Traditional IT infrastructure is becoming less and less suitable for today’s business needs. To update it, you have to interrupt the company’s work, which leads to downtime and losses; too many resources and time are spent on management and operation. At the same time, such infrastructure has high capacities, which often cannot be fully used by a business.
An alternative is a converged approach, in which computing resources, storage systems, and network factories are divided into separate, on-demand pools. In our article, we will explain why converged solutions have become a new stage in IT infrastructure development and how they improve data storage.
Stages of formation of IT infrastructure
Previously, the main criterion for the effectiveness of the use of information technology was the performance of the system. The more the hardware was loaded, the more efficient the system seemed to work. And, accordingly, all efforts were aimed at increasing the performance of the system as a whole, processor resources, and the volume of storage systems. Let’s call it the first stage in the evolution of technology and hardware – performance.
Later, it turned out that the efficiency of the system and the efficiency of a person are two different things. The systems were under heavy load, and customers continued to queue, waiting for their requests to be processed. Thus, the next step in technology was aimed at improving the efficiency of people. The second stage is efficiency.
Today, such revolutionary technologies as mobile devices and “clouds” are in mass demand. The catalyst for development is innovation – the emergence of innovative ideas that largely determine the development of modern information technologies. Modern and, so far, the last stage is innovation.
If today’s innovations are the catalyst for development, then it is logical to give a special place in the company’s budget when planning, and so that a significant part of the finances is spent on the development of the enterprise: the search for new opportunities, the introduction of advanced technologies, and increasing the company’s efficiency.
It is possible to highlight the following stages of IT infrastructure maturity:
- Scattered infrastructure. Focused on the implementation of highly specialized projects. When a task occurs, a specific task is solved.
- Standardized infrastructure. Based on internal standards and oriented to service units.
- Integrated infrastructure. Consolidated structure with shared resources focused on the maintenance of business processes
- Service-oriented infrastructure. Based on a catalog of services, maintains services and develops with them.
- Converged infrastructure. Integration of business and IT, use of innovations to generate new services, and reduce non-production costs.
A few years ago, there was a tendency to abandon the dedicated infrastructure and switch to a common one (the existence of a common pool of resources, where a part of these resources is allocated for a specific task, when it is necessary, to those who need it and to the extent that it is needed). There was a unification of hardware into a single whole, to provide the necessary services for both external and internal users.
Now there is a trend of transition from a common infrastructure (which is formed by storage systems, servers, networks, and software) to a certain universal IT environment – a converged infrastructure. This is a natural stage in the evolution of IT infrastructure.
Today, the unified IT infrastructure is becoming the most modern, convenient, and productive solution for companies. However, it is already being replaced by new, even “more integrated” hyper converged infrastructures (HCI), in which the entire system can be configured and controlled by software. Hyper converged infrastructure appliance systems have allowed companies to become even less dependent on hardware infrastructure. Today, sales of such solutions account for 53.7% of the total converged systems market. And according to the IDC forecast, until 2023 the global HCI market will grow several times faster than the market for classic solutions.
If you have a feeling that your infrastructure can no longer meet your needs and has become too difficult to monitor, it becomes more and more expensive, you should consider moving to a new stage of IT infrastructure and purchasing a converged or hyper converged solution from one of the vendors (HP, Cisco, EMC, StarWind, NetApp, VMware, IBM, Dell). This service can solve the problems of any customer, regardless of his needs.
Advantages of converged infrastructure
Converged infrastructure has a number of advantages, but the main thing is that it becomes more flexible and scalable. Hardware configuration adapts to applications to better meet growing business needs. A company can deploy an All-Flash array, choose a hybrid system or even a combination of both approaches. Resources are allocated flexibly – largely due to their independent consumption, and the business does not need to reserve them excessively. This improves infrastructure control and simplifies the management process.
At the same time, scaling can take place without stopping work – if the appropriate hybrid systems are used, and the company does not need to transfer data. This upgrade not only ensures the availability of data but also guarantees savings in time and financial resources.
Also, the convergent approach is focused on the provision of various services, and therefore is combined with solutions that are provided according to the IaaS service model. Or even PaaS and SaaS – the combined infrastructure can become an effective platform for their deployment as well. This is an important advantage for organizations that develop digital cloud services – including those from the public sector. Thus, when implementing projects, they can provide the best value for money.
Summing up, we can say that the modernization of the IT infrastructure is becoming a new competitive advantage: it allows you to save resources, ensure security and process more data, expanding the capabilities of analytics. And this process requires modern tools, which converged solutions become. They help save time on the implementation and maintenance of existing infrastructure. There is no need for a large number of administrators to carry out this support. A company that has implemented converged solutions will be able to increase the efficiency of its IT department and its business.