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What Is Discrete Provisioning?

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Ever wonder how cloud service providers are able to allocate exactly the storage, compute, and networking resources a given app needs to effectively deliver its services in production? In this article, we'll dive into discrete provisioning—exploring what it is, how it works, and why it's so important for optimizing resource allocation. 

What Is Discrete Provisioning?

Provisioning is the general act of making something available. In the context of IT, it refers to specific processes required to manage user and system access to various IT resources, including servers, storage, switches, routers, edge devices, and more. For simplicity's sake, it can be helpful to broadly categorize provisioning resources as network, storage, and compute. 

Discrete provisioning refers to the ability to distribute and allocate resources selectively and independently of each other. That means instead of provisioning an entire resource pool, it’s possible to break it up into smaller discrete units and provision them as required. It is this discrete selectivity that gives cloud service providers the granularity and agility they need to efficiently provision network, compute, and storage resources on demand. 

How Discrete Provisioning Works

In an enterprise environment, provisioning is planned out, including the necessary budget, security access rules, the application that needs the infrastructure, and who owns the resources. Administrators decide to use either cloud resources or build it on premises. Many organizations have moved away from provisioning in-house to save on costs, maintenance overhead, and the real estate needed to house the hardware.

Provisioning in the cloud is done from the provider’s dashboard. It might take a few minutes to provision various resources. For example, it might take a few minutes to provision a virtual machine or dedicated server because the system must install the operating system and configure the environment. Once the resource is available, administrators can configure it, test it, and make it available to the application or the appropriate users.

Benefits of Discrete Provisioning

The main advantage of discrete provisioning is the ability to provision each resource layer—compute, network, and storage—selectively and independently of each other. This allows you to provision only what you need when you need it. 

Because discrete provisioning is often done in the cloud, it also has several benefits over traditional resource provisioning. Administrators can save the organization money by hosting resources in the cloud and lower costs for new resources with scaling. The organization no longer needs massive real estate to house hardware, and the cloud offers better security tools than what can be built in-house. All resources can be spun up or down as needed without the need to dispose of hardware safely and securely.

When to Use Discrete Provisioning

Both small and large businesses can take advantage of discrete provisioning. If you need to expand infrastructure for an application or user storage space, discrete provisioning lets administrators allocate resources in the cloud. Users and applications can interact with resources as if they were hosted locally, but hosting them in the cloud reduces costs for the organization, requires less real estate, and makes infrastructure easier to scale as your business grows.

Modern Infrastructure Brings Discrete Provisioning to Hybrid Cloud

While discrete provisioning has traditionally been considered a benefit of cloud storage, the reality is that modern organizations must manage hybrid cloud deployments of on-premises, public, and private cloud environments. Maintaining the capability to discretely scale resources across increasingly complex hybrid cloud environments is no easy feat—especially when it comes to achieving that same level of granularity for on-premises infrastructure or legacy deployments. 

FlashStack® from Pure Storage and Cisco is an AI-based, software-defined hybrid cloud infrastructure integrating on-premises and multi-cloud landscapes. It’s discretely scalable, meaning you can provision storage, network, and compute resources independently of one another, both simplifying upgrades and improving efficiency. Read the solution brief to see if FlashStack is a fit for your needs.


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