April 20, 2024
Composable Infrastructure

Composable Infrastructure: The Future of IT Systems Flexibility

What is Composable Infrastructure?
Composable infrastructure refers to an IT architecture approach that separates hardware, software services and data into individual, independently managed components. These components can be dynamically composed and recomposed on demand through application programming interfaces (APIs) to meet changing workload and business needs. By making infrastructure resources software-defined, composable systems allow granular allocation of compute, storage and networking resources as microservices.

Benefits of Composability
Composable Infrastructure offers many benefits over traditional rigid systems. Some key advantages include:

Increased Agility and Flexibility
With composability, infrastructure resources can be dynamically composed and recomposed on the fly through simple API calls. This allows IT teams to quickly configure and deploy new workloads without having to provision entire new physical or virtual servers. Resources can be reallocated in minutes rather than days to adapt to changing business priorities.

Optimized Resource Utilization
Composable systems break down infrastructure silos so that CPU, memory, storage and networking capacities are pooled collectively. Resources can be optimally allocated on an as-needed basis across workloads rather than left underutilized in fixed purpose-built servers. This improves overall infrastructure efficiency.

Streamlined Operations and Management
A composable model presents infrastructure as software-defined, agentless services that are centrally managed. Workload deployment, monitoring, patching, upgrading and other IT operations tasks become simpler, more automated and consistent across a shared pool of resources.

Reduced Costs
By right-sizing resource allocations dynamically and eliminating stranded capacity, composable architectures help reduce over-provisioning. Fewer physical servers need to be deployed which lowers capital expenditures. Simplified operations also reduce staffing and energy costs over time.

Increased Scalability and Performance
Fine-grained composability allows workloads to seamlessly tap into additional compute or accelerators on demand to meet spikes in activity. This dynamic scaling improves performance and end-user experience while avoiding overprovisioning for peak loads.

Key Elements of Composable Systems
Composable infrastructure solutions incorporate several essential components and design principles:

Disaggregated Resources
In composable models, traditional rigid server configurations are dissolved in favor of discrete, independent compute, storage, networking and software services that can operate independently from dedicated hardware.

Software-Defined Everything
All infrastructure resources including servers, storage arrays, switches etc. are abstracted and pooled as software-defined services that can be delivered on demand. Physical hardware becomes interchangeable.

Automation and APIs
Composability is achieved through open APIs and architectures that allow intelligent, automated assembly and management of resources into workloads. Interfaces follow standards.

While deconstructing infrastructure, composable solutions also converge resources by integrating computing, storage, networking and software into software-defined building blocks.

Resource Pooling and Sharing
The disaggregated, software-defined resources are pooled collectively into virtual warehouses from which workloads can dynamically tap into capacities on demand through APIs.

Distributed Control
Composable systems distribute control across the pooled resource fabric for scalability as well as resiliency through real-time control planes which can reroute traffic if any component fails.

Implementing Composability
Leading IT vendors have started offering composable infrastructure solutions following similar reference architectures. Some approaches focus more on hardware disaggregation while others emphasize software-defined services. Implementation generally involves the following steps:

Assessing Current Environment
Audit existing systems, applications, capacities, management processes etc. to identify modernization opportunities and drivers.

Defining Architecture
Design target composable model around workload needs with guidelines on automation, APIs, pooled resource clusters, control planes etc.

Implementing Foundation
Deploy software-defined building blocks by virtualizing servers, storage arrays, networking etc. Integrate hyperconverged core infrastructure.

Integrating Management
Setup centralized orchestration, monitoring and automation tools integrated with composable infrastructure control APIs.

Onboarding Workloads
Start migrating and deploying new physical/virtual workloads onto the composable environment through the management interface.

Optimizing Operations
Fine tune resource allocations, review utilization metrics and make ongoing adjustments to maximize efficiencies across scaling workloads.

Adopting Composability in Stages
For large enterprises, transitioning sprawling legacy systems to fully composable models requires time and multi-phase transformations. A common approach is to start with new greenfield deployments in test/dev environments for proof of concept. Lessons can then be applied to adopt a hybrid model alongside physical infrastructure followed by selective workload migrations before fully modernizing production systems. Composability also needs to be supported at both infrastructure and application architectures for optimized benefits.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it