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Friday, September 18, 2015

Confronting IT Challenges through Hyperconvergence

Contributed Article:

Today’s enterprise IT infrastructure is a picture of complexity. Customers buy and integrate numerous products, for different functions, from as many vendors, each with different management screens, training courses, licensing, refresh cycles, and modes of operation.

Legacy IT infrastructure is complex, costly to maintain, and not designed to deal with mission critical applications running in virtualized environments for enterprises. IT leaders are looking for viable, simple, scalable and cost-effective solutions in order to maintain competitive operations. Hence, the nature of Hyperconvergence makes it a worthy consideration and it’s no wonder that Hyperconvergence has become the hottest trend in IT infrastructure!

Hyperconverging IT infrastructure

Hyperconvergence brings a simplified and consolidated computing or IT infrastructure designed for virtual workloads. Specifically, it seamlessly combines all of the IT components and services below the hypervisor into an x86 building block. This means there are no silos of independent IT components. IT teams also do not need to manage discrete devices or have specialized training in component-level technology, such as storage area networks (SANs).

This way, hyperconvergence greatly simplifies IT infrastructure, which makes operations more efficient. It improves the speed and agility of deploying resources for virtual workloads.

What is the ‘side effect’ of hyperconvergence, you may ask. Well, hyerconvergence also help enterprises to significantly reduce IT costs. Before we go in the cost savings, let us see how this innovation came about.



Putting the ‘hyper’ into convergence

There are three phases of convergence, all of which started in 2009 in response to the glaring need for a simplified and consolidated datacenter infrastructure.

First there was Convergence 1.0 or ‘integrated systems’ in the early days. Solution providers put existing storage, server and virtualization into one box with a single support number. The idea with integrated systems was to make it easier and faster to deploy than legacy IT infrastructure.

Convergence 1.0 solutions took the first step in consolidating some of the physical infrastructure. However, point products were still needed for data protection and WAN optimization. The underlying data architecture remained untouched with Convergence 1.0 technologies and therefore, the data problem and the input/output (I/O) gap still existed.

Next came Convergence 2.0 or the ‘partial converged’ systems. With this, the server and storage were converged to a single shared resource pool. Convergence 2.0 was another great step in the right direction. Nevertheless, it was not VM-centric and it does not address the problems around efficiency or performance, nor did it include native data protection or a global unified management function.

Finally there is Convergence 3.0, also known as true hyperconvergence. True hyperconvergence delivers the highest degree of efficiency and value. It provides cloud economics with enterprise-class performance, protection, and resiliency that IT requires.

Enterprises can be assured of the following benefits:
  1. HyperEfficiency
  2. HyperProtected
  3. HyperSimple
  4. HyperManageable
  5. HyperAvailability

There are many vendors in the market who claim to be offer hyperconvergence by delivering server and storage running on x86, but these solutions may not address the I/O problem.

A true hyperconverged solution needs to be able to solve the I/O gap by deduplicating, compressing, and optimizing all data, at inception, once and forever, across all stages of the data lifecycle. This increases efficiency and simultaneously improves performance greatly. These were also the key factors missing in Convergence 1.0 and 2.0.

What does this mean to you?

Hyperconvergence is a solution that helps enterprises gain the economics, ease of management and scalability of cloud computing in their own data centers. It combines all the elements of the legacy IT stack below the hypervisor such as, networking, storage, processors, backup, WAN acceleration as well as backup and management tools found in a datacenter and assimilate it into x86 based building blocks or appliances all managed through a single management interface integrated directly into the hypervisor. This dramatically reduces the amount of hardware, management applications and the man-hours needed to manage IT.

Cost savings

Enterprises today are implementing hyperconvergence based on a data architecture that addresses the performance, capacity, mobility, management, data protection and greater efficiency required in today’s modern datacenter. True hyperconvergence can reduce an enterprise’s total cost of ownership by 300 percent and have storage requirements reduced by as much as 100:1 providing data efficiency.

Less complexity

The rapid adoption of virtualization across the world and an increasing demand for IT services have also led to more complex datacenters. This means that most IT professionals are dealing with 12 different management consoles, resulting in the organization spending more than 80 percent of their budget managing and maintaining their environment.

Hyperconvergence allows IT professionals to consolidate and simplify these functions and management consoles, reducing the amount of infrastructure that they have and the complexity of skills required to manage everything. For instance, they can manage their entire IT infrastructure – or the IT stack below the hypervisor – with the tool that they manage their virtual environment in, for example the VMware vCenter. This means IT departments can refocus their resources more strategically.

Finally, with the growing complexity and cost of legacy infrastructure, many organizations have been looking to the cloud to drive costs down but there is a fear of losing enterprise class capabilities. Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions can bridge that gap and attain the best of both worlds: the economics of the cloud along with enterprise class functionality. Many organizations today are looking towards a hybrid cloud solution, and solutions such as the SimpliVity OmniCube -- which has that functionality built in. It works ideally for organizations with remote or branch offices because of the high levels of data efficiency and ability to remotely manage those sites from a single console.

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