I love a good fire. Anytime I get the chance to use our fire pit, I do. I gather all of my kids, we grab some wood from the pile (along with some experimental material like foam plates, don’t judge) and we get to burnin’. One thing that I don’t really do, I don’t ask the kids what kind of wood they are bringing me. It doesn’t matter. It is just fuel for the fire.
These days, server hardware is often seen like the material for my backyard bonfire – just fuel. Most of the time, treating hardware as merely a commodity makes sense…except, when it doesn’t. Some applications and use cases are going to require specialty hardware to gain the efficiency and throughput needed to succeed in this space. (Big data anyone?)
Convergence: From Infrastructure to Operations
The IT infrastructure market has experienced remarkable growth during the past several years, with SDDC, containers, and virtualization all advancing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, software-defined networking (SDN) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have moved from concept into the realm of reality.
Amid all of these infrastructure advances, the convergence of infrastructure has begun to progress as well. Hyperconvergence is a relatively new approach that incorporates a software-centric architecture with networking, storage, compute, and virtualization housed in an appliance supported by a single vendor. It is even becoming an open source movement under the banner of opencompute.org.
This convergence/disruption has fueled a preference among many enterprises to buy simplified converged solutions rather than building piecemeal. The converged products save space, create efficiency, can be deployed quickly, expand via a modular approach, and are frequently more cost-effective than alternative solutions.
While converged infrastructure products have many benefits, enterprises should be aware of the potential drawbacks, including scalability in private and hybrid cloud environments. Often, converged products work well in the cloud because of their ability to be pretested, preconfigured, and set up for automatic patching and easy upgrades to allow for immediate deployment and productivity.
This simplified set up process removes one of the biggest challenges data centers face, allowing them to focus precious time and resources on applications rather than infrastructure set up and maintenance.
The Convergence Future
Convergence of infrastructure is a reality today, but in the future systems may further converge into the operational layer, expanding Infrastructure and Platform as a Service to a comprehensive IT as a Service. This shift requires a dramatically different mindset on the part of enterprises.
The benefit of convergence is that it eliminates the need to view every deployment decision through the lens of each silo: compute, virtualization, security, storage, and networking. The result is increased efficiency not only for people, but also for processes. Uptime can also be increased and more applications deployed at a lower cost. Applications can be deployed more easily, and maintenance is simplified.
Like any new concept, converged infrastructure is likely to remain a novelty in the near term. But eventually, enterprises will begin to take notice as platforms advance.
The true benefit of converged infrastructure is its natural evolution to converged operations, which offers tremendous advantages to data centers. To make the most of this evolution, enterprises must re-think their processes, personnel roles, and values to capitalize on the benefits of convergence.
Contact us to learn more about how converged infrastructure can help move your enterprise forward.