The IT world has its share of fads. But some are longer lived than others, and carry genuine potential. Hyper-convergence is one such new paradigm that is generating debate but also gaining traction in the business world. Let’s unwrap the facts from the hype, though.
Essentially, hyper-convergence is a continuation of a trend started by virtualization, which disguises the complexity of underlying network resources from end users. Following virtualization the next step would be convergence, where multiple IT assets were grouped into focused, optimized appliances. Hyper-convergence continues this journey towards simplicity by creating pools of dedicated, specialized assets with x86 building blocks run by a master machine, also called the hypervisor. The difference is that, unlike converged solutions, each component in a hyper-converged infrastructure is specialized in operation and provided by the same vendor for maximum interoperability.
For businesses, hyper-convergence can enable a number of benefits. The IT infrastructure is simplified, leading to more efficient operations. Silos are removed, which improves communication and provides more transparency. Not to mention having a uniform interface means the days of needing to train on a large number of platforms to get business results are limited. In essence, hyper-converged applications are like smartphone apps – hardware complexities are abstracted out to deliver easy functionality. Hyper-converged solutions can run on bunches of “commodity servers” that require low capitalisation and are easily replaceable. A modular approach means these solutions can scale out to fit growth – but perhaps not as easily as disaggregated networks. Overall, there is the promise of a reduction in both capex and opex costs.
The hyper-convergence emphasis is on ease, cost savings and speed. For instance, the EMC VSPEX BLUE solution lets IT admins start rolling out up to 100 virtual machines within of 15 minutes. That’s about the time it takes to brew and drink a nice cup of coffee. It’s a boon for businesses needing rapid response and deployment.
So is hyper-convergence right for contemporary organisations? The market seems to think so: converged infrastructure activity is set to hit USD 33.89 billion by 2019. And intuition says that a structure that reduces operating costs, capital outlay and training overheads while simplifying IT processes will unlock benefits. Hyper-convergence is also being driven by the aging of traditional datacentres, and the general move towards cloud services.
There is an undeniable general push towards common tools, processes and workflows that enable environmental integration and deliver intuitive, powerful simplicity to users across the entire organisation. We believe it’s the new way of doing things. Hyper converged definitely is a great addition to the IT administrator’s toolbox, and an indication of things to come.