Thanks to advances in cloud computing and digital transformation, enterprises have shifted their storage infrastructure from running several hardware units to merging them into one, called a converged infrastructure (CI). Converged infrastructure combines the storage, compute, and networking components based on x86 hardware in a unified turnkey product. The 2018 Future of Converged Data Report mentions that “these all-in-one designs have several significant advantages compared to traditional servers: easier to purchase, faster to deploy and manage and potentially lower operating and capital costs.”
A Short History of What is Converged Infrastructure
The history of CI is similar to a pendulum. Computing infrastructures began as a merged, all-in-one mainframe. Then in the 1980s and the 1990s, the pendulum swung to a different trend, the dismantling of the centralized mainframe. The computing infrastructure disassembled into individual storage, compute and networking components to achieve the same result. In 2008, Oracle announced the first return of the converged approach with its converged infrastructure product, HP Oracle Database Machine. It wasn’t until around 2010 when Google and AWS demonstrated the viability of cloud computing, that enterprises focused more on CI. The introduction of cloud computing prompted the pendulum to swing back toward CI to simplify the processes of dynamic cloud computing.
Future of Converged Infrastructure
CI provides scalability, flexibility, and affordable data center capabilities to enterprises. Tintri believes CI will become even more flexible and cost-effective in the future. As a result, CI will “become more attractive to small and medium-sized business owners who don’t have the financial resources for in-house IT staff.” Also, the surge in CI use will stem from an increased reliance on distributed file systems, such as Ceph and GlusterFS, distributed databases, management and orchestration software, and, of course, enterprises hosting their own private clouds.