A new architecture is emerging that promises to make a dramatic improvement in resource utilization. It’s known as “composable infrastructure”.

What is Composable Infrastructure?

A composable infrastructure is an approach to data center architecture that decouples high-performance applications and workloads from the underlying hardware. A composable data center infrastructure creates pools for data center resources based on where they will run most effectively at the moment.

Storage, computing, and networking resources traditionally ran on the servers that had been specifically configured for them in data centers. Multiple architecture revisions have been made to data centers, including converged and hyper-converged infrastructures, intended to make IT resources run more efficiently and quickly. Composable infrastructure has a similar purpose.

composable infrastructure

How does it work?

In a composable infrastructure, resources are logically pooled so that administrators don’t have to physically configure hardware to support a specific software application. Instead, the software’s developer defines the application’s requirements for physical infrastructure using policies and service profiles, and then the software uses application programming interface (API) calls to create (compose) the infrastructure it needs to run on Bare metal, as a virtual machine (VM) or as a Container.

A framework defines what the individual objects “of composure” are  — and each object exposes information about itself through a management API.  Then, when a software application requests infrastructure to run, available services are located through an automated discovery process, and resources are allocated on demand. When an infrastructure resource is no longer required, it is re-appropriated so it can be allocated to another application that needs it.

Benefits of Composable Infrastructure

As data creation, capture and utilization continue to grow exponentially, data architects face challenges such as bandwidth and latency concerns, CPU overprovisioning, and excessive costs when it’s time to scale capacity. Composable infrastructure offers benefits to resolve these challenges, enabling a highly efficient and scalable data center.

Increased Efficiency

The individual components can be managed as a resource pool and data managers can allocate each resource on demand over a high-speed low-latency computing fabric.

No Overprovisioning

Resources can be dynamically provisioned and composed using a common-standards-based API without reconfiguring or re-cabling the hardware. Scale up each resource independently, add only the specific components/services you need, and keep costs predictable.

Flexibility

Need to replace or upgrade a CPU or other component? It’s easy to do that without disrupting any of your other installed components or services.

Faster Deployment

The composable infrastructure enables IT departments to streamline and accelerate application deployments. Applications are never down for server replacements because they always use whatever various components/services are available.

composable infrastructure

Why Composable Infrastructure?

In addition to stability, modern IT departments need to deliver agility, or the ability to meet new business demands on the fly. Traditional IT has typically been focused on “keeping the lights on” while minimizing costs, but modern IT also needs to achieve high operational velocity, enabling the business to quickly deliver new products and services to the market.

Traditional infrastructure solutions predate virtualization and require new physical servers and customized networking and storage solutions to support new applications. In this model, you often need to build out silos of infrastructure to support different workloads, increasing the cost and complexity of your data center.

Composable infrastructure eliminates the need for workload‐specific environments and provides a fluid set of resources that can be dynamically combined to meet the unique needs of any application. It provides the best application performance possible, reduces underutilization and overprovisioning, and creates a more agile, cost-effective data center. With composable infrastructure, IT can provision on-premises infrastructure just as quickly and painlessly as public cloud resources can be acquired and deployed.

Unlike other simplified infrastructure solutions, such as converged and hyperconverged infrastructure, composable infrastructure gives IT the ability to maintain physical workloads inside the same environment that supports virtual and container-based workloads.