Is Hyper-Converged Right for You?
Hyper-converged is not just a reference architecture re-wrapping the servers, storage, networking and hypervisors you use today. Hyper-converged is truly a converged platform, meaning servers and storage packaged together with a network connection. It becomes web-scale when you add software defined storage elements into the platform. Think about Google, Facebook and Amazon – they could not run their services effectively and efficiently if they were bound by traditional IT infrastructure.
Today I’ll talk about how to identify if hyper-convergence is a fit for your organization.
If you are struggling with performance, cost and complexity as you deliver IT services, you are not alone. These three reasons are key underpinnings for looking at hyper-converged or web-scale infrastructure that allow you to recalibrate your approach to IT service delivery. Why? Let’s look at all three.
Performance: The acceleration of applications by moving from disk to flash has helped clients unlock some additional value in the infrastructure. However, any IT architect will tell you flash is not always the answer – in fact, you may be trading one bottleneck (I/O and latency) for another (overloading your network or taxing the CPU’s cycles). Hyper-converged/web-scale solutions provide the best of both worlds. The solutions are pre-packaged to leverage flash and disk backed with a software defined solution. You will get predictable performance for your applications and enjoy the benefits of compression, dedupe, tiering between flash and disk and software defined RAID. Most clients have to pay extra for these features and as a result, many storage solutions in the data center today have one or two of these features, but not all of them. More important is how these features are packaged to work in tandem, providing exponential performance gains in a scenario of 1+1=3.
Cost: If you are not trying to find a way to reduce CAPEX or OPEX in your IT budget, you are unique and should enjoy it while it lasts. I meet with 200 clients a year and I can tell you cost is in the top two for IT decision making. The question being asked throughout the organization from CEO down is how do you reduce costs while delivering IT services competitive with SaaS and cloud based IaaS providers? There is no wrong answer here. In the context of hyper-converged/web-scale infrastructure, you pay as you go. Start with what you need and scale up. Pick what you need to keep the infrastructure balanced. When you compare cost models for traditional infrastructure to these new models you can save at least 20%, simply because you are combining servers and storage into one package. Operationally, you no longer require a server and storage admin, tasks can be handles by one resource.
Complexity: I love this one, because we all live in this world. What if you could get a better handle on the complexity of delivering IT services? Instead of having racks and racks to support an environment, what if you could condense that into a single rack, or even a half a rack, but deliver predictable performance that is reliable while (as I mentioned above) saving 20%? There is not a CIO in the world that would not sign-on to have that in place. Moving storage and servers together is not new. We had application servers with direct attached storage and before that mainframes. What IS new is the innovation in software development that enables everything to work in harmony as you scale.
Let’s talk about specific use cases:
- Virtualized infrastructure refresh
- Private cloud PODs
- Remote Office
- AWS/Softlayer today but looking to buy infrastructure soon
If you have questions or would like help in determining if hyper converged is a fit for your organization, give us a call.
Director of Solutions Architecture