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Hyper-convergence and Cloud: a perfect romance


Hyper convergence and cloud

By: Dharmendra Muthu. Product Manager for Converged Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

By now you’re probably aware of the buzz around hyper-convergence, a relatively new category of infrastructure that gives you server, storage, networking and management in one compact appliance. Hyper-convergence (HC) hugely simplified installation and administration of some really powerful software-defined capabilities. And of course you’re aware of the value that a cloud solution can deliver via self-service capabilities, a service catalog, and automation. So you may be wondering: how would a hyper-converged system work with my cloud strategy? What are the potential synergies? In short, how do they fit together? 

Well, let me put it this way: for companies that have achieved some of the benefits of virtualization and want to extend and amplify them without a huge upfront investment, hyperconvergence and Cloud is a match made in IT-efficiency heaven. Here’s why:

  1. Hyper-convergence gives you an easy way to dip your toes in the cloud. Excuse the mixed metaphor, but you know what I mean – with a hyper-converged system, you can start small and fast with cloud and see how it can add value for your organization.

    And there’s a lot to be said for a phased approach to cloud. Take the self-service aspect for example, one of the key benefits of cloud. The cloud enables an enhanced level of end user independence via self-service portals, enabling you to pull together all the resources you need for a big project with a few strokes on a keyboard. All you have to do is create a template which, for example, might give you three web service VMs, two app service VMs, and one database. And then, with a click of a key or two, you have your service up and running.

    But as with any other technology change, the complexity lies not just in the infrastructure, but in the people and processes around it. What often happens (and I’m speaking from experience here, I’ve seen this in several cases) is that organizations build a top-notch self-service cloud environment for their customers – but no one uses it. People still end up picking up the phone and talking to the admin to get things done. That’s why it’s essential to start small, weave the right organizational processes around it, get it functional – and more importantly, get the lines of business/developers to use it – before embarking on “cloudifying” the whole datacenter.

    An excellent starting point for the cloud journey for organizations that have already virtualized is to think in terms of single virtual machines, rather than in terms of complex services that span across multiple machines and need a lot of advanced orchestration. For this kind of focused and phased approach, a hyper-converged infrastructure is ideal.

  2. HC is compact and cost-effective. Typically, in many cloud implementations, you’re looking at a full, rack-size installation – a bladed enclosure, storage, top-of-rack switches. The price tag puts it out of reach of many small and midsize businesses that want to test cloud to see if they can make something out of the efficiencies it delivers. With a hyper-converged system, everything you need is in one box, and the upfront investment is more manageable. You can get up to four times the compute in 75 percent less space than with traditional servers, along with reduced energy consumption for power and cooling.

  3. You can achieve rapid time-to-value. Standing up a full-blown, cloud-capable infrastructure can be complex and time-consuming. What we’re hearing from many smaller and midsize companies, as well as cost-conscious larger organizations, is this: “I want just one, integrated, virtualized platform. Do as much config as you can in the factory, pre-populate it with the basic service catalog, and bring it onsite – make me productive on Day One.” And that’s exactly what happens with a hyper-converged system.

  4. You can put application development into overdrive. With extreme IT efficiency comes greatly increased agility. Hyper-convergence plus cloud gives you an ideal development and test environment for new apps, whether they’re for your business end-users or for the marketplace. And that includes cloud-native apps. These days, we’re seeing increasing numbers of smaller organizations and startups creating cloud native applications using a new wave of products such as NoSQL databases (e.g Cassandra and MongoDB). There’s a whole array of technologies out there that you can tap into, if this an area you’d like to explore.

  5. You get to choose: private, public, or hybrid cloud. The ease and convenience of the pay-as-you go public cloud model is attractive to many SMBs. But the traditional worries about security and compliance, though much reduced these days, still weigh heavily with IT leaders. A hyper-converged private cloud is a highly competitive alternative. While it does involve an up-front investment, it’s not as hefty as what’s typically required for traditional cloud infrastructures. And over, say, a 3-year period, the TCO could be quite a bit lower than with a public cloud strategy.

At the same time, you’re not restricted to private cloud, because a hyper-converged solution supports a public cloud strategy too, or anything in between. What it really helps you to do is to rely on in-house infrastructure for your average use, and then turn to the public cloud when you have a spike in activity or a surge in demand. You probably won’t want to run your entire shop on public cloud, because over a few years you’ll likely end up paying a lot more.

For more on what’s involved in making the decision to invest in a hyper-converged solution, check out this white paper: Top 10 Things You Need to Consider When Buying a Hyper-converged Infrastructure.

About the Author



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  Worst case is no power, internet, cell phone.  Normal communication  infrastructure overloaded or down completely.

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