Why Does an Architect need this Skill?
Provisioning forms part of the technology architecture that details out how the different core IT infrastructure services be bundled together and deployed to meet the service definition. It discusses the building blocks, methods and processes involved in deploying the services. Across enterprises, typical provisioning process involves three major tasks that are shown below
As per TOGAF, Technology Architecture is one of the cog of the Architecture Development Methodology (ADM) and as a part of the technology architecture definition, it becomes imperative to architect and design the provisioning solution that deliver the technology components.
IT Infrastructure provisioning involves the following:
- Provisioning of servers
- Physical/Virtual servers
- Cloud based (Private and Public)
- Provisioning of storage and file system
- Traditional storage (SAS/SATA/iSCSI, etc.)
- Cloud storage (Ephemeral/Elastic)
- Provisioning of network
- Traditional network interfaces, subnets, etc.
- Software Defined networking
- Cloud based networking (VPCs, subnets, security groups, elastic interfaces, etc.)
- Provisioning of other components
- Load balancers
- Access keys
An end to end provisioning design focuses on the aggregation and deployment of all the components of the IT service as per the pre-defined specifications. The components involved could be on a cloud infrastructure or a virtual environment or a physical environment. The challenge lies in a provisioning design that is modular and can support end to end provisioning by orchestrating different types of components.
Further, with virtualization and cloud deployment models, the provisioning of foundation components has been simplified and happens within minutes. However, the services deployed will still need to be adhered to enterprise security, service management and governance policies before they are available for enterprise users. Hence the design of the provisioning process has to include the deployment orchestration of the above said controls to ensure the provisioned service is enterprise ready.
In addition, the agile project delivery methodologies and Devops revolution drive agile infrastructure provisioning needs thus letting the developers to provision and de-provision environments on demand. These demands add a different dimension to the overall provisioning – one by driving the need of managing the IT infrastructure through APIs and CLIs and the second by driving a modular design paradigm for provisioning that could incorporate faster changes
Being cognizant of the different aspects of provisioning and dependent components will allow the solution architect to articulate the importance and the need for an end to end solution both at a tactical and a strategic level. The level of knowledge and understanding will depend on the architect’s capabilities in the infrastructure area, understanding of enterprise policies and methodologies leveraged for orchestration and automation between various components and processes.