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How Infrastructure and Operations Is Transforming

I&O is evolving from siloed infrastructure to a broader infrastructure platform-based approach to drive scale, agility, and better business outcomes.

Jonathan Forest

December 5, 2023

4 Min Read
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Mivolchan19 via Adobe Stock

Infrastructure platforms are critical to the ability of infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations to support the increasing demands of the digital business. Traditionally, I&O leaders have operated infrastructure in silos, but today I&O is evolving from siloed infrastructure to a broader infrastructure platform-based approach to drive scale, agility, and better business outcomes. 

A platform is a product that serves or enables other products or services. The scope of a platform should reflect the needs of the users, where the ultimate test for any platform is how it contributes to what is important to end users and to the enterprise as a whole. This applies to all platforms, including infrastructure platforms. Platforms provide the foundational infrastructure necessary for sustainable modernization, including energy-efficient virtualization and containerization, with a focus on the consolidation of services for improved resource utilization.

Enterprises are in the early stages of a platform shift, in which every layer (e.g., infrastructure, middleware and applications) will be transformed through an infusion of advanced artificial intelligence. This transition can be risky, but it does offer potential transformational benefits for the organization:

1. I&O staff will transition from working in siloed infrastructure groups to infrastructure platform groups.

Gartner predicts that by 2028, more than 50% of I&O staff who currently work in siloed infrastructure groups will, instead, report to an infrastructure platform group.

Most I&O organizations remain focused and are organized in siloed infrastructure groups, measured by tactical metrics to meet operational-specific goals which limits value creation to the business. I&O organizations have an increasing focus on enterprise/business outcomes versus tactical outcomes that will drive I&O’s need to operate more holistically. Ultimately, many I&O organizations will restructure from employees reporting to siloed infrastructure teams to reporting to infrastructure platform groups which will lead to a more-holistic result.

I&O leaders should improve performance and business outcomes by leveraging infrastructure platform groups to align with enterprise-related metrics.

2. The majority of enterprises will alter their data center strategies due to limited energy supplies.

Gartner predicts that by 2028, more than 70% of enterprises will alter their data center strategies, due to limited energy supplies, which is a major increase from fewer than 5% in 2023.

Enterprises’ digital technologies are consuming energy at a faster rate than overall growth in energy supply. This means that data centers will experience widespread electricity shortages during the next several years, due to a lack of resources.

Platforms will play a key role in driving energy efficiency by incorporating full-stack capabilities (e.g., compute, storage, and networking) that use less hardware. Also, infrastructure platform solutions, such as distributed hybrid infrastructure (DHI), allow for the deployment of applications in a distributed manner with centrally managed infrastructure. This offers the agility and flexibility for energy-efficient workload placement (for example, data center, colocation, edge, or cloud) for enterprises to deploy.

I&O leaders must improve data center sustainability performance and comply with new and emerging requirements by leveraging infrastructure platforms that balance energy-intensive workloads across infrastructure environments and highlight recommended areas for energy optimization.

3. Enterprise platforms will use specialized infrastructures to support AI fusion.

Gartner predicts that by 2028, 50% of enterprise platforms will leverage specialized infrastructures to support AI infusion, which is a significant increase from fewer than 10% in 2023.

Enterprise adoption of AI continues to accelerate, and emerging generative AI (GenAI) innovations are poised to transform every aspect of enterprise platforms during the next five years. As enterprises enter the early stages of a platform shift, infrastructure strategies will be designed to support advanced, AI-infused business applications. Regardless of whether enterprises explicitly or implicitly use advanced AI techniques, including GenAI, I&O leaders need a foundational AI infrastructure layer comprising graphics processing units (GPUs), AI application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), enhanced storage for data management and specialized networking stacks.

The underlying infrastructure foundations across cloud providers comprise specialized infrastructures that, in some cases, are purpose-designed to accelerate GenAI workloads. Enterprise software companies that partner with cloud services providers and hyperscalers to augment their software products with GenAI-enabled features, also implicitly or explicitly leverage these specialized infrastructures.

I&O leaders should accelerate value creation from GenAI by upskilling their teams to deliver embedded AI platforms and manage advanced infrastructure platforms for AI comprising GPU, AI-ASICS and enabling specialized infrastructure stacks across on-premises, the cloud, and the edge. Transform productivity and efficiency of platforms by accelerating evaluation and adoption of GenAI-augmented automation.

About the Author(s)

Jonathan Forest

VP Analyst, Gartner, Inc.

Jonathan Forest is a VP Analyst at Gartner where he focuses on enterprise networking I&O. Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis on I&O organizational strategy and I&O platforms at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference, taking place this week, in Las Vegas, NV.

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