Debunking the Myths and Fears of Converged Infrastructure

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Deepak Kanwar is a senior manager at Zenoss.

Deepak-ImageDEEPAK KANWAR
Zenoss

As the data center becomes more complex, converged infrastructure (CI) can help simplify the setup and management by minimizing compatibility issues. There are many benefits for converged infrastructure like proven design and speed of deployment; however, change can create a cause for concern within an organization.

Four common concerns that are often brought up when migrating to converged infrastructure are: running out of shared resources, poor customer support, unreliable service, and new problems arising with the constantly changing nature of converged infrastructure. Below, I will provide details about these four concerns and how you can both solve and help dispel them in your company.

Running out of Shared Resources

With converged infrastructure, there is only one shared pool of resources. This can be disconcerting for software developers who are worried that someone else’s application will starve theirs for resources.

This risk can be easily mitigated through the use of a tool that can monitor applications and their needed resources. Be sure to baseline applications before you implement converged infrastructure to set users’ expectations. Continue to monitor application behavior within converged infrastructure, so you can spot issues before they become major problems.

Realizing private cloud capabilities on top of a CI stack allows you to monitor and meter utilization rates for various departments. Understanding the patterns of business activities across different departments allows you to efficiently and dynamically manage resources ensuring appropriate resources for all of your “tenants.” Dialing up and dialing down capacity is easily accomplished within the private cloud environment.

Poor Customer Support

One common concern around converged infrastructure is that customer support will be poor because your IT team is no longer in charge of the hardware. When something fails, whom would you turn to?

One of the greatest advantages of CI is the “single throat to choke.” Since the entire stack is built and tested by a single provider, you often have a single support line to reach out to in case of an issue instead of three or more directions that you might have to turn to in a traditional in-house infrastructure.

Major providers such as HP, IBM, and Dell all include their own components within their stacks, while VCE, a joint venture between Cisco and EMC offering converged cloud infrastructure, utilizes components from those market leaders. Either way, the CI stacks are built upon components that these companies are intimately familiar with and are readily available for testing compatibility and interoperability. Per a recent survey conducted by Zenoss, three out of four converged infrastructure adopters actually saw improvement in their customer service.

Unreliable Services

Cloud computing has earned a reputation for being less than reliable, making workers hesitant to use it. However, cloud computing based on converged infrastructure has proven to be extremely reliable, because of the reasons discussed above. In fact, according to IDC, VCE customers have, on average, 0.5 infrastructure incidents a year, leading to 83x better availability. Converged infrastructure products and services are tested together before going to market, making for less interoperability and configuration problems once a system is set up and offers better service availability.

Change Can Create Problems

By design, application-IT asset relationships within converged infrastructures are constantly changing. This can be frightening to workers, especially as troubleshooting can be complex. Having a unified monitoring solution in place, that not only provides you with the health of the components but also of the service, allows you to address these concerns. IT departments must grow and adapt to the constantly changing environment for better, faster tools and services to stay ahead of the competition. The converged infrastructure adds flexible data center capacity, perfect for growing companies to rapidly launch cool new applications to stay ahead of the game.

Proving to be a Viable Alternative

Converged Infrastructure brings a whole new paradigm to a data center. No longer is there a need for highly specialized architects to design and build a solution that supports the needs of the organization. Instead of spending your best IT resources on building infrastructure, you allow them to build value for your company and your customers. And by running your exciting new applications on this pre-built, highly reliable infrastructure you dramatically reduce the time to market for your new capabilities. It is a win-win situation.

Notwithstanding the initial reluctance to adopt converged infrastructure, the market is growing. According to a recent IDC study, spending for the converged infrastructure will hit $17.8 billion in 2016. There are plenty of surveys and reports out there that can also supplement the argument to get converged infrastructure, hopefully these explanations helped you too.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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