Is being 100% virtualized a requirement for hyperconvergence?

One question that often arises when talking about hyperconvergence is one around whether organizations have to take an all or nothing approach to the technology.  Do you need to jump in feet first and rip and replace your existing services, or is there a middle ground somewhere between rip/replace and maintaining the status quo?

The answer is this: should you choose to adopt hyperconvergence as a strategy for your data center, you can choose to do so just to the extent that you wish or that makes sense for your company.  You do not need to move everything you have to hyperconverged infrastructure.  That said, there are a couple of important considerations you must understand before you take the plunge.

Of course, since hyperconverged infrastructure is based on virtualization at its core, you do need to have workloads that are capable of being virtualized.

Inception

Many hyperconverged infrastructure solutions begin life attempting to solve just one key problem.  For many, this problem was virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  VDI environments are notoriously fickle, particularly around storage, and many hyperconverged infrastructure vendors focus early and quick success in handily solving the vexing issues surrounding VDI.  For these organizations, this is how hyperconvergence first found its way into the environment.

Of course, many companies now deploy hyperconverged infrastructure for the mainstream server environment, too.

Coexistence

Rare is the organization that is simply going to torch their data center and just build a new one to adopt a new technology.  As such, there needs to be some period of coexistence between the hyperconverged environment and whatever the company already has in place.  That could be an existing virtual environment, a physical environment, or some combination of both.

This coexistence phase may be permanent.  The organization never has to be 100% virtual nor does it need to be 100% hyperconverged.  That said, the more variance in the overall data center, the more challenging that it is to manage and the less overall benefit that will be had with the hyperconverged solution.

TL;DR

There is no need to be 100% virtualized for hyperconvergence to be of benefit.

Scott D. Lowe, vExpert, MVP Hyper-V, MCSE
scott@actualtechmedia.com

Virtualization and storage expert Scott D. Lowe is a multi-year vExpert, MVP Hyper-V, frequent speaker for multiple organizations and Co-Founder of ActualTech Media. Scott has been in the IT field for over twenty years with ten of those years filling the CIO role for various organizations. Scott has authored several books and hundreds of whitepapers, research reports and the like throughout his career. Over the years, he has regularly contributed to such sites as TechRepublic, Wikibon, and VirtualizationSoftware.com and is currently the editor of EnterpriseStorageGuide.com

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