IT infrastructure is moving up the stack. IT organizations are under pressure to deliver more capability with little to no growth in their budget. The budget pressure means CTOs/CIOs must drive as much efficiency out of their resources. These resources include employees, vendors, and equipment. The beneficiaries of these drivers are Public Cloud computing and engineered system vendors. Examples of engineered systems include hyperconverged systems such as Scale Computing’s $25K 3-node cluster and Nutanix’ $120K 3-node cluster. Higher-end solutions include HPE’s Converged Systems built off a high-availability platform such as the SuperDomeX. And of course, there're various Cloud vendors such as AWS and Azure.
A commonality between these vendors is the outsourcing of low-level system integration. The concept of an infrastructure architect designing and testing RAID, Storage and Network configurations is increasingly rare. IT infrastructure is a fungible concept. IT infrastructure architects require a broader skill set beyond the knowledge of configuring BGP or designing a virtualization cluster. With that said, what are some of the questions I’d expect a candidate to answer in an interview for an IT infrastructure architect role in today’s landscape?
Here’s a short-list with some commentary.
Q1: Give your definition for software-defined.
Commentary: There’s no right answer to this question. However, there’s a wrong answer. The incorrect answer is a design. Or specifically, a design based on a vendor's concept of software-defined.
Q2: Describe a microservice and how you’d implement a microservice in abstracted infrastructure.
Q3: How do you provide a highly available infrastructure via a public cloud service?
Q4A: What’s a namespace?
Q4B: What are some of the namespace challenges in a software-defined or hybrid infrastructure?
Q5: Should developers have API level access to data center resources? Explain.
Q6: In the context of configuration management, describe a configuration item in a software-defined infrastructure. What happens to that CI if I migrate a resource from a cloud provider to the private data center?
I have a ton of other questions I’d ask, but these six should quickly eat up a 1-hour discussion. For me, the answers to these six questions are enough to make a decision on the technical capability of the resource I’m interviewing.
I’d love to hear feedback and questions on these questions and what additional questions you’d ask.