Category: hyper converged infrastructure

Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

As discussed in my previous blog about Converged Infrastructure, I’ve tried to gather information on why Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is good for both SMB’s/SME’s and also large businesses.

Hyper Converged Infrastructure: is a system defined and controlled by cutting edge software that caters Compute, Hypervisors, both physical and virtual Network, both phsyical storage and as a service, backup, de-dupe etc… from a single platform supported by a single vendor.

Today, customers want to stay away from islands of centralized storage, isolated workloads, complicated virtual infrastructure, challenges in getting support and on-time services from multi-vendors. HCI will be the right solution to improve the overall IT utilization levels, reduction in costs by infrastructure consolidation and services orchestration for better manageability.

Customers want ease of use right from their personal needs to business requirements. Simplicity and availability are de facto in HCI products. A single ‘GEEK’ can handle the HCI product which consists of hypervisors, storage, network and so on which greatly helps an enterprise to reduce investing in body shopping. SMB’s / SME’s who are looking to setup a greenfield DC need to focus on HCI instead of traditional ways.

HCI enables agile infrastructure ready to assimilate to the app trending either increase or decrease in work loads and capacities. Since, HCI has simplified and automated provisioning of resources such as compute, network and storage. HCI management interface is tightly coupled with the latter using API’s which translates customer requirements, generates platform based set of commands, triggers the task and monitors/ reports upon completion. Gone are the days where IT guys like me used to spend a good one hour to provision a LUN which was later scanned by platform team and spend minutes to hour to make it usable by the app off-course with the risk of human errors 😦 and traditional processes overhead 😛

TraditionalvsHCI

Based on the suggestions and feedback, I’ve listed some of the use cases at a high level which greatly benefits enterprises by deploying HCI.

1. Consolidation:

HCI products are being implemented and integrated with very less time and efforts which aids to consolidation of servers and data centers. Right HCI vendor and their solution which takes care of migration challenges being non-disruptive to business, very minimal downtime and data integrity helps customers to swiftly move to HCI platform. HCI helps in simplifying end-2-end architecture and easily scale-up and scale out as we grow.

2. VDI:

VDI’s are resource athirst which pose a challenge to anyone who wants to simplify end user computing. HCI could tackle such critical resource requirements by its tightly coupled architecture with simplfied scalable features. Efficient compute which can take greater workloads, optimized CPU utilization, low-latency network and faster IOPS & throughput with highly available and redundant storage resources helps to quickly adapt in the VDI space which in-turn betters end user experience.

3. Cloud:

Amazon, Google and various public cloud enterprises are the brains behind developing of HCI architecture. Due to the rapid growth and simple manageability, they decided to have commodity hardware based solution for ever growing infra requirements. HCI is the best fit for on-premise or private or hybrid type of cloud solutions. VCI based cloud solution absorbs rapid and dynamic changes or app requirements and quickly serves required underlying hardware requirements to run the apps at the best possible end user experience.

As I mentioned above, simplicity and availability are de facto in HCI which is based on automation and orchestration. Using these features we can easily deploy SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) and gain control over the hardware using soft layer. Within a few clicks and mins we can build several servers at desired configuration. Thus reducing the release cycle time, focus leadership of business instead of infra and realize benefits by reducing TAT in Go-To market.

4. Data Protection

Backup, business continuity, DR are very complex to manage but yet they are most critical to enterprise’s data protection, availability and data recovery objectives. HCI due to its nature is best fit to meet these IT goals. HCI products enables simpler VM backup, remote or satellite backups, BC/DR and data de-duplication features. Some of the HCI products allow to backup data to public cloud using REST API’s integration.

5. Testing and Development

In traditional IT, developers and testers had to depend on IT guys to get resources to develop and test their apps. As always Prod was taking over precedence and such requests were honored in timely manner 😉

By using HCI, developers or testers can create their own VM’s in a jiffy removing dependency on IT guys. They can create multiple instances, clone VM’s and use run several test cases in parallel. Business leaders are greatly benefited by meeting project deadlines, improved efficiency of development and testing teams and shortcuts in road map for go-to market.

There are various use cases out there offered by HCI vendors, have become a super hit in the market. If you know such use cases please share under comments. Meanwhile I’ll try to explore from my end…

I hope you enjoyed this post in the middle of monotonous work :), I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to your friends, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you and stay tuned for the next blog!!!

Death comes to traditional storage but lets welcome converged and hyper-converged infrastructure

We (Storage Admins) are in transition from logical entities to virtual entities. Every new storage product wants to have a name with prefix of “V”; to attract customer base to virtual world…

Traditional storage would be thing of the past very soon… Some of the storage vendors have declared EoL and EoSL for their traditional storage arrays longback. Since customers are looking for ease of manageability, software defined data centers and automation at all levels to cut down cost in managing operations, vendor support and etc…

Traditional storage could not survive the competition because of its predecessor’s features like

1. Virtual Provisioning, automated tiering and Flash storage

2. Federated storage

3. Mammoth storage capacity in a single array

4. Ease of administration and reduction in storage admins headcount !!

5. Advanced storage replication technologies

6. Scale up and scale out storage features

7. Lesser carbon footprint (thanks to 2.5″ disks)

8. High performance, redundancy and availability

9. Converged or tightly coupled with Network and Compute

10. Unified storage cater customer needs of Block, File and Content from single array

Irrespective of storage vendors, their development of new products have these buzz words like cloud compatible storage, virtualization and software defined storage etc.

What’s next?

1. Converged: Compute, Network and Storage are combined together as a unified product and supported by a single vendor. This helps customer to reach out to single vendor for above three technologies instead of multiple vendors. Converged infrastructure aids in easier management using a single management console for provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting. Another great advantage is that we can still liaise on dedicated management suites to manage compute, network and storage separately.

People who would manage these converged infrastructure would be called as CONVERGED ADMINS!!! Customers or service providers also have greater advantage of reducing workforce by ratio of 3:1 per product.

2. Hyper-Converged: A of set Compute nodes having virtual storage appliance manage JBODs in a high-end clustered network creating a high performance and redundant file system storage. This file system is presented to virtual machines either using iSCSI or NFS. By using hyper-converged infrastructure, customers can avoid setting up costly SAN network its management overheads.

Based on customer needs they can scale up and scale out without or minimal impact to production. Vendors provide ready to use hyper-converged box where customers don’t have to wait for implementation and deployment phase. Using cutting edge migration software tools, data migration takes less time and downtime too!

Caveats:

It is high time for us to shift gears up to learn and equip any hyper-visor knowledge along with getting acquainted to converged or hyper-converged solutions! Certifications are key to recognize individual’s caliber so our next short term goal is to do a certification on any of the above mentioned technologies ASAP!!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a fellow storage admin, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

Also, if you have any other new product strategies similar to converged and hyper-converged solutions then let us know in the comments.

I’ll try to envision the converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions in my upcoming blog. Till then stay tuned for the next blog!!!