Lenovo is extending its IT automation framework for provisioning IT infrastructure out to edge computing platforms.
Charles Ferland, vice president and general manager for networking and communications service providers at Lenovo Data Center Group, said the Lenovo Open Cloud Automation (LOC-A) framework provides a single pane of glass through which IT teams can not only provision IT infrastructure but also invoke other frameworks to automate, for example, the deployment of virtual machines on top of that IT infrastructure.
Ferland said while there are plenty of frameworks for automating the deployment of virtual machines, many IT teams will spend weeks manually provisioning IT infrastructure. LOC-A provides a mechanism to reduce the time and effort required to minutes. However, rather than completely reinvent the IT automation wheel, Lenovo decided to also integrate LOC-A with frameworks such as Ansible, Puppet and Chef, he said, noting that approach makes it possible for IT teams to adopt LOC-A without having to replace any of the IT automation frameworks they already might have in place.
LOC-A can also be extended to edge computing platforms other than ones provided by Lenovo, he added.
Beyond simply reducing the amount of time required to provision IT infrastructure, Ferland noted LOC-A also serves to reduce errors that typically occur when IT teams manually provision IT infrastructure. In many cases, those configuration errors can lead to cybersecurity issues later. Of course, many IT teams have developed custom scripts to automate the provisioning of IT infrastructure. However, most of those scripts don’t scale and are poorly documented, noted Ferland. When a member of the IT team that wrote the script leaves the company, often the IT team left behind must develop another script. In many cases, IT personnel view the scripts they develop as a tool that belongs to them rather than the company that hired them. Ferland said the primary goal is to provide a scalable IT automation framework that helps IT teams further advance the adoption of best DevOps practices.
Ferland said Lenovo developed LOC-A to provide a cloud-like experience for on-premises IT infrastructure that is similar to what IT teams experience when provisioning IT infrastructure on a public cloud computing platform. LOC-A is currently being employed by telecommunications carriers including T-Systems.
It’s no coincidence Lenovo’s decision to extend LOC-A to the edge comes at a time when carriers are creating 5G networks that require applications to be processed in real-time as close to where data is created. Those edge computing platforms are going to be deployed in, for example, locations that IT teams are not going to be able to physically reach easily.
It’s unclear to what degree IT automation frameworks might induce IT teams to standardize on IT infrastructure at the edge. Lenovo, however, clearly views providing this capability as a means to differentiate its platforms at a time when there is currently very little standardization at the edge. The challenge, of course, is the less standardization at the edge there is, the more difficult it becomes to manage.