Converged infrastructure: Beyond the hype

Issue 1 2023 IT infrastructure, Products

Dorio Bowes.

The days of ‘do-it-yourself’ IT is ending. Technical teams no longer have to sit and work through a magnum opus of manuals for every layer of computing, networking, and storage, largely thanks to the growing popularity and increasing success of converged infrastructure.

If you consider that simply maintaining existing infrastructure can take up, according to IDC, a whopping 80% of your team's time. There is little time to support cloud-native apps, simplify workload and data management, and improve hybrid cloud operations. It makes sense to investigate solutions that can propel innovation and agility while delivering operational and capital efficiencies.

Fortunately, converged infrastructure solutions, like the Cisco and NetApp FlexPod offerings, have come a long way in the past decade and are delivering on the ease of use and improved management capabilities they promised to solve. Here are some reasons organisations should consider the move to converged infrastructure.

Position IT to better meet business needs

The first reason is that converged infrastructure creates a more reliable, productive IT environment. With traditional or three-tier environments, it is challenging to optimise every hardware layer independently to get the performance needed for a diverse set of workloads, without blowing the IT budget.

Leveraging a converged infrastructure allows IT to benefit from a set of integrated components from day one. This strips away the guesswork, because the solution validated, and infrastructure management is simplified. Using already integrated automation tools for the hardware, virtualisation, and management, you also benefit from reduced complexity and workflows are immediately optimised. This matters to businesses looking to speed up the delivery of application services.

Let us go back to the 80% figure mentioned above. If your team is locked in doing routine maintenance and tedious tasks 80% of the time, that means that they only spend 20% of their time on innovation. With a converged infrastructure, this figure can be flipped, resulting in more innovation. It is not just the productivity gains that are so attractive. The overall reduction in investment required and the quicker returns on the investments made are fundamental drivers.

Gain agility to keep up with business demands

Reading the benefits of converged infrastructure is like reading all the best parts of a marketing brochure. It offers scalability, agility, high performance, security, compliance, and ease of management.

What are the killer use cases, the primary challenge it solves, and the business case it puts in motion? IT teams looking at deploying a converged infrastructure must facilitate the journey to the cloud and simplify the data centre so that they can respond more quickly to the demands of the business.

With a converged infrastructure, IT benefits from a predesigned and validated environment designed to deliver optimal functionality and supportability. The centralised nature of this infrastructure immediately unlocks efficient economies of scale, faster IT response, increased flexibility, and reduced costs. Because the technology is proven, it gives IT a reliable means to deliver the power, flexibility, and agility needed by the growing demands of modern workloads.

For example, converged systems address the needs of modern workloads such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Kubernetes, DevOps, private cloud, and new workflows like a hybrid cloud. It is important to keep one’s converged infrastructure solution up to date, as it is a rapidly evolving market.

Build a foundation for a hybrid cloud future

The third reason you should consider converged infrastructure solutions is that they incorporate the best features of the public cloud, which offers IT teams the perfect platform to deliver a seamless hybrid cloud environment, which, as we know, is the cornerstone of digital transformation.

It allows for building a better hybrid cloud environment because it offers scalability, agility, high performance, security, compliance, and ease of management. It is also easier to deploy a private cloud in the data centre using converged infrastructure and then integrate it with multiple public clouds. In essence, it is creating the hybrid cloud you need.

With a converged environment, IT can also tackle data security and sovereignty concerns head-on. How? When combining a converged infrastructure with public cloud services, it becomes possible to create a single seamless solution for data protection, confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It is also elastic enough to scale according to the demands for IT resources, allowing IT to add new cloud services in seconds and ensure that security protocols follow the workload and the app.

When looking to upgrade your infrastructure, select solutions that work with you and not against you, and select a solution that does what it says it does on the marketing materials. According to Cisco and NetApp, their FlexPod customers average reduced capital spending by 24%, a great incentive for businesses still following the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to IT.

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