Where to start and how to decide on a converged infrastructure solution

As companies’ computing demands are changing, so is the architecture supporting today’s businesses and their cloud platforms. The recent and most trending concept to emerge is infrastructure convergence. Companies need to be aware of the various types of infrastructure convergence that include: converged infrastructure, unified architecture, hyper-convergence and converged storage. Furthermore, it’s important to know what they mean and how they impact organizations.

Unified infrastructure

Virtualization changed the traditional way of rack-mounted servers supporting one application for one server concept. Users can create service and hardware profiles to allow them to set hardware policies around MAC, UUID addresses and more. Using the existing hardware components and chassis resources, you can create a data center infrastructure where new sets of users can be added. Unified infrastructure is highly priced even though the systems are robust and extremely fragile.

For instance,  a “chassis and blade environment” is appropriate for large architecture scales like the one needed by a telecom or service provider. It provides an environment that utilizes extensive use of resources and a sizeable number of racks of gear. Blades are necessary to create powerful rules, isolate workloads and ensure that businesses can access dynamic support for their needs.

Converged node-based architecture

Converged infrastructure is most appropriate for companies producing a lot of resources and handling high number of workloads. Caution needs to be exercised because converged infrastructure only supports the hypervisor model. For instance, many converged infrastructure solutions do not integrate with FC/FCoE but would allow XenServer shop to integrate with the environment.

Furthermore, a compact converged appliance helps users to free up disk space and improve performance among other things. For this architecture, application delivery architecture and desktop are all under one hypervisor. It is therefore easy to manage resources between VMs and converged infrastructure unit.

Hyper-converged infrastructure

Hyper-convergence does not depend on its hardware. At least not entirely. Hyper-convergence converges all aspects of data processing within a single compute layer. The advantage is that it simplifies storage and networking through the software-defined approaches. Of course a simplified method for storage and networking does not do away with the need to constantly analyze network performance, but it does reduce number of issues overall. Also, one very remarkable thing about hyper-convergence is that it now works on a computing system that is a distributed storage system, hence reducing complexities in the storage provisioning and linking the storage technology with the server technology.

One important point to remember is that hyper-convergence is only a software that does the storage controller functionality because it is hardware-agonistic. Hyper-convergence allows you to custom-build the hardware stack to save cost. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer one particular vendor, especially when your data is built around them. Hyper-convergence works with it too. You can control your set of resources as long as the hyper-converged virtual appliance runs of the hypervisor.

The hyper level of convergence creates a better API integration than converged node-based. The open API architecture and the built-in capability for intelligence enables the hyper-convergence architecture to integrate with vCenter, IBM, OpenStack, CloudStack and S3 among others. With hyper-convergence, as long as the virtual systems controls the vital resources, data sets and VMs can be transferred between various infrastructures as long as the data centers are connected.

The hyper-convergence comes in when your organization is growing fast both through acquisitions and organically. All you need is to implement the software storage infrastructure to create a control storage infrastructure. With excellent integration with vCAC, OpenStack, and other cloud platforms, hyper-convergence can manage resources both on local disk and in the cloud. Moving forward, businesses will depend more on the vital data centre. To increase the competitive advantage, companies will need to keep their infrastructure agile.

All and all, it’s important for companies to not only know the difference between the various types of converged infrastructures but to know what’s best for their organization.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Robert Cordray
Robert Cordray
Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in the Southern California area and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful.

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