By Tarun Bhasin, Research Director, Datacenter Infrastructure, IDC Canada
In previous posts, David Senf talked about digital transformation (DX) and Dave Pearson discussed the storage choices facing IT decision makers in today's digital economy. The following questions were posed to Tarun Bhasin, IDC Canada's research director for datacentre infrastructure, to help explain why many organizations are turning to converged systems to address the infrastructure challenges created by DX.
What are converged systems?
IT infrastructure is increasingly strained by the implementation of technologies that enable DX such as social, mobile, Big Data, and cloud. Organizations need to get more out of their existing infrastructure, while also trying to improve their scalability and business agility so that they can better respond to the ever-changing business demands. At the same time, organizations are looking to reduce complexity and simplify the IT infrastructure. One way to accomplish all these competing desires is through the adoption of converged solutions.
Converged systems are differentiated from traditional hardware platforms and architectures in that they are designed to be deployed quickly using a modular building-block approach to rapidly scale up resources and workloads. Because these converged systems are preintegrated and engineered to optimize internal east-west network traffic within the box, they are simpler to deploy and maintain while reducing processing and network overhead and latency. They enable the system to run its basic functions autonomously via programmed algorithms and present rich APIs that can be leveraged by higher-level systems and application management software or directly by end-user self-service portals.
A large number of organizations have already recognized the advantages of converged systems and, as a result, spending in the converged systems segment has grown by more than 100% over the past two years and was over $350 million for the past year. This strong growth is forecast to continue over the next five years.
What are the advantages of adopting converged systems?
Converged solutions present a number of advantages over traditional non-integrated systems. These include:
- Improved agility. Because of the integrated nature of the converged solution, all the physical resources can be managed via a unified centralized management system. This makes for much easier workload migration compared with traditional IT infrastructure.
- Improved TCO. Since converged systems provide the capability for system cluster management to be performed at the hypervisor level, it makes it easier for the admin staff to manage more virtual servers when compared against traditional shared storage solutions. This means fewer man hours being spent on daily maintenance, thus reducing operational expenses.
- Faster deployment. Converged systems can often be deployed in hours versus days or even weeks for traditional infrastructure. This provides savings on time as well as other precious resources.
- Higher productivity. In a traditional IT infrastructure setup, the admin staff spends most of their time on basic maintenance and management tasks. But with a converged solution most of these routine jobs are simplified and can be automated. This means that the IT staff can spend more of their time on value-add projects.
- Collapsing of siloes. Traditional IT infrastructures are built around siloes formed around the hardware resources of server, storage, and networking. In many cases these siloes lead to a different set of management tools and expertise in each silo, but the converged systems combine all of these hardware resources into a single integrated solution, thus breaking down the siloes within the datacentre.
Is a converged solution right for my organization?
Organizations of all sizes are struggling with infrastructure challenges. As businesses become data driven in this age of digital transformation, they need to collect, analyze, and store more and more data. A converged solution provides the flexibility and agility that business demands from IT in this environment. While a converged solution will not be the right solution for all workloads or environments, it is increasingly being viewed as a stepping stone toward a software-defined datacentre. A converged solution can provide a lower total cost and a faster time to value for the IT expenditure. It is definitely a solution that all organizations need to evaluate.
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