Why is your morning commute frustrating? Rubbernecking, erratic drivers, and faulty stop lights might contribute to your irritation, but the real reason morning commutes drive us mad is volume – there are a lot of cars on the road at the same time.
Something similar happened when organizations first adopted virtualization. When IT departments moved their computing into virtualized environments, they also moved data into shared storage. All the applications connected to the same storage array at the same time, slowing data retrieval, creating bottlenecks, and missing the target of increased efficiency.
Solving those bottlenecks isn’t always easy – it can be costly to upgrade to the newest technology and the underlying problem of too many applications accessing the same storage arrays doesn’t change. So what can IT do to eliminate these bottlenecks?
The answer might be hyperconverged infrastructure. Though many still see it as a buzzword, hyperconverged infrastructure is helping organizations, including many state and local governments, reduce costs, free up IT resources, and boost employee productivity. There are many advantages to hyperconverged infrastructures, which are significantly simpler to operate, use less energy and space, and offer a quick return on investment.
Hyperconverged infrastructure isn’t as complex as you might think
Let’s define hyperconverged infrastructure up front. Basically, a hyperconverged environment eliminates disparate servers, storage arrays, and management software, packaging all the hardware and software into one integrated system.
Instead of accessing a single storage array via a network, storage is moved to compute nodes. Data is hosted on the same servers as the applications, thus improving performance. Data is mirrored to the other nodes in the cluster, ensuring availability. Thus, compute nodes don’t contend for storage because each has its own space. Mirroring and other data resiliency techniques add redundancy to the system without creating new bottlenecks.
Hyperconverged will save budget in the long run
If you’re like most organizations, from state and local governments to school districts, you work on an annual budget, and too often those budgets are high on IT maintenance and low on upgrades.
A hyperconverged infrastructure investment will save an organization money with a quick return – sometimes in as little as 60 days.
Experience has shown that hyperconverged infrastructure can drive down the total cost of ownership (TCO) while boosting productivity. The expense of storage is a lot lower in hyperconverged infrastructure, and consolidating refrigerator-sized hardware reduces floor space costs, as well as the demands on heating, cooling, and electrical.
And besides eliminating those nasty bottlenecks, this type of environment allows IT to focus on new projects and initiatives, and not get buried by maintenance. Because the entire system is easier to operate and grow, IT can focus on improving other aspects of the environment instead of simply maintaining storage and computing.
Who actually uses hyperconverged infrastructure?
It’s not just early adopters. Actually, hyperconverged infrastructure is a billion-dollar industry and growing.
Every department of the Arvada, Colorado, city government migrated to hyperconverged infrastructure and lowered costs and improved hardware management. So did Newington, Conn., which is seeing storage and capital savings across all departments and a smaller data center footprint and improved backup and DR performance.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office transitioned to this type of environment a few years ago. Harris County is the most populous county in Texas, with four million residents, and is the third largest county in the United States. After converting to hyperconverged infrastructure, the country no longer has to buy third-party parts or software, and serves as a clear example to other government entities and organizations that hyperconverged infrastructure isn’t just viable, it’s transformative.
Simplicity rules the day
IT demands simplicity, but sometimes doesn’t practice what it preaches — hardware footprints grow and grow. Hyperconverged infrastructure brings balance to the system by reducing complexity, combining all elements into a single system and simplifying its management.
That smaller footprint cuts down on rental costs and provides savings through reduced energy and networking bills. And this type of hassle-free environment gives IT the ability to focus on bettering employee productivity by improving other parts of IT, which leads to a more responsive IT experience overall.
About the author
Joe Murphy is a Lenovo Senior Systems Engineer supporting Lenovo’s complete Data Center Portfolio, including Hyperconverged offerings. Joe came to Lenovo in 2014 after more than 25 years at IBM and has been supporting SHI for over a year. Joe lives and works in Amherst, New Hampshire when he is not on site at SHI.