Is now the time for hyperconverged infrastructure?


In the not-so-distant past, most infrastructure comprised disparate servers, storage, and networking components carefully brought together, perhaps with a virtualization layer on top. Integrating new products or making updates was time- and space-consuming. That was the norm—until the recent rise of hyperconvergence.

With hyperconverged infrastructure, IT teams can get the whole nine yards of infrastructure within a virtual computing appliance that combines servers, storage, and network functionality into one device. By removing the siloes in infrastructure, hyperconvergence streamlines processes and improves the data storage, agility, and continuity that IT teams need to give end-users the service they need, when they need it.

The right hyperconverged solution makes it faster and simpler to manage data storage and computing across multiple data centers, and to scale up or down when needed. It also saves time on vendor management and minimizes interoperability challenges. It is generally more cost-effective than traditional approaches because it pares down time-consuming processes, while improving IT teams’ ability to deliver on business objectives.

Hyperconvergence adoption is booming

Such benefits are making hyperconvergence a top trend in 2017, according to ActualTech Media’s 2016 State of Hyperconverged Architecture survey report of 1,100 IT professionals.

Adoption has increased by 54 percent over 2015, and 37 percent of the ActualTech survey respondents say they’ve already invested in hyperconvergence. More than half of those who haven’t yet adopted the new technology plan to do so in the next two years.

The major driver for hyperconvergence is the perception that it will help the IT team meet the needs of the business, as well as reduce costs (55 percent). The second major driver is high availability (44 percent), followed by improved scalability and performance (43 percent).

This June, industry leader Nutanix enhanced its Enterprise Cloud OS software, which extends its hyper-converged infrastructure across on-premises and public clouds. Hyperconvergence is rapidly becoming a key pathway to effective IT automation, together with cloud orchestration and software-defined infrastructure.

Four considerations for hyperconvergence adoption

Finding and implementing the right solution requires time and upfront investment, of course. Here are some potential ways to identify and explore the prospects:

  1. Assess where you are. Plot your progress on the journey to a more agile, automated data center. How many physical servers and storage appliances are you using? How much is virtualized? Is current infrastructure empowering you to meet business objectives, or is it slowing you down?

  2. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure can create or update backup policies for thousands of VMs across dozens of remote sites—all from a single console and in about a minute. Meanwhile Cisco’s HyperFlex can be hybrid or all-flash, depending on your needs, and can be deployed in less than an hour. To determine the option that’s best for your organization, it’s wise to dig deep into the various capabilities.

  3. Consider short and long-term impact. Moving to hyperconverged infrastructure quickly improve your ability to provide great IT service, and reduces costs over time. But the strategy also requires upfront investment that you’ll need to argue for with long-term cost savings as well as potential operational improvements.

Hyperconvergence or bust?

Not quite. It may not be the right option for every IT organization at this point, particularly for those that have recently upgraded infrastructure. Converged infrastructure still has its place, too. For example, if an organization is performing analytics with a really unique set of apps, a high-functioning, new converged system is probably worth sticking with.

Ultimately, however, the promise of improved service delivery makes hyperconvergence a strong pick, whether it’s possible now or in the long run.



August 10, 2017