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A few things to think about prior to entering the wonderful world of HCI

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

HCI, or Hyperconverged Infrastructure, has been getting a lot of buzz over the past few years, which isn’t surprising considering that it saves, according to several studies on HCI, approximately 25% in OPEX. One study estimates that roughly 25% of companies are currently using it, with another 23% planning on implementing it within the next 12 months.

In addition to savings, organizations are using it for a number of additional benefits it provides—software-defined storage (SDS), a simpler way to launch new cloud services, a means of modernizing application development and deployment, and more flexibility for data centers and infrastructures.

In addition, some of the benefits HCI extends to organizations often aren’t considered, such as savings related to power, space and labor. And remember, a HCI solution can provide software licensing savings, as well.

Like any new technology, however, there are a number of things to think about prior to taking the HCI plunge. As with any migration, it’s important to take a step back and first analyze several issues that, if not considered, could spell the difference between elation and frustration.

Storage

Consideration needs to be given to compression, deduplication and data protection. Also, it’s important to understand challenges related to different storage options, such as HDDs or SSDs, which utilize flash memory. With SSD, you have to drill down a little deeper to evaluate types of SSD, such as NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) and SATA (Serial Advance Technology Attachment).

Data protection is pretty self-explanatory—protect data. Another element related to it is ensuring a VM’s data is available to other nodes. For instance, if a VM migrates to a new node, that node needs to be able to access that VM’s data. And replication needs to be evaluated, as well. If replication is required several times over, and each requires petabytes of storage, you may run into problems. That’s a lot of replication.

Workloads

Prior to heading down the HCI road, you must understand the breadth and depth of your organization’s required workloads. For instance, consider which applications are real-time, whether they require high or low IOPS (Input/output Operations Per Second), and their latency requirements. Some workloads are more suitable to HCI than others.

Just know that HCI solutions have improved significantly; no longer do they simply target VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) workloads, which had pretty predictable demands. Enterprises have expanded their use of HCI, and now use it for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), databases, and a variety of enterprise software and workloads running in a virtualized environment.

Management

If you’re looking to deploy HCI, you’re no doubt looking forward to simpler management, as well. Yes, HCI provides the management of compute, storage, and networking from a single, common interface. However, without fully evaluating how your current management environment will integrate with HCI, you may be faced with unexpected costs and headaches to address that issue.

No question, HCI is a dynamic, revolutionary technology addressing issues that for years have added time and complexity to the lives of IT professionals. Due diligence is required upfront, but the vast majority of organizations don’t have the skill sets on staff to successfully deploy HCI. This is why so many enterprises of all sizes, and from a variety of industries, have turned to GDT to deliver hyperconvergence to their organization. When we marry our experience and expertise with our HCI partner vendors, including VMware, Cisco and HPE, our customers get to enjoy all the HCI benefits they’ve been hearing and reading about.

If you have questions about HCI and what it can do for your organization, email at aaron.kimball@gdt.com. I’d love to hear from you.

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