Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

This chapter is from the book

Benefits of Adaptive Infrastructure

So far, most of the benefits of adaptive infrastructure have been fairly obvious. Other benefits may not be so apparent. Some of the less understood benefits are detailed below.

Developing an Adaptive Range

Understanding exactly what is "adaptive" about adaptive infrastructure can be a complex task. A number of dimensions are involved in quantifying the flexibility or adaptive range of infrastructure, as shown in Figure 1.7.

Figure 1.7 Measuring Adaptive Range

One obvious measurement is cost. Everyone wants a fixed, low cost, but how you deliver it is the real problem. Speed is the next measurement that attracts the most attention. Speed refers to the timeliness with which IT can respond to users and implement the business processes they want. However, speed is a derivative measurement. Certainly, buying more powerful hardware can increase the transaction rate, but infrastructure isn't equipped with a speed knob that can be turned up or down as needs dictate. To increase speed, other dimensions must be addressed.


You can build in some headroom (adaptive range), so that boxes and boards don't have to be swapped when increasing the number of users for an application. That is a relatively easy (though expensive) way to be adaptive, but it isn't sufficient to accommodate the rapid changes in business processes that users are creating.


Another dimension that affects virtually every IT organization is presentation: the way information is presented to users or business partners. Historically, the presentation layer has shown little adaptiveness. Organizations now spend a great amount of time and effort converting more traditional 2-tier, client/server applications into Web-based applications. Unfortunately, designing Web-only presentation solutions is equally limiting. Other presentation methods, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and interactive voice response (IVR), can't support a full-page Web display and will require completely new development efforts, which are expensive and time-consuming.

Presentation independence alone doesn't guarantee sufficient adaptability, however. Infrastructure planners should be very focused on the front end, but if the application-to-application integration issues aren't addressed simultaneously, the result is taller "stovepipes."

Partitioned complexity.

The ability to partition functionality and complexity within the infrastructure is another measure of adaptability. If the infrastructure cannot be effectively partitioned, the resulting complexity will spread throughout the organization and eventually become unmanageable. You must effectively manage the interfaces between applications and between infrastructure components, both for the enterprise and for applications used by external partners.


Infrastructure integration and reuse are also measures of adaptability. The typical organization requires a dramatic increase in the reuse of infrastructure code, other technology components, and skills to increase adaptability and speed of deployment. Reusable code is the opposite of legacy code. Whereas legacy code can be difficult to maintain, enhance, and integrate, the most adaptive code can be adjusted as the business evolves.

These factors and more contribute to the adaptability of an organization's infrastructure. This book discusses many of these issues in greater depth.

Increasingly, you must describe the value proposition for infrastructure directly to the business users in terms of the discrete service levels that they want delivered. By turning to a discussion of service levels, you can influence business users to consider more than just the immediate impact of a single application. You must convince the business to consider the value of adaptability, because it will take more money, effort, and time to deliver than single implementations.

The Importance of Reusability

Of all the concepts discussed so far, reusability is the most crucial. The patterns, platforms, and models used to create an adaptive infrastructure all depend on reusability. Without an effective approach to this issue, it will be difficult to apply the additional rigors of specifying pattern components and creating predictive cost models.

Reuse isn't simply a matter of being thrifty or making do with whatever hardware happens to be lying around the shop. In fact, reuse often involves just the opposite~weaning business units away from archaic legacy systems that are no longer cost-effective and replacing flawed applications or integrating them with other applications within the enterprise.

When implementing a reuse policy, the biggest challenge is getting people used to the new policy and getting them to fund it appropriately. It's difficult to tell business executives that their infrastructure requirements are physically impossible, or that they can't have an application because it's too difficult to support.

Many business units have the financial and human resources to subsidize non-standard implementations, but they don't. Instead, the IT department ends up absorbing the extra expense to support the deviation, or devoting extra resources and effort to making sure it works properly. This will continue until you present errant business units with a reasonable alternative or a bill for the extra time and effort. If the business units only encounter half-hearted resistance from IT, you will probably spend most of your time doing ad-hoc support, and you can forget about creating an adaptive infrastructure.

Reuse policies are both a logical precursor to and an integral part of implementing adaptive infrastructure techniques. Designing reusability well requires that you leverage all the concepts introduced here, particularly patterns and services. Once your organization is ready for reusability, or actively practicing it, you are ready to implement an adaptive infrastructure.

Reusable Components

The following table is a list of the infrastructure components that should be included in any reuse efforts.

Reuse and Adaptive Infrastructure

The concept of reuse has been around since the arrival of object-oriented programming (OOP) languages in the 1980s. OOP promised that developers could write applications, then reuse large blocks of code, called "objects," in other new applications.

OOP failed for a number of reasons. The concept was too complex and fine-grained for the average programmer to grasp. In many cases, software developers created objects that were so specific to a particular application that it was difficult to reuse them without a major rewrite.

As a result, developers were forced to start from scratch each time. Still, the OOP concept was compelling enough that others have since attempted to introduce reuse at higher levels of abstraction, such as security, middleware, and networking.

Scalability was another problem. An organization with a 100-percent object-oriented approach had to support millions of objects. This proliferation resulted in a separate object for every customer in a particular database. The history of some of object-oriented database wars shows this simply doesn't work, as shown in Figure 1.8.

Figure 1.8 What Kind of Reuse Is Achievable?

Table 1.1 Reusable Components

Basic Components

Metacomponents (Define standards for architecture, interoperability, etc.)


  • Circuits

  • Routers, hubs, etc.

  • Management software

Business rules


  • Servers

  • Storage

  • Workstations

Process models


  • Applications

  • Subsystems

  • User interface designs

  • Utilities (backup/recovery, security, audit, error handling, etc.)

  • Code fragments, macros, object classes, etc.

Documentation templates

  • Technical architectures

  • User manual outlines

  • Operations methods


Action diagrams


Data models

  • Types

  • Definitions

  • Structures





  • Project

  • Deployment

  • Testing


A more extensive infrastructure component list can be found in the component catalog listing detailed in Chapter 2.

In fact, reuse is best achieved at the infrastructure level, not within applications but between applications. For this reason, you should focus reuse efforts on broader external components.

A banking and financial services firm, for example, might have multiple credit authorization processes to support various business units. To promote reuse, you could consolidate these various applications into a single credit authorization module. It doesn't matter whether this common module is object-oriented or not. Reusability stems from the fact that different applications share it.

Third-party software vendors are leading the way in this area. SAP, for example, includes integration components in its architecture in the form of Business APIs (BAPIs). PeopleSoft leverages middleware from BEA Systems to integrate various modules, processes, and data types within its application suite. These types of components and middleware are crucial for organizations that are integrating existing applications into e-Commerce and supply chain solutions.

Applications that present IT services to external business partners depend heavily on component-oriented solutions. Each part of the supply chain becomes a component with interfaces exposed to its neighboring component, permitting the development of some fairly complex supply chain configurations.

The key to success in infrastructure planning is to change the way things are done so that applications become easier, cheaper, and quicker to integrate. Success also means being able to run these services long-term with high quality.

Another form of reuse that emerged in the 1990s involves placing a "wrapper" around legacy applications using interface definition language (IDL) models such as CORBA or DCOM. This practice is a perfect example of internal applications not needing to be object oriented. Typical mainframe applications can be migrated into a component framework by wrapping them inside an IDL.

Today, approaches such as Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Microsoft .NET are moving further down that path. These approaches provide not only "wrapper" capabilities, but also the beginnings of a set of Web services that can be leveraged across applications, processes, data types, and businesses. Web services represent the latest opportunities for leveraging and reuse at the intersection of the application and infrastructure worlds. These approaches take advantage of standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML); Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI); Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP); and Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

In summary, successful reuse efforts don't get deeply involved with fine-grained componentization. Rather, these broad efforts emphasize in-tegration components and focus on the infrastructure level.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020