firms on network strategy, architecture, equipment, services and implementation including Hughes Aerospace, Barclays Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Eastman Kodak Company, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Liberty Mutual, Schering-Plough, Sprint, WorldCom, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and a wide range of other equipment suppliers and service providers.

Mr. Lippis is uniquely positioned to comment, analyze and observe computer networking industry trends and developments. At Lippis Enterprises, Inc., Nick works with entrepreneurs evaluating new business opportunities in enterprise networking and serves as an independent investor and advisor.