How to Prepare for the Coming Age of Dynamic Infrastructure

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Infrastructure 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Rene Buest, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Mike Azevedo

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Converged Infrastructure vs. Hyperconvergence By @Stratustician | @CloudExpo #Cloud

So how does an organization achieve all the benefits of converged infrastructure?

Converged Infrastructure vs. Hyperconvergence
By Andrea Knoblauch

While the idea of converged infrastructure isn’t that new, and we’ve seen some strong efforts from vendors over the last few years to drive more adoption, the uptake from enterprises has been met with some challenges.  In 2014, and now in 2015, organizations are not just looking to gain bigger returns on their cloud investments, but also looking to how new methodologies, such as converged cloud infrastructure and hyperconverged infrastructure that can help deliver new competitive advantages through services, applications and most importantly, faster time to market. Can converged infrastructure meet all these cloud dreams? Let’s find out.

Converged clouds in particular have been popular since they offer not just software defined networking capabilities, but also because they help customers including a high level of software automation into their environments which are great compliments to current on-premise private and hybrid cloud models or to deliver purpose-built services such as workplace on demand.

So how does an organization achieve all these benefits of converged infrastructure? Well, first we have to look at what exactly makes up converged infrastructure. There are 2 main ways we are seeing adoption of this new methodology.

First: Traditional hardware based converged infrastructure. This type of model leverages hardware that has already been certified as a full solution and is usually purchased as a fixed system. An example of converged infrastructure is VCE’s vBlock.

Second: Software defined convergence, or Hyperconvergence, which leverages solutions from different vendors to build a system. Hyperconvergence is usually delivered as an appliance that acts like a controller for the other infrastructure, such as we see with Nutanix.

The real difference here is how you use each component. Traditional converged infrastructure uses components that can be repurposed for specific items, such as a build using server, storage that can be used together for a converged solution, or broke apart for use as standalone.   In the case of storage, each physical storage device is connected to the servers, and data is stored in a more traditional method or writing directly to the attached storage. Generally with converged infrastructure, each component is designed to work together.

Hyperconvergence on the other hand, leverages a heavy software focus to use each component, so that everything is integrated and cannot be broken apart in order to use each component individually. In this model, you would use a storage logic controller (normally part of the SAN hardware) acts as a software service attached to the hypervisor and takes all of the local storage from all the individual VMs and configures it as a single storage pool, whether made up of local or remote servers. Hyperconvergence focuses on the virtual machines, the ability to easily scale out resources by adding x86 nodes, native data protection, and a software-centric design. These systems are also generally developed and supported by a single vendor.

One of the key questions from organizations prior to looking at hyperconvergence is going to naturally be around what kinds of cost savings come from moving towards a hyperconverged infrastructure. Truth is, it's not going to do much for your hardware costs up front, but it will help with the management and lower support costs. Hyperconvergence, like any other software initiative, does have licensing costs associated to it, so its more beneficial for many to look at this type of solution when you are ready for a large overhaul of your data centre, not necessarily if you are looking to update one or two components.

That being said, there are tons of great case studies of how hyperconvergence can help streamline automation, orchestration and control. Traditional approaches to infrastructure simply cannot keep up with the benefits of introducing hyperconvergence, but it will be a controlled adoption as more organizations are just starting to upgrade their environments to support these new technologies.

For a great overview on the newer trendsetters in the hyperconvergence space, check out Network Computing’s 10 Hyperconvergence Trendsetters.

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