As a topic not frequently discussed, converged infrastructure management is a notable element to converged infrastructure (CI) and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). These infrastructures unite the storage, compute, and networking functions to deliver a scalable and flexible solution for enabling cloud technologies. CI is a turnkey product that incorporates those functions. HCI differs from CI by using software-defined networking (SDN) to merge these functions.
Vendors opt to converge their infrastructure for a few beneficial reasons: easy maintenance; cost-effectiveness because of the use of commodity hardware, such as a white box or x86; and ease of use thanks to virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) and cloud computing.
What is Converged Infrastructure Management?
One of the highlights to converged infrastructure is the more straightforward management of HCI and CI compared to traditional storage structures. According to BMC, “the simplest way to think of CI is as follows: Storage management in CI systems is processed as an application.”
While HCIs simplify management processes and free up time for IT personnel to tackle other tasks, the IT team must still manage HCI. HCIs rely on virtual machines (VM) to orchestrate the policies, and those VMs require IT managers to monitor them. However, the managing of VMs is still not as time-consuming as managing a traditional data center.
Some companies offer automated discovery of issues in the converged infrastructure. Dell EMC advises to “use your existing systems management tools and build a profile for each workload [within the converged infrastructure], including statistics such as average and peak network utilization, average and peak CPU utilization and IO statistics for storage accessed by that workload.” Also, HPE stresses that converged infrastructure management is brought about by simplicity via SDN. HPE envisions SDN to manage converged infrastructure through template-based provisioning and single pane of glass for the entire infrastructure.