Hyperconverged infrastructure, once a small and niche component of the IT market, is now becoming a more regular part of companies’ digital transformation plans. As businesses increasingly migrate away from IT solutions that are dedicated to operations or departments, and towards platform models that integrate functions such as data storage and network management, the hyperconvergence trend is set to transform IT delivery.
Not so long ago, hyperconverged options were available only from small start-up companies, but now the big technology providers are getting on-board, entering the market with their own offerings. Little wonder when you consider Gartner’s prediction that the market would grow 79 per cent in 2016 to reach almost $2 billion, and that use of hyperconverged integrated systems would be “mainstream” in the next five years.
It’s a familiar growth pattern, witnessed previously with infrastructure solutions, not least converged infrastructure which experienced a rapid acceleration in adoption. Now could be the time of hyperconvergence, which has the potential to become as big as Cloud has.
Meeting evolving demands
Its rise in popularity is a clear message that businesses are searching for more flexible and responsive solutions that can meet the demands that today’s business environment places on IT infrastructure. Hyperconvergence tempts with its promises of scalability, improved performance, ease of management, cost efficiency and enhanced data throughput.
“Hyperconvergence is the latest incarnation of an integrated infrastructure system,” says Pete Hulme, Data Centre Technical Lead at Dimension Data. “As a platform-based IT model, it takes resource pooling to a new level, managing converged storage, networking and compute resources through a single software management system. Ultimately, it aims to optimise the way that IT manages business needs; responding rapidly and efficiently, regardless of where demand comes from and despite fluctuating capacity requirements.”
The end goal is not only efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but also a drastic reduction in the time it takes to deploy additional applications and to add to or take away from existing architecture.
As businesses across industries undergo their own digital transformations, they are starting to consider what hyperconvergence could do for them. Ten years ago, converged infrastructure emerged and changed the way IT is delivered within organisations. In the time since, many businesses have moved away from tower-orientated storage to embrace integrated systems that bring together the resources of the data centre and networking capacity for greater efficiency and cost optimisation.
Despite this, the pressure on the data centre has proved unrelenting, and it will continue to rise due to increasing demands for processing and ongoing growth in the volume of data and business applications. IT delivery has to continually adapt - just as business operations and processes do - with each new and evolving challenge.
A new model, a new approach
In the near to mid-term, the future of IT infrastructure is hybrid and hyperconvergence is one of the mechanisms that makes this possible. It fits alongside public and private cloud as part of a holistic, hybrid IT strategy for the modern business. By providing a flexible, scalable and easily managed platform, it gives the IT organisation capabilities similar to cloud provision but for workloads that don’t (or don’t yet) fit into a cloud delivery model. These include branch infrastructure, which needs to be easily managed and supported but doesn’t justify running applications that can’t be moved into cloud.
For companies considering whether hyperconvergence could make a difference to their business, Hulme says to remember that it represents a shift change in the way IT is done; a move away from an infrastructure-based model designed to meet specific functional needs to a fully holistic platform-based architecture.
“Hyperconvergence introduces a platform that implements all components of the IT stack in a new way,” adds Hulme. “This means internal processes and IT roles will need to evolve in line with its deployment.”
This evolution provides an opportunity for businesses to refocus IT expertise away from day-to-day technology support and hardware maintenance into new areas that can bring added value to the business.
The transition to the single platform model of the hyperconverged integrated system changes the way most businesses manage and organise their IT, and this can take as much getting used to as the technology itself. Where distinct IT components in the stack may previously have been managed separately, a hyperconverged infrastructure requires a single overarching IT approach.
To adapt to meet the challenges faced by today’s businesses, IT increasingly turns to flexible delivery options. Businesses want to know that their investment in change will deliver a solution that can respond to operational demands, while being highly scalable and simple to manage. Achieving this will not only help control costs but also free up IT expertise to focus on value-add activities. Through hyperconvergence, companies can aim for these longer-term benefits while also enhancing data throughput in the more immediate term.
This article was brought to you by - Dimension Data