Since the end of the 19th century, humans have been fascinated with the idea of artificial intelligence and self-governing machines – from the early novels by HG Wells to the Hollywood blockbusters 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator and Ex-Machina. And while this fascination will probably never subside, one thing is certain: In the not so distant future, machines will become increasingly useful to us.
One area ripe for this advancement is IT infrastructure management. Machine intelligence will allow infrastructure to regulate, protect and heal itself from external attacks or threats.
Evolution of IT services: From the artisans to autonomics
In the coming years, there will be a polar shift as autonomics begins to play an increasing role in the delivery of services. The polar shift (or, more accurately, the geomagnetic reversal) happens when magnetic north and magnetic south swap places (about once every 500,000 years). The IT equivalent means humans and machines swapping places. In today’s workplace, humans use systems and processes to fix problems when infrastructure goes wrong. With true autonomics, the machines self-regulate and only occasionally escalate decision making to humans.
Over time autonomics will display ever-more sophisticated cognitive characteristics where machines will interact more effectively with customers, clients and operators. The upside of this transformation is not only economic – it’s about delivering a higher quality of service. With autonomics, it’s about eliminating mistakes – which humans are prone to – and enabling machines to do things faster and more thoroughly. This is my vision of the future.
Cloud’s key role in autonomics
At its heart, autonomics is partly about the automation of key processes and tasks but it is also about machines being able to make decisions as the environment in which they operate changes.
The on-ramp for these advanced autonomics is cloud computing. The beauty of having a cloud platform that is compatible with the traditional ITIL world, and the highly automated cloud environment, is that this multimodal way of working can become streamlined. The marriage of cloud computing and autonomics means that machine intelligence is no longer restricted to an on-premise architecture, but can be spread across various cloud-based services that run simultaneous instances of autonomics. In other words, businesses running machine learning on the cloud will be able to scale their services to meet demand across a variety of platforms, anywhere in the world.
Because machine learning improves with continued use, widespread use of machine intelligence through the cloud will lead to autonomics, a natural evolution of automation. At that point, autonomic computing can evolve almost naturally, much like human intelligence has over the millennia. There’s one stark difference, though: with cloud computing, the advances will happen at a much faster pace.