Converged Infrastructure Benefits to Consider
The consolidation trend in data centers continues to build momentum. Most IT professionals have embraced, if not exulted, virtualization technology. The consolidation benefits of virtualization have reduced the number of servers, reduced the footprint of some data centers, and saved on overall infrastructure management costs. Now data centers are embracing converged infrastructure solutions for similar reasons.
Forrester Research defines converged infrastructure (CI) as follows:
A pooled and virtualized combination of servers, edge networking, and storage, with built-in virtualization abstractions for the physical layer of infrastructure (not to be confused with hypervisor-type virtual machines) and integrated management. CI implies the ability to pool resources, streamline management, and in the end, the ability to more rapidly and flexibly provision infrastructure and services. While there is considerable variation in the actual vendor implementations of CI, all products embody some or all of the above definition.
Simply put, a converged infrastructure solution is one in which the server, network, and storage layers are working together in a more optimized capacity. These solutions might also be referred to as ‘unified computing.’ Three compelling benefits of converged infrastructure or unified computing environments include:
1. Simplified management structure. Since server, network and storage is centralized, the day-to-day management is streamlined. Personnel requirements, training, and knowledge is reduced, creating an easier to manage data center platform.
2. A faster path to 100Gbs. With common protocols and fabrics inherent with data center convergence, the facilitation of performance upgrades will allow for a faster path toward a 100Gbs.
3. Reduced data center costs. Because converged infrastructure reduces the need for dedicated, single-use components and limits the overall number of components to manage or troubleshoot companies can trim their operational and capital expenses. In consolidating resources, data center convergence also reduces the footprint of all data center components, which reduces costs even further.
Converged infrastructure solutions present challenges to the current paradigm of buying networking from your networking vendor, storage from your storage vendor, and so on, which can leave many IT professionals asking themselves, “Is this really a better strategy for my organization?” We think it’s the way to go, but as with all relatively new IT solutions, you should do your homework.