Today, data centers are evolving at a staggering pace. Organizations are spending more of their budgets to support growing business initiatives. Gartner recently said that this would be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. In fact, Gartner describes cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered “as a service” using internet technologies. It heralds an evolution of business in positive and negative ways. It has also become a hot industry term that has been used in many contradictory ways.
Converged infrastructure is helping business look at the modern data center from a different perspective. We’re now creating better systems capable of multi-tenancy and better resource controls. According to Gartner, organizations typically have multiple goals for big data initiatives, including improving the customer experience, streamlining processes, lowering costs and marketing more effectively. The research firm’s survey showed that organizations are overwhelmingly targeting enhanced customer experience as the primary goal of big data projects (64 percent). Forty seven percent have their eyes on process efficiency and more targeted marketing. And a significant number are paying attention to enhancing security capabilities – 23 percent.
"As big data becomes the new normal, information and analytics leaders are shifting focus from hype to finding value," said Lisa Kart, research director at Gartner. "While the perennial challenge of understanding value remains, the practical challenges of skills, governance, funding and return on investment (ROI) come to the fore."
When we examined the results of a recent Data Center Industry Trends survey sponsored by Dell EMC and Intel, we learned that 50% of respondents leverage SaaS-delivered and cloud-based applications. A further 40% are aiming to support new, cloud-ready, applications and workloads.
Here’s the interesting part – when asked how prepared they were for these new cloud initiatives, nearly 30% said that they are either not very prepared or not prepared at all for cloud.
When you look at this kind of converged infrastructure environment, it’s important to see how a data center is also a gateway into the cloud. Converged infrastructure actually helps create a direct tie into a cloud architecture.
- Converged Infrastructure Enables Architectural Efficiency. We’re supporting greater numbers of users and workloads, all under the same IT architecture. Converged infrastructure (CI) not only supports more users, it also gives them a better experience. From the administrative perspective, you have your critical resources all under one management plane. Most of all – direct integration with the hypervisor allows you to literally create a bridge into the cloud. On premise converged infrastructure solutions can scale into the cloud or even other private data center solutions. The point is that you have the architectural freedom to design your environment around the growing needs of your business.
- CI – Helping you Innovate at the Pace of Software. Converged infrastructure is all about hardware and software intelligence. Now, you’re creating powerful profiles capable of dynamically provisioning and de-provisioning critical resources. Basically, converged infrastructure help you create cloud consumption models. Alerts, thresholds, specific policies, and even hypervisor-level controls – all enable easier management of a complex ecosystem. Through convergence, you can rapidly deploy new business units, test out new pieces of technology, and push workloads into the cloud directly from the management layer. This allows for the greatest amount of flexibility around the logical layer and the physical layer it supports.
- Enabling Systems Ready for Big Data. Virtual applications, desktops, big data, databases, virtual workloads, and a number of other types of solutions can be hosted on a CI platform. You can do things like graphics optimization, big data workload control, and even integrate with cloud systems. The beauty of CI revolves around its flexibility. In the past, heavy workloads (like data analytics) needed their own specific resources to function properly. Now, CI creates a platform where workloads like big data processing, and even virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can live on the same ecosystem; all managed from one environment.
- Creating Extensions into Cloud. Modern converged infrastructure solutions now act as the foundation for hybrid cloud systems. Direct integration with virtualization and cloud environments allows administrators to create an intelligent bridge into the cloud. You can integrate with VMware vRealize cloud automation solutions for automation, and even extend into an OpenStack cloud management ecosystem. The important part is that it’s all under one converged platform – with intelligent management built in.
There are powerful integrations with virtualization systems as well as cloud infrastructures. This means that CI acts as a direct bridge into a variety of new types of workloads. This includes big data, hybrid cloud, virtualization, and much more. With greater levels of efficiency, density, and workload optimization, converged infrastructure aims to take on modern business challenges with truly smart IT solutions.