10 ways to tell if an infrastructure solution is really composable

History has shown that whenever a new, innovative technology comes to market, there are both skeptics and early adopters who embrace it with open arms

For instance, when Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2008, I was skeptical. Why did I need my phone to take pictures and have a GPS to find my way? I had friends and colleagues who ran out to get one and raved about its capabilities. Fast forward a few years, and every cell phone company in the world offers a smart phone, and I have to admit, I don’t know where I’d be without mine.

The same pattern is true when it comes to composable infrastructure. First introduced as a concept in late 2015, some in the industry were skeptical and others saw the incredible potential it provided. Of course, competitors realized the remarkable possibilities for the technology and immediately began imitating it, calling their solutions “composable.”

Just like any new technology, it’s important for customers to be clear on what composable infrastructure really is and what it isn’t – because not just any piece of infrastructure can be classified as composable. To help you evaluate any solution calling itself composable, here are ten ways to tell if it really is:

1. Does it have a single infrastructure for all applications?

Any solution that claims to be composable must deliver the ability to provide the application with the exact optimized footprint it needs – one that provisions and runs a workload across virtual machines, bare-metal deployment, containers, and cloud-native applications.

2. Does it use all resources?

A truly composable infrastructure should provide fluid pools of compute, storage area network (SAN), local storage, and network fabric resources that can be continually aggregated, disaggregated, and composed based on the needs of the application.

3. Does the solution deliver software-defined intelligence?

Composable Infrastructure should remove complexity by providing programmable and template‐driven software intelligence in a single management platform. The software-defined intelligence should also deliver capabilities for self-discovery and auto-integrating across all components of the infrastructure, allowing new resources to be automatically discovered and integrated.

4. Does it have a single unified API?

Today, each element of infrastructure in your data center probably has its own distinct API, requiring complicated code or management tools to configure and provision a single workload. True composability provides one simple and open RESTful API that allows you to abstract and control every element of infrastructure and easily plugs into other programming elements.

5. Is it compatible with a variety of tools, chosen from a growing ecosystem?

DevOps teams prefer sets of tools that allow them to rapidly provision and deploy applications. Those tools should still work in a composable infrastructure. A broad and growing ecosystem of tools should also be available (such as Ansible, Chef, Docker, Microsoft, OpenStack, Puppet, and VMware).

6. Does it deliver true infrastructure-as-code?

A composable solution should allow DevOps teams to provision and control physical resources from their applications, giving them true infrastructure-as-code ability that enables continuous deployment. Think of it as bare metal at the speed of cloud, with templates that unify the process for provisioning compute, connectivity, storage, and OS deployment in a single step – just like provisioning VM instances from the public cloud.

7. Is the solution designed for composability?

Instead of investing in a reconfigured, old product, look for a solution that is designed for composability from the ground up.

8. Does the solution deliver a return on your investment?

A composable solution should eliminate over‐provisioning and stranded resources. Each workload should use only the resources it needs, and return those resources to the pool when they are no longer needed. Processes and services align around a single-delivery model, reducing complexity and cost.

9. Can the solution future-proof your business?

With a composable solution, there should be no limits to scalability and no barriers to creativity – your infrastructure should get out of the way and work harmoniously with any data center.

10. Does it allow you to start on the path to composability now?

Find a solution that allows you to get started when you’re ready and proceed at the speed that is best for your business. Your solution should allow you to deploy in incremental steps, delivering the benefits of composability where it is most needed today without disrupting critical applications.

Composable Infrastructure is changing how businesses are operating their data centers, opening new opportunities for speed and flexibility while removing cost and complexity. As the first platform built from the ground up for composable infrastructure, HPE Synergy guarantees each of these 10 items. Customers worldwide are seeing first-hand how HPE Synergy and composable infrastructure provides the flexibility to adapt to every workload and the power to deliver services at lightning speed.

About Paul Miller

Paul Miller is Vice President of Marketing for the Software-defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE has assembled an array of resources that are helping businesses succeed in a hybrid IT world. To learn more about composable infrastructure, download the Composable Infrastructure For Dummies guide.

To read more articles from Paul Miller, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.