What is hyper-converged storage?
Sometimes referred to as 'infrastructure-in-a-box', hyper-converged infrastructures combine all the core elements of a modern IT system into one unit, by bringing together storage, networking, computing and virtualisation.
Why would a business want a hyper-converged infrastructure?
Typically, businesses only add to their IT infrastructure when demand exceeds the capabilities of the existing system. Unfortunately, this often results in a range of hardware built by different manufacturers and sourced from a variety of vendors. As demand increases, such systems become cumbersome to maintain, with disparate support contracts and issues arising from incompatible pieces of hardware and software.
It's for this reason that modern businesses will often consider a converged or hyper-converged solution when they need to replace large pieces of IT hardware. Converged infrastructures are very easy to deploy, far simpler to manage and many vendors will install and configure them as part of the service.
Converged solutions are also ideal for businesses that are experiencing significant growth, because it's far easier to scale software-driven hardware than it is physical hardware.
What's the difference between converged and hyper-converged?
Hyper-convergence emerged from a trend that saw vendors sell bundles of pre-configured hardware and software (this was known as the 'convergence trend'). Converged solutions became increasingly popular due to the rise in server virtualisation, which is where software mimics a hardware server, thus reducing infrastructure costs. Software-centric hardware makes virtualisation much easier.
A converged infrastructure doesn't have to remain in its combined state, either; it can be taken apart and the constituent components used independently, if required (this isn't possible with hyper-convergence due to a much deeper level of integration).
Is hyper-convergence suitable for small businesses?
It really depends on demand and growth; if a small business is going through a period of growth and needs to replace its IT infrastructure as a result, it could be a good time to look into hyper-converged storage. For a small business that just needs more storage and computing power, I wouldn't recommend taking the plunge into convergence just yet. A good IT supplier should advise you on the best hardware for your needs, so it's always best to seek guidance when looking for new hardware.
What are the potential drawbacks?
As with any new concept or trend, hyper-convergence has its flaws. In particular, resistance from IT staff is often a concern for purchasers, as is vendor lock-in.
Hyper-convergence is only going to become more mainstream as the adoption of automation increases among businesses. New, innovative hardware solutions are freeing up IT resources and resulting in a far more efficient workplace.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Albie Attias Albie, Head of Business Development at progressive technology provider Evaris.