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This chapter is from the book

What's the Solution?

Obviously, with pressures coming from so many directions, you need an organized way to handle everything. This book provides a number of strategies to help you cope, but in a nutshell here are the key concepts:

Plan your infrastructure end-to-end.

When you plan your infrastructure, you can't just plan a piece at a time and hope it all works together. An adaptive infrastructure requires more extensive planning efforts. Chapter 3 explains how infrastructure patterns can help you do a more thorough planning job.

Design for adaptiveness.

Your infrastructure shouldn't just meet today's requirements; it should be ready to scale, adapt, change, or grow to deal with challenges on the horizon. Once you identify your challenges, you must face them squarely and start designing for them immediately. A later section of this chapter explains how adaptive infra-structure works.

Make infrastructure reusable.

A key reason for building an adaptive infrastructure is to make design standards and the physical components of your infrastructure reusable. Reinventing the wheel for every application only makes your infrastructure increasingly unmanageable and slows time-to-market. This book explains how to identify key infrastructure patterns within your organization, and how to structure them to leverage a set of reusable adaptive infrastructure services appropriate for the post e-Business era.

Find out what works, and do it.

It's important to move from a strategy of "trying everything" to a strategy of "finding out what works," and then doing those things repeatedly, while optimizing to improve quality and reduce cost. Much of this approach requires stronger processes, more focus on delivery of working solutions, and a little less focus on keeping up with new technology.

Focus on people and process.

Many IT people seem to focus on making product choices or architecture choices, while ignoring the people and processes needed to be successful. You can make great technology choices, but if you don't have the right people and processes, your technology choices will be useless and you won't get the success you need from them. Chapter 4 discusses people and process issues in considerable detail.

Choose the right technology and products.

Of course, striking a balance doesn't reduce the need to select the best technologies and products for your infrastructure and application delivery needs. The latest best-of-breed solution isn't always the right one for your organization. The IT world presents a new best-of-breed product every time you turn around, so it's impossible to stay on top of a strategy that always focuses on best-of-breed products.

Balance immediate needs with long-term goals.

Few people have the luxury of stopping the train to redesign the tracks. There simply isn't time to do that in today's fast-paced world, and the costs would be horrendous. To be successful, you must be able to change what you are doing while you are still doing it. You must strike a balance that helps you transform while you are performing.

This book shows you how to make the balancing act work correctly, and it provides a few specific approaches that might work for you. These recommendations include tying infrastructure solutions to new business plans, using incremental building strategies, and committing to new costs only as needed to handle incoming business opportunities—not buying for opportunities that never materialize.

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