Your DIY infrastructure is costing you…here’s why Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) promises a better way

The promise of hyper converged infrastructure HCI for DIY infrastructures

Your DIY infrastructure is costing you…here’s why Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) promises a better way

Modern business has accelerated. Most organizations realize they need to change the way they consume IT resources. They recognize the challenge: Adjust consumption to make sense at a given time for a given project, or risk falling behind.

The “build-it-yourself” infrastructure model is still relevant for most organizations. That’s what feels comfortable. It uses familiar concepts and offers loads of references to emulate.

Today, an unprecedented gap has opened. Traditional IT can no longer deliver a customer experience that meets business demands. To close the gap, users step outside the IT department to find alternatives that can.

On-Demand Webinar: The Next Generation of Hyper Converged Infrastructure

  

NetApp HCI enterprise-scale solutions let you break free from limitations. Consolidate multiple mixed workloads, scale storage and compute independently on demand, and guarantee performance.

But building infrastructure in-house comes at a cost.

Embracing non-sanctioned “Shadow IT” solutions exposes the organization to security gaps. Then there is the attendant decline in performance. Softchoice surveyed over 900 CEOs on the issue. The result? More than 90% felt hybrid IT was the best approach to closing the gap and eliminating shadow IT.

Nonetheless, the term “hybrid IT” is subject. From our perspective, it means:

  • Adopting public cloud to increase flexibility, lower costs and reduce time to market.
  • Modernizing the data center to improve performance and make operational gains.
  • Ensuring the network is secure and ready to handle mobile, remote office and cloud services.

When it comes to transforming the data center, the goal is often to mend the gap between supply and demand. This means evaluating other consumption models, like pay-as-you-go and converged infrastructure.

Hyper-converged architecture refers to infrastructure with 100% virtualized components. This option allows organizations to simplify operations while delivering applications to market faster.

IDC predicts this approach will define 60% of the server, storage and network deployments by 2020. It’s no surprise: Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) meets every need of most modern businesses:

  • It offers a tight integration between server, storage, and networking. Then, it adds the advantages of a software-defined data center. It’s the best of both worlds.
  • Organizations deal with a single hardware vendor, meaning a smooth, cohesive support experience.
  • It’s flexible around deploying existing architecture and expanding storage and compute resources.
  • It offers a “single pane of glass” for deployment and management.

Companies looking to catch up would do well to get on board. HCI is the fastest growing category in the data center market. Revenue should reach $10.8 billion by 2021 with 48% compound annual from 2016.

Despite its many positives, HCI still qualifies as “too good to be true.” The typical HCI offering comes with flaws that often knock it out of consideration.

Many converged, and HCI offerings failed to deliver consistent quality of service (QoS) across applications. As business needs changed, overloaded system resources created the infamous “HCI tax.” Many more mandated fixed rations for resource expansion, making adaptation slow and difficult. Streamlining stack management was often impossible. This was due to product immaturity and long-standing integration with existing hypervisor platforms.

But we’ve reached the next step in the evolution of hyper-converged infrastructure. Today, many of the elements lacking in “HCI 1.0” have arrived in version 2.0 from NetApp HCI.

Gartner recognizes NetApp as the leader in network-attached storage. They call its NetApp HCI solution an evolutionary disruptor.

NetApp HCI is the first enterprise-scale hyper-converged infrastructure solution. It’s evolved from the SolidFire all-flash storage product. As such, it delivers integrated storage efficiency tools, including always-on de-duplication. Also, on the menu: integrated replication, data protection, and high availability. VMware provides a mature and intuitive control interface for the entire infrastructure.

NetApp HCI sets itself apart from competitors in 4 ways:

  1. Guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS): NetApp HCI allows granular QoS control regardless of the number of applications. This eliminates “noisy neighbors” and satisfies every performance SLA.
  2. Flexibility and Scalability: Unlike its competitors, NetApp HCI allows independent scaling of computing and storage resources. This cuts the 30% “HCI tax” from controller VM overhead. Get simpler capacity and resource planning with no more over-provisioning.
  3. Automated Infrastructure: NetApp HCI’s deployment engine automates routine manual processes of deploying infrastructure. Meanwhile, VMware vCenter plug-ins make management much simpler. The full NetApp architecture goes from zero to fully-operational in under 30 minutes.
  4. Integration with NetApp Data Fabric: Take full advantage of NetApp’s storage offerings. Access and move your data between public and private cloud with zero downtime. Don’t compromise on high performance and security.

If you’re intrigued, we encourage you to tap into Softchoice’s experience with NetApp. Learn more about NetApp’s HCI by downloading this brief that dives a little deeper into the key benefits of NetApp’s HCI.

IBM N-Series is end of life. The good news, and the bad news

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Many of our clients have reached out to us to discuss the dissolution of the IBM N-series Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) relationship with NetApp, a partnership that dates back to 2005. Mostly they’re asking us a lot of questions about how these changes affect existing N-series arrays support contracts, the ability to add additional disk capacity in the short term, and ongoing maintenance contract support in the future. We’ve been involved with this partnership from day one, and have shared the following good (and bad news).

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Not All IOPS Solutions Are Created Equal

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While there’s little argument that flash technology is one of the most disruptive technologies to come into the storage world in the last decade, it’s unfortunately not a panacea for everything wrong with clients’ storage infrastructures. That said, there are four appropriate instances where flash storage makes sense.

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