What is Hyperconvergence?
What are the key concepts behind the much talked about hyperconverged infrastructure model?
Corporate technology undergoes a massive shift every so often as new models emerge to meet changing business needs. This chapter is about hyperconverged infrastructure, which is the culmination and conglomeration of a number of trends, all of which provide specific value to the modern enterprise.
So, what is hyperconvergence? At the highest level, hyperconvergence is a way to enable cloud-like economics and scale without compromising the performance, reliability, and availability you expect in your own data center. Hyperconverged infrastructure provides significant benefits:
- Elasticity: Hyperconvergence makes it easy to scale out/ in resources as required by business demands.
- VM-centricity: A focus on the virtual machine (VM) or workload as the cornerstone of enterprise IT, with all supporting constructs revolving around individual VMs.
- Data protection: Ensuring that data can be restored in the event of loss or corruption is a key IT requirement, made far easier by hyperconverged infrastructure.
- VM Mobility: Hyperconvergence enables greater application/workload mobility.
- High availability: Hyperconvergence enables higher levels of availability than possible in legacy systems.
- Data efficiency: Hyperconverged infrastructure reduces storage, bandwidth, and IOPS requirements.
- Cost efficiency: Hyperconverged infrastructure brings to IT a sustainable step-based economic model that eliminates waste.
Hyperconvergence is the ultimate in an overall trend of convergence that has hit the market in recent years. Convergence is intended to bring simplicity to increasingly complex data centers.
Convergence comes in many forms. At its most basic, convergence simply brings together existing individual storage, compute, and network switching products into pre-tested, pre-validated solutions sold as a single solution. However, this level of convergence only simplifies the purchase and upgrade cycle. It fails to address ongoing operational challenges that have been introduced with the advent of virtualization. There are still LUNs to create, WAN optimizers to acquire and configure, and third- party backup and replication products to purchase and maintain.
Hyperconvergence is a ground-up rethinking of all the services that comprise the datacentre. With a focus on the virtual machine or workload, all the elements of the hyperconverged infrastructure support the virtual machine as the basic construct of the datacentre.
The results are significant and include lower CAPEX as a result of lower upfront prices for infrastructure, lower OPEX through reductions in operational expenses and personnel, and faster time-to-value for new business needs. On the technical side, newly emerging infrastructure engineers — people with broad knowledge of infrastructure and business needs — can easily support hyperconverged infrastructure. No longer do organizations need to maintain separate islands of resource engineers to manage each aspect of the data center. To fully understand hyperconvergence, it’s important to understand the trends that have led the industry to this point. These include post-virtualization headaches, the rise of the software- defined data center, and cloud.
The top hyperconvergence use cases
Consolidating and modernizing, increasing data protection.
The great thing about hyperconvergence is that it doesn’t necessarily require you to replace existing infrastructure in order to be of immediate value. Here are seven ways that you can gain hyperconvergence benefits starting now:
1. Consolidating servers and datacentre. Are you tackling a new consolidation project or building a new datacentre? Leading hyperconvergence vendors provide products that integrate seamlessly with your existing environment. The right hyperconverged solution can solve your immediate challenges and produce major benefits.
2. Modernizing technology smoothly. The beauty of hyper- convergence is its nondisruptive implementation. The hyperconverged environment is part of your overall environment, so you can phase in new architecture while you phase out the old, implementing and expanding as funds allow. If applications in the legacy environment need the storage performance provided by the hyperconverged environment, they can leverage those resources.
3. Deploying new tier-1 applications. Is your existing environment suitable for new tier-1 workloads? Rather than simply throwing more resources at an outdated environment, deploy the new workload in a hyperconverged environment to gain the inherent operational benefits. As time goes on, you can start bringing the rest of your infrastructure into the same architecture with easy-to-add, LEGO-like efficiency.
4. Deploying VDI. Resource islands are established in large part due to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) needs. However, the way that IT implements these resource islands means that they’re forever separate. By deploying your VDI project in a hyperconverged infrastructure, you don’t face resource challenges that require you to create these islands. When the VDI project is out of the way and the rest of your environment becomes eligible for renewal, you can slide everything to the hyperconverged environment with ease.
5. Managing sites remotely. In a hyperconverged environment, the entire infrastructure is controlled by a single management system. Remote resources can be managed as though they were local resources. There’s no need to have remote personnel perform manual operations such as running backup jobs or creating logical unit numbers (LUNs) or quality-of-service policies. The data efficiency technology allows backups to be simplified in the remote office and offsite copies to be automatically sent to headquarters, another remote office, or even the cloud. This enables centralization of administrative resources, providing staffing economies of scale.
6. Performing testing and development. Many organizations operate test and development (test/dev) environments so that bad code isn’t released into production. Hyperconvergence supports test/dev and production needs, with management tools that can help you create logical separations between these functions. Unfortunately, many organizations give short shift to test/ dev and run it on lower-class hardware, which doesn’t really make sense. This greater IT agility will keep developers in house instead of building their own Shadow IT in the public cloud.
7. Modernizing backup and implementing disaster recovery. If you don’t do a good job with either backup or disaster recovery, run — don’t walk — toward hyperconvergence as your infrastructure architecture. Hyperconverged infrastructure eliminates the complexity that can be inherent in these operations. In IT, simplicity is the new mantra, and hyperconvergence is one of the simplest ways to achieve your backup and disaster recovery goals.
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