Why Converged Infrastructure is the Future of Cloud – And How to Prepare Your Data Center10 min read

by | Feb 10, 2016 | Blog

These platforms aim to create a new breed of systems capable of handling new trends like IT consumerization, big data and the Internet of Everything. Most of all, converged infrastructure aims to unify powerful data center resources and introduce new levels of economics for the business. It’s important to see just how much we’re advancing when it comes to data delivery, new types of devices connecting to the data center, and how this is impacting your business.

Consider this from the latest Cisco Global Cloud Index Report:

  • Globally, the data created by IoE devices will reach 403 ZB per year (33.6 ZB per month) by 2018, up from 113.4 ZB per year (9.4 ZB per month) in 2013.
  • Globally, the data created by IoE devices will be 277 times higher than the amount of data being transmitted to data centers from end-user devices and 47 times higher than total data center traffic by 2018.
  • By 2018, 53 percent (2 billion) of the consumer Internet population will use personal cloud storage, up from 38 percent (922 million users) in 2013.
  • Globally, consumer cloud storage traffic per user will be 811 megabytes per month by 2018, compared to 186 megabytes per month in 2013.

Here’s what we know – Converged systems are powerful platforms that really took the industry by storm. With built-in automation, high-density architecture, and high-performance chassis converged systems help architect a very robust cloud and storage environment. The idea is to create unparalleled density and allow for a resource to be delivered as effectively as possible. Furthermore, industry trends show that the pace of converged systems adoption will only continue to grow. According to a recent Gartner report, hyper-converged integrated systems will represent over 35% of total integrated system market revenue by 2019. This makes it one of the fastest-growing and most valuable technology segments in the industry today.

The question is what’s next? How will the industry respond? Already we are seeing a number of new kinds of devices and applications demanding resources from a modern data center. All of this means greater density, more users, and a lot more IoT scenarios. Organizations will have direct initiatives to control resources utilization while still optimizing end-user experiences. Are converged infrastructure systems the way to go? Most of all, how ready is your data center?

Let’s look at a few key points to help your data center (and your business) prep for a new kind of converged infrastructure solution.

  • This really isn’t like your traditional rack and server configuration. You really are beginning to combine big infrastructure components into one powerful management stack. Network, compute, storage, and management is deployed in an architecture which reduces complexity and improves overall efficiency. These aren’t standalone devices. Rather, they work in harmony to deliver rich experiences and dynamic workloads. You need to understand these types of differences, where they impact your business, and how you can best leverage these types of advances in data center design. With this in mind – look at your existing data center. Are racks optimally designed to handle convergence? Do you have the right type of power requirements? What about cooling? Understand the core differences around convergence and apply data center design best practices. Don’t just drop a converged infrastructure pod into an existing data center which is not designed for this type of architecture. In those scenarios – you’ll get more headaches than benefits.
  • Prepare with good management. Logical and physical management is a must. DCIM tools alongside workload, hypervisor, and even convergence management tools are critical to have. Managing your data center proactively is the best way to create powerful competitive advantages for your entire business. You need to have direct visibility into the environmental, workload, and physical data center aspects of your ecosystem. This helps control the user experience, workload delivery, and environmental efficiency. Good management helps integrate data center operations with the underlying hardware, and the workloads it’s hosting.
  • Evaluate your environment and know where to build in efficiency. Do you need to deploy better cooling? Maybe you need to redesign your power standards. Or, you might need to deploy better rack configurations for your converged infrastructure solution. Many organizations take this opportunity to step back and really take a look at their data center. Is it running efficiently? Are there places you can improve? Converged infrastructure offers great benefits to those business and data centers that are ready to deploy this type of environment. Take the time to evaluate your own business and IT systems to see where you can build in greater levels of efficiency.

The concept around converged infrastructure has been around for a bit. It’s the idea of unifying resources under one management and control plane. The biggest difference over time has been the power of those resources, how they’re deployed, where they impact the business and the kinds of workloads they support. Modern convergence redefines data center design and helps businesses become a lot agiler. However, if you don’t realize the value of this type of architecture – you won’t be able to truly impact the business. Make sure to create environmental efficiencies alongside business optimization. This way – you create an agile environment capable of supporting powerful next-generation architectures.

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