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Digital Transformation: Accelerate Application Delivery with IPAM

February 5, 2019 | Written by: EfficientIP | ,

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a matter of people and processes

Digital transformation is about creating value on bringing together people, processes and data. It impacts every organization in the way they operate their processes, requiring more efficiency, and a more customer-centric approach. In some cases, it transforms deeply the way organizations are run, requiring new management and individual behavior – the right to fail, autonomy, self-organization, initiative, principle of subsidiarity, delegation – what sometimes is called “agility”.

Digital transformation impacts the way applications are built. By primarily targeting users, new applications should be developed with maximum feedback from them in order to always bring best value. This imposes starting by gathering needs, performing surveys, ethnological studies, and personae definitions to understand clearly the needs. Staying as close as possible to user requirements requires quick iterations in the production cycle, switching between delivering software and integrating users’ feedback, A/B testing, and allowing quick pivot. This tends to embrace iterative methodology – requiring frequent software delivery – in order to produce small increments with value each time. What used to be done in “waterfall” methodologies with cascaded periods of study, development, test and production was not able to fit the desired two weeks time delivery to end users.

Agility requires software defined infrastructure

Team organization has also changed, from big inline development teams to smaller squads, regrouped in “fabrication teams”, serving a product, with all the necessary competencies – from developer, to architect, business analyst, user experience specialist and DevOps engineer. A fabrication team releases frequent, small and stable increments of a feature set, driven by the product owner who is accountable for pushing the software to the field and satisfying user requirements.

The digital transformation product development paradigm imposes shipping of software so frequently that the underlying infrastructure also needs to be agile, which is a real disruption. Installing in production for the end-user a new software version every two weeks (sometimes even every two days), requires that all the phases involved in software quality validation are performed without any halt in the process. As introducing a new feature challenges quality and could impact previous parts of the software, continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous deployment are now mandatory topics in IT digital transformation. It would not be reasonable or cost effective to dedicate infrastructure for each step of the pipeline, each product, and each fabrication team. Therefore automation and orchestration are now mandatory, sometimes hidden under the “infrastructure as code” and “software defined” concepts.

IPAM as the single version of the IP truth

Automation of the infrastructure supporting the digital transformation also requires taking into account new architecture patterns, usage of cloud services, various development languages, test driven methodology, microservices, containers or API management. This complexifies the way infrastructure should be built and managed, and how assets should be tracked during the application’s life cycle and during all the development phases. This is where a strong repository becomes key, the IPAM being the single version of the truth containing “golden records” of information related to IP resources such as addresses and names. The ability to query and control IPAM during the agile process through API and connectors to the ecosystem’s main tools is mandatory for permitting fast delivery of infrastructure components (such as networks and servers).

In order to allow these new infrastructure patterns, DNS is put under pressure. It requires frequent and rapid updates – in coordination with the IPAM repository – to expose all the components, from the microservices to the endpoint, that will be used in the user’s browser. If any manual action needs to be performed during the infrastructure construction of a pipeline step, the whole agile process becomes inefficient and iterative deliveries to end users are not possible. The fabrication team members expect the tests to be performed upon source commit in their repository in minutes rather than days, in order to maintain quality of the whole application. If a quality gate is not passed, the source needs to be fixed quickly. With dozens of steps in the pipeline during a validation, each requiring infrastructure to be deployed, managed and destroyed, automation should run totally seamlessly, including DNS updates in coordination with IPAM information.

DDI, a DevOps enabler

The EfficientIP DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM) solution enables orchestration and service activation, helping continuous integration, testing and delivery. It allows business access to software, regardless of the production phase or the location it is deployed – on premise or in the cloud, using virtual servers or containers. Through its rich set of API and connectors, DDI can be totally integrated to your pipeline software production. Any infrastructure as code software, orchestrator, configurator, or deployment tool should rely on the IPAM’s rich information set in order make use of an accurate and consistent understanding of the whole IP ecosystem at any stage of the fabrication process.

IT managers and the CIO are put under pressure for fast delivery, in order to satisfy business and the CDO, helping enable digital transformation while staying consistent with existing infrastructure and processes. Running the digital factory requires automation and continuous deployment, so managing the IP information of the applications ecosystem is key. This is where DDI and its IPAM golden record view of the information becomes a strong enabler. The central position of EfficientIP in the IT infrastructure guarantees the entire ecosystem tools the access to a consolidated view of the IP world, a key element of digital transformation.

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