As the modern economic environment becomes uncertain, small and medium-sized companies demand more flexibility and agility to respond to emerging challenges. One of the most efficient ways to build business resilience is wisely allocating funds and optimizing IT budgets.
Enterprises experience a pressing need to reduce IT infrastructure costs. At the same time, it is important to preserve the capability to scale on demand and respond to ever-changing business needs. In this article, we will uncover how SMB companies can optimize IT infrastructure expenses with DevOps best practices.
Benefits of Optimized IT Infrastructure
The main characteristics that most organizations seek in IT infrastructure are flexibility, scalability, ease of operation, and affordability. Ideally, IT maintenance costs should be easy to predict and calculate in advance.
Also, an infrastructure should be future-ready and prepared to scale in line with business initiatives. After all, it is difficult for financiers to guess about future requirements and expenses. On top of that, it should also provide steady performance and be easy to maintain and upgrade.
In reality, legacy IT infrastructures rarely match these requirements. Leveraging DevOps practices, though, helps SME companies achieve lasting impact. The positive outcomes of DevOps optimization include:
Increasing Customer Acquisition and Retention
From the users’ standpoint, performance disruptions and delays are major turn-offs. Waiting for a service to become available or having to repeat the same process all over again because of disruptions can be frustrating. Proper IT infrastructure management based on the DevOps approach ensures improved operation and eliminates delays.
This, in turn, makes it easier to attract and keep customers. When users learn they can always count on your service’s stable performance, they will deem it reliable and predictable. This increases the chances of them coming back for more and recommending your company to other users.
Efficient Maintenance Schedule
Once in a while, your IT infrastructure will need to undergo the necessary maintenance and upgrade procedures. While you can’t possibly avoid maintenance routines, DevOps infrastructure optimization enables you to schedule them when they have the least impact on business.
Every business has hours, weeks, and even months without peak workloads, when it is possible to upgrade some of the infrastructure capacities while leaving the rest of the resources to tackle critical tasks. The DevOps process helps you detect these time spans and schedule IT infrastructure optimization when it won’t interfere with your core operations.
The Impossibility of Downtime
Equipment failure and the resulting downtime take a heavy toll on business. The loss of critical data, revenue, and, often, reputational risks are some of the unwanted consequences that unexpected downtime may bring. On top of that, organizations have to get into unplanned expenses to drop disruptions.
With DevOps best practices you can detect changes in the enterprise network and predict possible failures before they even occur. The capability to detect and cut problems before they result in disruptions guarantees stable performance and zero downtime. This helps to reduce IT costs.
Most importantly, DevOps optimization automates infrastructure management. This helps organizations reduce the amount of manual labor for running, tracking, and updating IT infrastructures. Such an approach enables many application tests during every stage of the development cycle, improves quality, enhances predictability and security, and accelerates time-to-market.
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Now that we’ve outlined the main benefits of DevOps for IT infrastructure optimization, we are ready to explore this approach in more detail.
What Makes DevOps A Perfect Tool For IT Infrastructure Optimization?
Designed to drop the long-standing conflict between system administrators and software developers, the DevOps approach creates a favorable environment for the effective implementation of IT methodologies. The best practices of DevOps include test automation, continuous delivery, and a fast test-and-learn approach.
While DevOps is associated with software development, using it for infrastructure management is equally effective. The DevOps teams leverage advanced automation techniques, such as:
- IaC (Infrastructure as a Code)
This implies abstracting the infrastructure characteristics from hardware and putting them into software code. To configure your infrastructure, you have to run a sequence of scripts containing information about the infrastructure parameters.
- SDN (Software-Defined Networking)
This technique uses the same approach as IaC, but for the network appliances. Network devices like routers and switches can also have software-defined configurations. The DevOps approach makes full use of that.
- Infrastructure Orchestration
This set of tools is used for synchronizing large, distributed infrastructures and networks. It could be an invaluable asset for expanding businesses.
As you can see, DevOps for infrastructure management enables you to automate the core configuration processes with little or no human intervention. This helps reduce support costs and eliminates human error. Other outcomes of DevOps infrastructure optimizations are also quite impressive. As per Strongdm.com, with DevOps, the time for development can be reduced by 41%, and the time for processing requests to the support service – by 60%
From a business standpoint, DevOps optimization helps you improve your processes and bring them to a unified standard, quickly build and launch new products, and effectively test new business ideas. It also means you have to spend less on support team salaries while boosting the quality of your operations. Leveraging DevOps for infrastructure management enables you to stand up to the competition and achieve better business outcomes.
How Do DevOps Practices Help Reduce IT Infrastructure Costs?
Using the DevOps best practices for infrastructure management is one of the most viable IT cost reduction strategies. So how does each DevOps practice translate into business benefits? Below we explain how to achieve infrastructure cost optimization using DevOps services.
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Infrastructure and CI/CD Automation
Continuous integration and delivery practices streamline and automate the core aspects of infrastructure management. By automating infrastructure provisioning, developers are finally free from the tasks of configuring and setting up the servers, storage, hardware, and network appliances. Moreover, they can apply the same settings to many nodes of your infrastructure with only several mouse clicks.
This saves your team’s precious time and allows it to focus more on critical tasks rather than on infrastructure setup. Needless to say, this productivity boost is also cost-effective.
Relying on Third-Party Services
There are lots of third-party services that you can rely on. They don’t only simplify infrastructure management but also help reduce IT infrastructure costs.
The DevOps team can perform an audit of your existing infrastructure. This helps to check if its operational costs could be minimized using the products of reputable vendors. Cloud infrastructure costs, for example, are usually lower than running a full-fledged on-premise solution with storage, network, and compute units provisioned manually using your company resources.
In some cases, yet, it makes sense to stick with an on-premise option or build your infrastructure solution that will suit your company’s needs best. Choosing the optimal service will need a detailed analysis of your processes and workloads. But a suitable third-party solution could help you reduce business expenses.
Infrastructure Usage Optimization
A lot of organizations have infrastructures running at full capacities even when they are not processing peak workloads. A cloud shift, in this regard, is one of the most efficient cost optimization strategies. With cloud DevOps best practices, it is possible to set up your infrastructure to run on-demand and scale up and down depending on the scope of your business tasks.
A streaming service, for example, may need extra capacities while broadcasting a major sports event. Paying for these resources regularly wouldn’t be economically justified.
Applying a cloud DevOps approach could help divide the necessary capacities only and exactly when needed. This practice can help reduce infrastructure expenses by up to 50%.
Resource Cost Optimization
Are you paying too much for your infrastructure resources? DevOps audit could provide you with an answer to this question. The solution lies in leveraging different cloud services with optimal pricing to solve each of your specific infrastructure needs.
For example, you could be storing your business data on-premises, and paying a hefty sum for storage servers and data protection. Cloud service providers, on the other hand, offer a range of storage and computing resources in different packages which are also priced differently. The use of DevOps services could help you pick the optimal combination of packages and save on technology infrastructure.
As you can see, the DevOps approach makes business cost reduction achievable by using a combination of modern tools, approaches, methodologies, and services. Let’s now move on to the next section and explore what industry-leading companies have to offer for infrastructure optimization.
3 Exciting Examples Of How Industry-Leading Companies Manage IT Infrastructure Spending
So how do the industry giants approach infrastructure optimization? The below examples will give you an understanding of how reputable companies are reducing their IT spending by using cloud and DevOps.
Amazon is the most renowned brand in the e-commerce sector. Back in 2001, its entire IT infrastructure had been running on on-premise servers. To architecture websites, Amazon used traditional ways. This led to performance issues. The company was struggling with managing, upgrading, and scaling its IT infrastructure in line with its growing business needs.
In a bid to maximize efficiency, the company transitioned from physical servers to Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud. It uses a microservice architecture to effectively distribute workloads now.
The AWS cloud also grants Amazon access to DevOps services such as AWS Code Deploy. As the name suggests, this service automates and manages the new code updates to the Amazon software. It allows developers to work on continuous application improvements.
Amazon also uses Infrastructure-as-a-code for one-click deployments of software across many servers and systems as well as for testing, monitoring, and introducing changes before the problems manifest. As such, the cloud shift and infrastructure DevOps enables the e-commerce giant to save millions of dollars that it would have otherwise spent on IT management.
HP’s Laserjet Firmware is a division of a renowned brand that has been building printers and scanners for decades. Back in 2006, it had also been struggling with many issues stemming from the legacy infrastructure provisioning. Its software teams were spending 5% of their time writing code, while almost all their working hours were consumed by testing, integration, and planning.
Needless to say, the testing process was slow, manual, and required a lot of effort. Still, the quality of the products was not enough, and neither was the deployment speed. The company’s extensive development teams managed to come up with only two software releases per year. Something had to change, and this is when the company implemented DevOps.
The adoption of continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) and trunk-based development enables the HP team to integrate testing into the development process, speed up the development and detect bugs on time when they are easy to drop. The company now performs up to 1 million code changes per day and has achieved a significant productivity boost due to the use of DevOps.
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Adobe offers CRM and e-commerce tools. They enable businesses to build web and mobile services and bring customers better experiences based on the AI-driven analysis of their data. Adobe Experience Manager platform runs on AWS and Microsoft Azure.
To manage this platform, the company has introduced an in-built Cloud Manager, a self-service portal. It uses CI/CD pipeline enabling companies to quickly implement changes and updates while preserving excellent performance and security characteristics.
Cloud Manager operates through a convenient self-service interface. It lets you easily configure infrastructure settings for each application by defining its performance indicators and parameters. It also has a set of pre-configured Deployment Models for different infrastructure requirements, which you can apply automatically using the best practices of DevOps.
The industry giants are using the core DevOps principles in infrastructure optimization: automation, continuous testing, and audit. They leverage a software-defined approach to infrastructure. Namely, abstracting the settings from the hardware level, creating easily executable scripts, and standardizing them to create consistency throughout all of your business environments. They also make sure you can easily manage your infrastructure and access all the necessary analytics and dashboards.
How Can Visartech Help Minimize IT Infrastructure Costs?
At Visartech, we practice a tried and true approach to IT cost reduction. Our team specializes in creating smart cloud solutions and helps small and medium-sized enterprises cut costs and build optimal IT infrastructures for their business needs. We offer cloud integration, cloud migration, and data engineering services. We also help move your existing business applications to the cloud to maximize their efficiency and performance.
Our cost optimization strategy for infrastructures includes three main steps:
First, we want to make sure you are not overprovisioning or paying too much for certain services without even knowing it. An audit of your current infrastructure will help you optimize it and tailor it to your real needs. Our team will carry out an analysis and come up with suggestions on how you can optimize your infrastructure and cut unnecessary spending.
Full or partial cloud shift is a major step for many companies since it requires careful preparation and planning. It is necessary, though, if you plan to benefit from using the latest technology, reduce the cost of infrastructure provisioning, and quickly build apps and services. At Visartech,we work with the most reputable cloud service providers: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Our experts will help pick the right service package and billing type for your organization.
The last step involves leveraging DevOps automation. The audit of your infrastructure processes will help us understand which key processes will benefit from automation for both performance and cost efficiency. As a result, you can reduce time to market, avoid human error and re-focus your team’s effort on creative tasks instead of routine infrastructure provisioning.
At Visartech we believe in an individual approach. We offer Cloud consulting services to help you get the most out of your IT infrastructure capacities and improve applications performance. We look at the unique needs and specifics of your business and help tailor tech solutions to your business goals.
Ultimately, your IT infrastructure’s operability and accessibility have a direct impact on the quality of your products and services. While traditional infrastructure management consumes significantly more time, labor, and communication efforts, the DevOps approach to infrastructure optimization is the exact solution that companies aiming to optimize IT operations and expenses are looking for.
As per the Atlassian survey, 99% of companies report that the implementation of DevOps has benefited their organizations, and 61% say it has positively impacted their product quality. Companies also report spending less time handling support requests, eliminating disruptions and communication. On the other hand, the respondents acknowledge spending more time on infrastructure improvements.
If you’re looking to reduce IT costs, leveraging the DevOps approach is probably the best idea. The approach in itself is highly integrative: it views infrastructure as a part of the company processes and aims to give it maximum flexibility in adapting to the most current business needs. Automation, on the other hand, not only allows you to benefit financially but also accounts for maximized performance, security, and compliance.