Within the last year or two, the industry press has started to buzz about hyperconverged infrastructure. Moving away from a traditional hardware-defined data center and to a software-defined one that resides mostly within a single appliance is being touted as an important next step in the evolution of the workplace’s virtual brain.
But, no doubt, as you’ve explored the online conversation about the topic, you’ve had some questions about the feasibility, and the wisdom, of implementing a fully hyperconverged data center—and you are right to have concerns. As with any emerging tech trend, there’s still a lot up in the air. By exploring the following concerns that you probably have about hyperconverged infrastructure, we can get a better idea for where things might be going and what you and your clients could stand to gain or lose.
1. Aren’t There Security Risks?
Building the entirety of a data center with no physical delineation between the components, not to mention making every system available through one management pane, does pose some potential security concerns. Hackers being able to more easily hop from one portion of a data center to the next once they gain access to an initial virtual component may put information stored in hyperconverged data centers at a greater risk of being compromised.
That said, proponents of hyperconvergence have been working on meeting these challenges. Micro-segmentation, for instance, allows for the creation of virtual fault lines around components, mimicking the harder distinctions between discrete physical pieces of a traditional data center and allowing for individualized security management around each virtual component.
2. What About Vendor Lock-In?
In a traditional data center setup, each piece of equipment can come from a separate vendor, and if something needs to be swapped out or upgraded, a company only needs to seek another vendor for that particular component. In the more locked-down converged data center, with a whole matched and integrated hardware stack coming from a single vendor, it’s still physically possible to sub in a piece of hardware from a new vendor, should one of the elements of the converged data center go bad.
In a hyperconverged system, there’s no space for the sorts of separate vendor relationships that allow for the upgrading or replacement of individual components, because there’s only one piece of physical hardware and one all-in-one product. What this would mean for upgrades, switching vendors, or wanting to integrate a third-party physical component into the virtualized system if possible remains open, scenario-dependent questions.
3. Is Hyperconvergence a Flash-in-the-Pan Concept?
Just because something is touted as the next big thing in the world of enterprise technology, it doesn’t mean it will find its way into every office. However, it’s important to recognize exactly how quickly things can change. The way that machine virtualization has caught on and shaken up server management in the last few years shows us that some tasks that once required discrete pieces of hardware can evolve to be managed solely on the software level. So it’s not out of the question that hyperconvergence could become popular on a big scale.
However, we don’t need to declare hyperconvergence the inevitable future of enterprise computing quite yet. More realistically, businesses and solution providers will figure out the right use cases for the technology. Ideally, they will apply it where it makes tech sense and business sense and apply more traditional hardware models where it’s advantageous to have physical separation between data center components. And, of course, with enterprise needs always evolving and technology evolving alongside them, there’s no telling what other new solutions and data center administration paradigms may appear alongside converged data centers, hyperconverged data centers, and cloud-based data centers.
The data center will continue to change and develop, but whatever path it takes, your top priority is evaluating how the right technology can best meet your customers’ business needs.
Have you seen your clients benefiting from moving to hyperconverged infrastructure?