There is a lot of talk today about converged infrastructure, and for good reason: The model can save companies time and money, while making them more agile and flexible. Here are five things you need to know.
1. It’s a “combination’ of technologies.
Gartner defines integrated systems, or converged infrastructure, as “combinations of server, storage and network infrastructure, sold with management software that facilitates the provisioning and management of the combined unit.” These converged systems break down IT silos and make it faster and easier for companies to deploy the technology needed to drive and support business initiatives—especially in an increasingly customer-driven environment in which change happens early and often.
2. Converged infrastructure is modular.
Converged infrastructure is modular, providing organizations with repeatable and scalable building blocks that can grow and change with companies’ and customers’ changing needs.
3. Converged infrastructure can be inflexible.
One of the big benefits of converged infrastructure is that a single vendor can provide a data center solution based on your company’s needs. This is also one of the technology’s drawbacks. Converged infrastructure systems may not be right for a company whose IT staff is accustomed to using a little of this and a bit of that, tied together with hand coding and a great deal of customization. With that said, companies that have this kind of in-house savvy may also have a use case where a converged system makes sense—maybe the company needs to be up and running extremely quickly, or maybe keeping it simple(r) with a converged system can help a company demonstrate compliance. Which brings us to our next item …
4. Converged infrastructure is purposeful and requires a solid use case.
Organizations should have a good reason for implementing a converged infrastructure solution. In other words, converged infrastructure isn’t a solution looking for a problem. Companies that leverage converged infrastructure most effectively are the ones that have a solid use case in mind for it and that work closely with the vendor or vendors of the technology to ensure that the right combination of server, storage and network infrastructure is put in place.
“You don’t buy a bunch of converged systems and then run a laundry list of workloads on each one; you buy a converged system to host a specific workload,” notes veteran technologist Orin Thomas in his blog post “Converged Architecture: Can You Be More Specific?”
5. Converged infrastructure has a huge impact on, and is hugely impacted by, storage.
Converging new and legacy technologies and systems within your organization requires a close look at storage—how much you have, how much you need, how it should be provisioned, how it can be scaled, and so on. Indeed, convergence of new and existing technologies creates new opportunities—and new storage requirements.
Henry Baltazar, research director of storage at 451 Research, says the time it takes to provision storage is one of the biggest issues with converged architecture. Provisioning resources can take anywhere from weeks to months, says Baltazar in a blog post titled “Converged Architecture: 5 Questions to Ask About Storage Provisioning.” He adds that organizations should work closely with their vendors to determine, first, how long it will take and, second, the best way to assign storage capacity to servers, computers, virtual machines and other computing devices, as well as to incorporate both manual and automated mechanisms to allocate server storage space.
There are many things companies need to consider before determining whether converged infrastructure makes sense for them. And, then, they need to decide which converged systems from which vendor will work best for a particular use case specifically and for the business in general.
Are you considering converged infrastructure? Please let us know in the space below what your use cases are and what your evaluate experience has been like.
Underwritten by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Converged Infrastructure through the new HPE Composable Infrastructure: Enables IT to operate like a cloud provider to lines of business and the extended enterprise. It maximizes the speed, agility, and efficiency of core infrastructure and operations to consistently meet SLAs and provide the predictable performance needed to support core workloads—for both today and tomorrow.
HPE ConvergedSystems: Integrates compute, storage, and networking resources to deploy pre-validated, factory-tested configurations, from HPE, in weeks instead of months. HPE ConvergedSystem gives you lower cost of ownership and greater flexibility to meet more business demands.
HPE Converged Architecture: A flexible and validated reference architecture, 100% fulfilled through HPE channel partners. Based on best-in-class HPE compute, storage, and HPE OneView infrastructure management software, this architecture delivers interoperability with a choice of third party top-of-rack networking switches and hypervisors from leading industry vendors.