In early September, I spent a memorable three days at VMworld 2015 in San Francisco. In my time on the floor, I talked with a number of IT leaders and was pleased to note an expanding, keen interest in hyper-convergence (HC) – a great development, considering the exciting opportunities that HC opens up for companies looking to achieve all the benefits of a truly integrated, software-defined infrastructure. (For a quick overview of the advantages, watch this ChalkTalk video.)
A relatively new technology, hyper-convergence (HC) directly addresses the challenges of today’s siloed data center infrastructure. Think of it as software-defined infrastructure that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking, and virtualization resources in a single, seamless and easily scalable appliance module â€“ all within a highly compact footprint. Most of the folks I spoke with at VMworld seemed familiar with the basics of the technology, although several were thinking of HC only as a separate infrastructure stack. They were interested to learn that actually it can blend beautifully into an existing environment. For example, you don’t have to utilize only the internal storage; you can also connect out to existing storage.
But what people are asking now is not so much what HC is, but what it can do for their data center. The answer is that it can do a great many things, but in this post, I’ll focus on remote office and branch office workloads.
Hyper-converged for remote offices: you won’t need admins with a PhD in Computer Science
Businesses with remote locations benefit from standardized systems that are easy to deploy, manage, and scale, especially since hyper-converged solutions enable much of the day-to-day work to be handled by IT generalists. Let’s say you’re a company with development and test teams in office locations scattered around the world. An HC solution that can be sourced worldwide can enable you to standardize processes for managing and supporting systems in those remote locations, including, for example, your backup and recovery processes. Each development team can have its own dedicated VM for projects. As their projects grow, they can quickly add infrastructure resources to maintain excellent response times.
Simpler, more efficient management helps you reduce operating costs while meeting the full range of compute, storage and network needs at your remote sites. Imagine an overseas project, a company launching a new office in Dubai, for example. They need everything consolidated on the ground at that location, and they need clear and easy communication with the main office. But they don’t have multiple admins with a wide range of expertise to manage a bunch of different platforms. For companies in this kind of situation, a hyper-converged solution is a great move.
The hyper-converged advantage: up and running in 15 minutes
Lines of business can achieve similar advantages. A department might want to run all of its own equipment, but may only want to deal with one platform, oh, and by the way, only one person is necessary to do all the management. With a hyper-converged solution, you can essentially start up and run a mini-business within the larger business. Or you can customize hardware and software, let’s say for an HR application, on a single system that is segregated from other applications/systems.
In environments like these where there are limited IT resources, hyper-convergence is fast becoming a preferred solution. Designing, assembling, and configuring a complete, fault-tolerant, virtualized infrastructure out of individual components can take weeks of an IT specialist’s time. With the right HC solution, you can have those same server, storage, and networking components up and running in less than 15 minutes and it doesn’t require any special training. For guidance on moving to a hyper-converged system, see the white-paper: Top 10 Things You Need to Consider When Buying a Hyper-converged Infrastructure.
It all comes down to reducing complexity. HP ConvergedSystem for Hyper-Convergence powered by Intel offers an easier way to connect and manage everything drivers, firmware, storage, networks, you name it. It’s essentially a turnkey solution that brings the software-defined data center within the reach of midsize organizations.
To learn more, check out our e-book: Five things to know about Hyper-Convergence