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When a hop is the wisest choice



When crossing a rushing torrent of water, your success may depend on finding a stepping-stone rather than attempting a leap that could fall short. The pace at which today’s digital era is unfolding can be likened to that swollen rocls.jpgriver—it’s scary and daunting, but it’s a Rubicon that must be crossed. There’s no other way to take advantage of transformative technologies such as Big Data, Mobility, and Cloud Computing. These massive, game-changing opportunities require embracing a new infrastructure approach. Modern-day businesses must navigate carefully to find the best route to a simple and modern data center.

The role of hyperconvergence as a key stepping stone towards reaching this goal is confirmed in a new Gartner Research Note entitled Prepare for the Next Phase of Hyperconvergence, which describes the steps in the journey to the software-defined data center of the future.

What is hyperconvergence?

Hyperconvergence is an appliance-based approach to infrastructure, with tightly integrated compute, storage, networking, virtualization, and other technologies residing in a single box, supported by a single vendor. Hyperconverged appliances remove complexity from datacenter deployment and management, with all elements managed from a single system using a common toolset. Hyperconverged appliances easily scale out through the addition of nodes to the system.

Hyperconverged solutions were hardware and appliance based. Newer solutions have decoupled hardware and software stacks, enabling software-defined storage and virtualization and a simple-to-use management layer.

Step by step

For many datacenters, the first step away from traditional infrastructure was the adoption of x86-based blade systems, which began in earnest around 2005. The next hop was to converged solutions, which began to appear around 2008 and are now reaching peak usage. From there, it is a relatively simple step forward to adopt hyperconverged appliances to reduce complexity and cost.

Each step forward is characterized by an improvement in the data center’s ability to support continuous application delivery, along with optimization of key economic factors like total cost of ownership, faster time to market (resulting in greater revenue and profit opportunities), and more efficient resource utilization.

But today’s hyperconvergence is not the end destination. Gartner predicts the next step in integrated systems will be characterized by dynamic, composable, fabric-based infrastructures. In this environment, modular and disaggregated hardware building blocks will drive continuous service delivery. Efficient resource utilization, granular and elastic scaling, and software-defined implementation will continue to redefine economic factors like TCO and time to market.

Why is hyperconvergence a good choice now?

As a key stepping stone, hyperconverged solutions bring IT—especially mid-size and enterprise businesses that may have limited IT resources —a step closer to the software-defined data center. As a single, compact appliance that can be managed by an IT generalist, they are also well suited for larger enterprises needing to provide IT services to branch and remote offices. Virtual desktop implementations can benefit from the enhanced scalability of hyperconverged solutions. Hyperconvergence gives enterprises an easy and cost-efficient way to deploy private/hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Companies that do a great deal of development work can also benefit from hyperconvergence with easy-to-deploy VMs. Each development team can have its own dedicated hyperconverged VM platform for its projects, and enjoy the flexibility, speed, low costs, and future-proofing that hyperconvergence promises.

What should you be looking for in a hyperconverged solution?

For these reasons, hyperconvergence is garnering a good deal of attention. The technology is compelling, delivering on the dual promises of continuous application delivery and improved economic performance necessary to remain competitive in the emerging digital economy.

A good hyperconverged solution offers:  

  • An intuitive interface that manages VM sprawl and over-provisioning, thereby increasing efficiency and flexibility;
  • Analytics to help predict utilization, plan resources, and prevent issues;
  • A federated architecture with software-defined storage that eliminates the need for dedicated array and SAN hardware;
  • Two-node scaling, using two nodes as the entry point to make it cost-effective to buy, deploy, and scale.

When you’re searching for a solution, Gartner recommends:

  • Choosing a vendor based on their maturity in driving a continuous application delivery model.
  • Architecting infrastructure as a service-driven platform (for example, cloud, templates, recipes, pay as you grow).
  • Applying five key determinants (simple, flexible, selective, prescriptive, economic) as part of the evaluation process.
  • Prioritizing vendors with intent to take their solutions to the next stepping stone (composability).

Getting to the other side

Hyperconvergence represents an important stepping-stone on the journey to the software-defined data center. By consolidating IT components into a single, optimized, easy-to-use, and easy-to-manage infrastructure, hyper-convergence gives companies a way to move at the speed of the cloud and seize new business opportunities without giving up control.

You can learn more about HPE Hyperconverged systems here.

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