The Era Of Hyperconvergence: Simplifying Your Data Center Operations
The past decade has felt more like a century in terms of advancements in enterprise computing, networking, virtualization and storage capabilities. From the prominence of Amazon Web Services’ pioneering public cloud platform to the process-unifying concept of DevOps, the exponential growth of these technologies has greatly impacted business’ ability to react, deliver and drive innovation in their industries.
Staying true to the trend, the overlying philosophy of what it means to be truly agile -- to adapt to the ebb and flow of business IT and systems operation -- has recently received another facelift. Enter the theory of hyperconverged infrastructure. This paradigm of data management is brand new. If you had attended a conference or summit on trends in data center strategy in 2012, the words “hyperconverged infrastructure,” or HCI, would have been nowhere to be found. However, the fledgling industry has since been booming; one of the leaders in the hyperconvergence space, Nuntanix, reported nearly $445 million in generated revenue in its most recent fiscal year.
That’s all well and good, but what exactly is HCI and why has it garnered a prominent foothold in both enterprise-level and SMB data center operations? As Matt Brady, CEO of IO Corp puts it, HCI solutions are all about simplifying your data center operations.
The Emphasis On Scalability
Your organization’s ability to scale is quantifiably measured by the impact that an expansion or improvement has on the use of your resources. That is, the longer it takes to implement new processes or software, the less your return on investment. Public cloud vendors have been the frontrunners in providing premium scalability solutions, allowing consumers to add space or services easily with the click of a button and little to no interruption.
Hyperconverged environments are giving the public cloud model a run for its money, however. HCI operated under a software-defined data center capitalizes on all the provisioning benefits of the public cloud while being hosted in its own dedicated data center. The design allows the data center to be managed as a unified system and gives the option to select expansions as the organization sees necessary in a seamless, one-click upgrade.
“For HCI to fully compete with the public cloud providers, it must be much more than just the hardware convergence or the bundling and repackaging of hardware components into a chassis,” Brady said. “The management and ability to scale must be as easy as public cloud architects are used to seeing, and that's exactly what true HCI does.”
Less Focus On Maintenance, More Focus On The Work That Matters
The two above benefits combine to create the hallmark of HCI's core concept as a driver of innovation. With the ability to reduce costs on hardware, automate routine life cycles and maintenance, revolve control and management of those operations around one console, and pick and choose the services that will strategically scale with the company, you free up critical amounts of time, money and personnel to focus on what makes your company great.
“Personnel resources are not eliminated per se, but their focus is shifted to supporting the business applications," Brady continued. “Instead of playing pickup and passively responding to your business, you are addressing issues before they arise and spearheading innovation to rise to the top of your market.”
More and more, a business’s success is being measured by its ability to adopt emerging digital advancements in computing, storage, networking and virtualization. From small businesses to large enterprises, adopting a hyperconverged data space is slowly becoming the benchmark of top-tier companies, regardless of industry. The benefits of HCI are undeniable: You’ll see savings on operational and personnel costs, you’ll have the security of a private server with the elasticity and scalability of the public cloud, and you’ll be freed up to do the work that pushes you to the front line of your market.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Brady said. “With a hyperconverged environment, you can reap the benefits of the elasticity of the cloud with the control and security of on-premise systems, all within a consolidated management infrastructure.”
To put it another way, HCI compounds all operations based around the control of data and places these components into one centralized instance of management. Emphasis is taken off of the networking of siloed or legacy systems, promoting cost-effectiveness, scalability and the liberty to innovate on an unprecedented level. Let’s take a closer look at each of the benefits that a hyperconverged infrastructure can bring to your business.
The glaringly obvious perk of a hyperconverged environment is the reduction of the cost of maintaining sweltering on-premise servers dedicated to storing data. On-premise hardware is definitely still an option with HCI, but with the emergence of technology such as x86 hardware, companies can get the same (if not better) performance from this powerful and cost-effective hardware.
However, HCI savings go beyond just the money-vacuum of operating expense efforts. Traditionally, IT teams have been required to manage each piece of the infrastructure with separate vendor consoles such as storage, compute and virtualization components. Operation and maintenance of these pieces often required specialization and certification, which obviously can be quite costly.
“In a true hyperconverged environment, you will see a simplification of the oversight of these various components,” Brady said. “Management and deployment of compute and storage resources, management of data protection strategies, and deployment of applications is centralized to one HCI console, reducing the need for inflated IT personnel dedicated to one environment.”
Originally published on Forbes.