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Overcoming the limitations of first-gen HCI

Published: November 17th, 2017 By: Glenn Weir

NetApp

IT is in a state of perpetual evolution. In an ever-changing world, change is in fact the only constant. Take hyper converged infrastructure (HCI), which was once quite simple: self-contained nodes, containing performance-matched storage, compute, and virtualization resources, these nodes were integrated with an enterprise hypervisor and various management tools.

First-gen HCI solutions were designed around the idea of making less complex the deployment of compute and storage resources. These solutions combined generic x86 servers and software-defined storage for a simplified, distributed computing platform.

First-gen limitations
Unfortunately, in a quest for simplicity and speed to market, vendors compromised on the design level and took architectural shortcuts. The result of this was that these early attempts at hyperconvergence left a lot to be desired, with limitations in many key areas such as:

  • Performance: Delivering predictable performance is a huge challenge in any data centre. Multiple applications sharing the same infrastructure can (and often does) lead to cross-app interference, and as a result, performance trade-offs.
  • Scaling: First-gen HCI provides no ability to independently scale storage, computing, and network resources — essential in a world where applications have unique requirements.
  • Networking: First-gen HCI offers no integrated networking fabric with low latency and high bandwidth between nodes, and makes no attempt to integrate micro-segmentation through SDN.

First-gen HCI cannot support multiple mixed workloads, provide predictable performance, or automate resource management. Simply put, it is unable to stand up to the full rigors and requirements of the modern enterprise on a journey of digital transformation.

Next gen: NetApp HCI
As the first enterprise-scale hyper converged infrastructure designed specifically to solve the many challenges of first-gen HCI, NetApp HCI delivers cloud-like infrastructure (consumption of compute, storage, and networking resources) in agile, scalable, easy-to-manage blocks. NetApp HCI is designed around the foundation of SolidFire all-flash storage, to deliver guaranteed application performance with mature, integrated replication, efficiency, data protection, and high availability services.

Pay as you grow
Unlike some first-gen HCI platforms, which call for complex and cost-prohibitive virtualization architectures, NetApp HCI offers the ability to independently add right-sized storage and compute nodes, and the ability to utilize existing vSphere licensing at any level. This “pay-as-you-grow” model is tailor-made for companies undergoing a digital transformation who are looking to make agility and flexibility a business differentiator.

Data unleashed
It being the cloud era, companies are under a great deal of pressure to harness their data and apply it to the creation of new value across the full surface of their organization. Apart from these pressures without, this “data unleash” must be done within strict time, skill, and budgetary limitations.

NetApp HCI helps enterprises unleash the full potential of data across their environment, be they on-prem, public, or hybrid cloud environments. NetApp HCI integrates into the NetApp Data Fabric for enhanced data portability, visibility, and protection.

“Tomorrow” solution
NetApp HCI overcomes the limitations of first-gen HCI platforms through independent-scale compute and storage, enhanced and guaranteed performance and efficiency, and data fabric interoperability. These elements combined help organizations achieve the vision needed for the next generation of virtualized platforms for workload consolidation, from edge to core data centre.

You can learn more about the evolution of HCI and how you can transform and empower your IT organization with next-gen HCI by reading the white paper “Hyper Converged Infrastructure: Are You Ready For Next?