Leveraging the Benefits of Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Is your current infrastructure holding you back? When you look at your network diagrams, do you get a headache? If so, take a look at hyperconvergence, which solves a number of datacenter pain points with a single appliance. Here are six benefits of these systems that combine compute, storage and networking into one easy-to-use solution.

1. Lower Costs

Cost isn’t the only consideration when designing your IT solution, but it’s certainly important. The fastest datacenter in the world isn’t actually all that useful if you have to spend your entire profit margin on software licenses and an army of specialist staff.

Hyperconvergence uses an economic model similar to that of public cloud providers, avoiding large up-front costs and large infrastructure purchases every few years. This is achieved by using low-cost commodity hardware, and by scaling the datacenter in small, easy-to-manage steps.

Hyperconvergence uses a building-block approach that allows IT to expand by adding units as needed. This uses resources more efficiently than the traditional model of large rip-and-replace hardware refreshes every few years. It avoids the need to overprovision in order to have room for future growth, and provides faster time to value for datacenter expenditures.

It also decreases the cost of entry, since businesses only need to pay for what they actually need, not what they will need five years from now. Hyperconverged systems have a low cost of entry and a lower total cost of ownership compared with legacy infrastructure or integrated systems.

In hyperconvergence, the most complex stuff is handled under the hood. IT staff need only to have enough broad knowledge to apply infrastructure resources to meet individual application needs.

2. Smaller, More Efficient IT Staff

As nearly all of the legacy datacenter hardware gets folded into a hyperconverged environment, the staffing needs of the IT department change. Rather than having specialist staff with deep subject matter knowledge for each separate resource area, hyperconvergence can give rise to infrastructure generalists.

In hyperconvergence, the most complex stuff is handled under the hood. IT staff need only to have enough broad knowledge to apply infrastructure resources to meet individual application needs.

Hyperconvergence management software uses virtual machines (VMs) as the most basic objects of the environment. All other resources — storage, backup, replication, load balancing, and so on — merely exist to support these VMs. The policies that manage these underlying resources are created and managed by the software, letting IT administrators think and plan on a much higher level.

3. Greater Gains Through Automation

Automation is a fundamental part of managing hyperconvergence. When all datacenter resources are truly combined and when centralized management tools are in place, administrative functionality includes scheduling opportunities as well as scripting options.

These are greatly streamlined compared to what is required in a traditional datacenter design, because IT personnel don’t need to worry about trying to create automated structures with hardware from different manufacturers or product lines.

4. Simplified Procurement and Support

Hyperconvergence provides a single-vendor approach to procurement, operations, and support. In this respect, hyperconvergence is similar to the offerings of systems integrators. Customers get one point of contact for the life of the system, from initial inquiry to system stand-down.

However, hyperconvergence is usually less expensive than integrated systems. It is also simpler, especially in the matter of upgrades. In a hyperconverged system, there is only a single manufacturer and only one upgrade to be done. As the vendor adds new features in updated software releases, customers gain the benefits of those features immediately, without having to replace hardware. Reduced complexity in these processes translates directly to saved time and lower operational costs.

5. Increased Data Protection

Hyperconvergence software is designed to anticipate and handle the fact that hardware will eventually fail. This is why multiple appliances are necessary in the initial deployment to achieve full redundancy and data protection. The use of commodity hardware ensures that customers get the benefit of these failure avoidance/ availability options without having to break the bank.

Hyperconvergence software is designed to anticipate and handle the fact that hardware will eventually fail.

This is in contrast to a traditionally designed datacenter, where comprehensive data protection can be both expensive and complex. To provide data protection in a legacy system, you have to make many decisions and purchase a wide selection of products. In a hyperconverged environment, however, backup, recovery, and disaster recovery are built in. They’re part of the infrastructure, not third-party afterthoughts to be integrated.

6. Improved Performance

Hyperconvergence enables organizations to deploy many kinds of applications and workloads in a single shared resource pool without worrying about reduced performance due to the IO blender effect.

Hyperconverged systems include both solid-state storage and spinning-disk in each appliance. The mix of storage enables systems to handle both random and sequential workloads easily.

A single appliance might have multiple terabytes of each kind of storage installed. Because multiple appliances are necessary to achieve full redundancy and data protection, there is plenty of both kinds of storage to go around.

With so many solid-state storage devices in a hyperconverged cluster, there are more than enough IOPs to support even the most intensive workloads, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) boot and login storms.

The IT team can move away from the need to create resource islands just to meet IO needs of particular applications. The environment itself handles all of the CPU, RAM, capacity, and IOPS assignments so that administrators can focus on the application and not individual resource needs.