Where does Hyperconverged fit in the storage landscape?

The emergence of Integrated Systems back in 2010 marked the first time that leading technology companies pulled the compute, storage and network layers of IT infrastructure together. This was by no means a new way of working.

The emergence of Integrated Systems back in 2010 marked the first time leading technology companies pulled together the compute, storage and network layers of IT infrastructure. This was by no means a new way of working. Organisations had in fact already been looking to manage their own environments in a similar fashion for a number of years. However, this signalled a new era of packaged products, which have since become a disruptive offering in the traditional IT arena. Four years later, according to Gartner, Integrated Systems made up 10% of the total server, storage and networking spend globally.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a flurry of new vendors; the ‘Hyperconverged’ players, who are taking Integrated Systems to a whole new level. ‘Software defined’ has fast become the focus of the storage market, whereby all infrastructure is abstracted from the underlying hardware and moved completely into the software layer through virtualisation. Hyperconverged solutions simply bring together multiple ‘software defined’ layers to essentially create a datacentre in a box.

‘Hyperconverged solutions promise scalability and a predictable cost model, allowing IT budgets to be managed even more effectively; a tantalising prospect for the CIO’

From Server Virtualisation to VDI, hyperconverged platforms have multiple functions within the datacentre and work perfectly in many use cases. By uncoupling compute, storage and networking from the hardware layer, hyperconverged solutions promise scalability and a predictable cost model, allowing IT budgets to be managed even more effectively; a tantalising prospect for the CIO. However, it is not to be mistaken as the silver bullet and admittedly organisations are still wary of new technology.

The benefits are clear for all to see and from organisations who have taken the leap into the new world, they are benefitting from;

  • Simplified management, freeing up resources for other projects
  • A web scale architecture that can flex with their requirements
  • Linear scaling on performance with predictable costs

So the most common question from many organisations we work with is: “where does a hyperconverged solution fit?” As previously mentioned, there are many use cases for a hyperconverged solution. Take server virtualisation for example, you may have legacy servers and storage devices that need replacing. Do you just replace like for like or utilise the hyperconverged technology which provides both in a single appliance? Many would view a traditional approach as the safest bet, however, the management of numerous vendor interfaces, time of implementation and multiple support contracts can all contribute to increased costs. A hyperconverged solution is the simplest and quickest way to deploy a virtualisation solution, without the complexity.

‘The most important thing for all organisations is to carefully plan for their future. What are their demands for today and what are the predictions for tomorrow?’

How about a VDI rollout? Many VDI projects have suffered from poor designs leading to a poor user experience, which in turn leads to user distrust and projects being shelved. With Hyperconverged the work has been done for you, the infrastructure blueprints are already available with a linear scaling model removing all of the guesswork. As organisations expand they simply have to add additional capacity with no adverse effects to the performance or management of the platform.

The most important thing for all organisations is to carefully plan for their future. What are their demands today and what are the predictions for tomorrow? Does the current architecture meet their needs? If not, what does the future need to look like? Working with a partner can help you to visualise where you need to be and support you throughout the design and configuration of a future proof solution, protecting your investment in the long term. Why not start with one area of the IT infrastructure and then grow from there?

One thing for sure is that change is upon us and the traditional approach to IT is outdated. In the words of John Paul Getty, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy”, we need to embrace the change and make the most of all it has to offer.


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