Enterprises decide to implement a Converged infrastructure (CI) or Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to consolidate their storage, compute, and virtualization components into one, integrated system. Enterprises need to develop a converged infrastructure strategy to reap the benefits from these infrastructures.
The top benefits of CIs and HCIs include quicker deployment than traditional data centers, heightened data protection, easy management, and reduction in operating costs. The main difference between CI and HCI is that CI is a turnkey product. HCI goes further to use software-defined networking (SDN) to deliver the all-in-one approach.
How to Develop a Converged Infrastructure Strategy
To start off, Gartner outlines five key considerations to review when developing a converged infrastructure strategy. The five elements are simplicity, flexibility, selectivity, prescriptive, and economic. Several vendors offer CI and HCI products. The considerations that Gartner lists provides an excellent guideline on how to compare each vendor’s product to decide what is best for an enterprise. Here’s a brief review of each consideration to help IT decision-makers develop a CI strategy.
Adding orchestration, virtualization, automation, and scheduling to an IT environment complicates the IT processes. A perk of a converged solution is reducing the complexities to a centralized resource and management system by placing infrastructure below the hypervisor. IT administrators should compare how each vendor’s products provides simplicity to the lifecycle and management process that will open up their time to focus on other tasks.
Flexibility allows for the server farms to host the merger of commodity hardware with random access memory (RAM) and flash. It also provides clients with pay-as-you-go features when they need to utilize more or less of the CI or HCI.
Selectivity is a more granular inspection of the services a CI product provides; for instance, what type of hypervisor does the product include? Or what is the software management? Each component that creates a CI or an HCI product needs to be evaluated to see how it will impact an enterprise’s IT objectives.
“Without a prescriptive environment that offers predictable, guaranteed performance we have nothing,” according to NetApp’s Aaron Delp. When deciding a vendor to choose from, enterprises should evaluate whether they trust the vendor and the vendor’s product to deliver on objectives. Things to consider are how many workloads should simultaneously run without impacting IT performance and how will this product helps achieve an enterprise’s long-term goals.
A converged approach reduces costs as it centralizes management. When comparing vendors for a CI product, IBM’s North American PureFlex Sales Enablement Leader at IBM Dan Hiss advises, “before jumping in with any particular vendor of converged infrastructure, you should consider how this is going to not only integrate into your environment, but how is it going to leverage your existing IT investments, which may or may not be amortized, and will it support your IT needs five to 10 years down the road.” Analyzing how a CI works with current IT systems in place is the best method to ensure cost-effectiveness.