September 25, 2016
Hyperconverged infrastructure is a radical shift in data center planning and design. Normally, the core elements of a data center—computing, storage, and networking—are all separate components and separate pieces of hardware. In a hyperconverged infrastructure, however, all those elements are combined into a single box. That’s a huge change from the traditional model.
It is difficult to wrap your mind around what that really means, why it’s valuable, and what you can do with hyperconverged infrastructure. Below we’ve included two use cases to inspire ideas for this new strategy.
Benefits of Hyperconverged infrastructure
Before addressing the use cases specifically, let’s cover a few of the general benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure.
- Scalability: A big benefit to hyperconverged infrastructure is its ability to scale. Hyperconverged infrastructure is composed of various nodes. When more resources are needed, it is very easy to simply acquire more nodes and add them to the stack. Even better, each node represents a smaller amount of resources than would be possible to increase in a traditional architecture. Therefore, you can scale to precisely what you need instead of overprovisioning, and save money along the way.
- Simplified Management: Hyperconverged infrastructure is another step towards the “software defined data center,” and most can be managed entirely through their software platforms. This leads to less administration time and fewer costs associated with maintaining the system.
- Rapid Deployment: Because there aren’t any cross-manufacturer integrations to make or complicated connections to install, hyperconverged infrastructure can be rapidly deployed.
- Hardware Refreshes: updating the hardware in hyperconverged infrastructure is as easy as swapping out nodes as they age. It can be done non-disruptively and quickly as needed.
Putting the Hyperconverged Benefits to Work
While a full on-prem hyperconverged data center for your corporate headquarters is a viable strategy for your company, it is not the only option out there. Keeping the benefits in mind, here are two possible uses for hyperconverged infrastructure.
Remote Data Centers
Hyperconverged infrastructure is perfect for a secondary remote or branch data center for your organization. Suppose your company has a main corporate office in Chicago with three supplemental branches in Mexico, China, and the UK. Hyperconvergence would allow your company to supply any extra compute or storage necessary for applications, while maintaining a level of simplicity at these branches. They would not need to staff as many experts, the infrastructure could easily scale as needs expand, and the reduced team could still easily manage the infrastructure.
Temporary Data Centers
A second option would be to rapidly deploy a temporary data center. Rescue and support organizations like the Red Cross could quickly deploy hyperconverged infrastructure near their new work station until relief is provided.
Alternatively, hyperconverged infrastructure could also theoretically be used in DR scenarios. When all else fails, at least hyperconverged can be deployed by your team in a safe location to support your most essential applications.
Ideas for Hyperconvergence
Any project or corporate structure that requires streamlined data center performance or management could benefit from hyperconvergence. Beyond that, standard use cases apply. Because hyperconvergence is so radically different from the regular architectural design, it is difficult to tell whether or not hyperconvergence will supplant other designs as the industry standard. Until then, more and more companies will be finding these alternative uses for the solution.
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