Providing data center solutions is a different game from what it once was. The ongoing debate about the ups and downs of businesses moving to the cloud is probably the angle of the infrastructure world that gets the most press. But on-premises infrastructure has not disappeared. Springing up are new methods of implementing in-house infrastructure that take advantage of technological innovations and address the shifting needs—financial and technological—of businesses of all sizes.
If you’re selling data center solutions, you have probably heard the term “hyperconvergence” popping up over the past few years. While it might not be getting the kind of mainstream buzz that cloud computing gets, it’s a concept that’s revolutionizing how data centers operate. Customers seeking to upgrade their on-premises data center infrastructure, or even start anew with on-premises data storage, will have questions about what exactly hyperconvergence is and how it can facilitate their needs.
This introduction should make you aware of what exactly hyperconvergence is and what it takes to roll it out and help you determine if adopting a hyperconverged infrastructure makes sense for your clients.
What Does Hyperconvergence Mean?
In a hyperconverged system, all of the numerous hardware components and tools that usually make up a data center’s infrastructure are taken care of by a truly all-in-one solution. That’s one hardware bundle in one tower managed through one software package, all coming from one vendor. So instead of component-based solutions built up over time, managed by different silos of data center IT staff, and supported by different vendors, there’s just one single hyperconverged solution. The different services that are traditionally managed on different pieces of hardware are apportioned out on the software level.
What Is Hyperconvergence Good For?
Sprawling data centers that operate based on combinations of legacy hardware and software products and custom integrations can be prone to inefficiencies and malfunctions and reliant on large IT staffs managing each element of the center. A hyperconverged system addresses these concerns.
The cost savings attached to employing fewer specialized IT staff in a data center is one big advantage of a hyperconverged infrastructure. Needing to only reach out to one vendor for support and for patches and upgrades also makes the hyperconverged system an attractive option. It may also enable small to medium-sized businesses to take advantage of in-house data center infrastructure without requiring the full IT teams that big data centers often require.
Hyperconverged systems can also be scaled more easily than other forms of infrastructure—new modules can be implemented without having to go through the complex discovery and implementation process that can occur when trying to make a major change to one part of a delicately balanced system.
What About Security?
Having multiple hardware and software solutions in place to meet different data center needs can end up requiring a different type of security for each component. For instance, in a traditional data center, perhaps security patches for a backup solution are rolled out by the backup vendor, while hypervisor security is managed by someone else. Likewise, security holes can appear in places where data is transferred from one part of the traditional data center to another.
Hyperconverged data centers ideally remedy such concerns by having all the necessary security solutions managed through the one vendor responsible for the hyperconverged system. This leaves far less room for such problems as overlooked security patches and unsupported legacy products without up-to-date security solutions.
How Is Hyperconvergence Implemented?
The implementation of a hyperconverged system can be more or less complicated, depending on the circumstances. If the business is starting fresh, implementing the infrastructure will obviously be easier. If a large, established enterprise with a multi-faceted, multi-siloed data center makes the switch, a migration plan will be necessary. Hyperconverged infrastructure providers offer migration tools to handle some of the data needs that such a project necessitates.
Are There Downsides to Hyperconvergence?
Like any implementation of a new solution, implementing a hyperconverged system will mean a change in the way things operate, and that can be both positive and negative.
One potential downside is that hyperconvergence can limit the amount of customization that an enterprise’s IT staff can implement. Having dedicated IT staff working on different components can sometimes allow for incremental changes and custom builds that can suit specific enterprise needs in a way that an all-in-one system cannot facilitate.
Another potential concern is that, as alluded to earlier, implementing a hyperconverged system can have a big impact on IT job roles within an enterprise. While there may be up-front cost savings attached to such a move, it should not be rushed into or treated lightly.
Assessing all the ups and downs of an existing system and proceeding strategically are critical to any successful migration or implementation.
How have you seen enterprises benefit from implementing hyperconverged infrastructure?