The Data Center Can’t Scale, But That’s Changing With Hyperconvergence
Hyperconvergence can help companies of all sizes reach new levels of data center speed and resilience. It’s become the “go to” solution for any organization looking to simplify, streamline, and lower IT costs. Here’s why.
In the rapid-paced digital economy, business interactions and decision-making happen instantly, enabled by access to a range of resources, from group messaging apps and data analytics to social media tools and cloud services. Such exchanges are at the heart of the dynamic nature of business today, which has evolved quickly while the data centers that provide the support to make these interactions possible have remained static.
IT’s usual approach has been to build a unified data center infrastructure using diverse network, server, and storage components sourced from multiple vendors—a process that’s not only time-consuming and expensive but also out of sync with the increasing demand for data center simplicity and agility.
Research from IDC has shown that global spending on big data infrastructure, which consists of compute, network, storage, and security, will grow at a CAGR of 21.7 percent, and will account for roughly half of all spending in the big data and technology services market through 2019.1 What’s surprising, however, is that a significant portion of that investment is focused on merely keeping up with growing end-user and application demands.
Many organizations face other obstacles, including budgetary constraints as well as scalability challenges and management issues.
Converged infrastructure (CI) and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offer dynamic flexibility and performance levels to meet the needs of enterprises. Both are modular-based deployments that integrate separate data-center elements to deliver higher density and improved availability. They offer the advantage of simply adding clusters to meet the processing needs of a growing business.
In addition to gaining consistent application and data access, HCI adoption enables organizations to quickly scale from maintaining relatively small, traditional workloads to achieving high performance computing affordably. HCI in particular solves the limitations of traditional legacy infrastructures by eliminating information and infrastructure silos, simplifying overall management, and ensuring new levels of data center responsiveness.
Benefits of Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Companies are being seriously impacted by exponential data increases and the constant demand for applications and services. They regularly face a complex range of IT demands from the inside and the outside. For example, internal end users require a high degree of data access and application responsiveness from any device while customers and partners expect those same levels of always-on availability.
Moreover, IT managers are constrained by outmoded approaches to providing support, such as manual provisioning and deployments, which are time-consuming and resource intensive. However, simply adding new infrastructure won’t solve the problem. It only increases costs, management complexity, and data center sprawl.
Converged infrastructure answers that need by combining compute and storage elements into one physical appliance preconfigured by the manufacturer. Organizations can simply plug the appliance into the fabric of their existing data center to achieve desired performance levels, enabling fast workload provisioning and new deployments in a matter of hours and days instead of weeks and months.
Hyperconverged infrastructure takes that integration one step further by extracting the physical controls and making them operable in software running on low-cost, standardized x86 hardware. With virtual compute, storage, and networking, IT can create systems from similar server-based building blocks, expand by adding new clusters, and manage everything from one interface. HCI not only eliminates the need for IT specialists, it also strengthens overall performance by:
- Reducing data center footprint
- Optimizing resource allocation
- Improving failover capabilities
- Integrating automation, orchestration, and analytics
As IT leaders confront the unique set of demands brought about by the growth of third platform technologies (i.e., mobility, social media, big data, cloud services, etc.), they’re looking to hyperconverged infrastructure to provide much-needed resource consistency.
Overcoming Data Center Deficits With Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Remote office and branch office (ROBO) environments can be a critical part of many enterprise operations, but they often lack specialized IT support. Hyperconvergence enables dynamic, easily managed compute and storage to meet that changing demand. For example, instead of complex, high-cost traditional server and storage architecture, HCI can provide inexpensive, instantly scalable multinode deployments.
Such affordability is especially important in the public sector, such as state and local governments and education (SLED). Frequently tasked with handling diverse, complicated workloads on a limited budget, these institutions require locally accessible resources for a broad variety of use cases. Hyperconvergence can simplify these deployments as well as natively integrate data protection to ensure fast and comprehensive disaster recovery.
It’s difficult to overstate the seriousness of unplanned downtime due to a data center outage. Besides the financial impact, loss in worker productivity, and decline in customer confidence, brand reputation can suffer long-term consequences. Hyperconverged solutions contain built-in resiliency features, including virtual machine (VM) snapshots, advanced analytics, deduplication, and automation that can offset the risk of downtime caused by data center outages or human error.
Benefits of Lenovo and Nutanix Together
The Lenovo and Nutanix partnership is built on long-standing reputations and offers a hyperconverged solution that combines Nutanix Xpress software with Lenovo’s System x servers. According to a recent Gartner Research report, “HCIS will be the fastest-growing segment of the overall market for integrated systems, reaching almost $5 billion, which is 24 percent of the market, by 2019.”2
The growing popularity of hyperconvergence demonstrates just how quickly the current data center is changing. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the attraction to HCI is based not only on affordability, but also on finding a solution that offers comprehensive support services in a complete package.
As one of the largest suppliers of x86 servers in the world, Lenovo offers customers a high level of support as well as HCI upgrade services and maintenance, including hardware warranty, 24×7 software support, and onsite coverage to ensure successful HCI deployments. Customer confidence in Lenovo is based on the company’s heritage of extensive x86 deployments within data centers globally and a well-established portfolio outside of hyperconverged systems. The Lenovo 1U (1-node) and 2U (4-node) form factors provide a hyperconverged system with a simple management framework in an open, modular book design that can be easily serviced and upgraded in the rack.
At its core, HCI is about configuring traditional data center infrastructure (compute, storage, networking) into one single package. The Lenovo Converged HX Series Nutanix Appliance pools resources into a single shared virtual structure that increases utilization and ensures greater availability while at the same time reducing the IT burden. Natively integrated data protection includes simple virtual machine (VM) backup, disaster recovery, and replication, eliminating the need for traditional storage area network (SAN) and network area storage (NAS).
Taking the Next Step
Today, companies of all sizes are confronting the limitations of traditional, legacy infrastructures as they try to modernize their data centers to embrace digital transformation. Trends such as cloud computing, data analytics, and new levels of user mobility along with application delivery, to name a few, are placing heavy demand on these IT environments.
Lenovo is shaping the next generation data center to help companies reduce complexity to meet these ever-changing demands while lowering costs. For more information on how to achieve new performance levels through hyperconvergence, please visit the lenovo website.