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Modern IT and HCI

  Kevin Wood     Jul 18, 2019

hyperconvergedToday's IT departments and data centers are drastically different than their predecessors. Virtualization has been the key driving force behind the changes. However, new technology and operations bring new challenges that must be resolved. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) helps IT departments solve many of the issues caused by virtualization. HCI works by linking every part of the data center and bring it all under one management platform. With HCI, both IT and the data center become more efficient and agile, resulting in increased performance and scalability.

Virtualization Challenges and Consolidation with HCI

Virtualization should create a cohesive environment with shared resources and optimal efficiency. Unfortunately, many data centers face virtualization challenges that prevent this level of performance. IT often employs multiple solutions and devices to try to resolve virtualization issues. As a result, many data centers consist of a vast collection of incompatible hardware solutions that are each managed separately. The data center becomes siloed and disconnected—the exact opposite of the original goal.

HCI solves this siloed data center issue by consolidating hardware. The data center becomes a cohesive environment where every aspect is managed from a central platform. Enterprises no longer need a tiered, segmented IT department with multiple specialists. With HCI, IT staff can manage the whole data center from a simple user-friendly interface. Most of the highly technical, complex executions are automated and hands-off. Administrators can now shift their focus to efficient resource allocation. HCI allows for flat IT with infrastructure generalists who have a broad understanding of the entire system.

Storage Optimization Through HCI

Effective virtualization relies on efficient storage, which has been difficult to achieve. Virtualization creates a shared storage environment that applications access as needed. Unfortunately, this approach fails to take into account each application's unique storage requirements. IT's efforts to resolve storage issues often creates redundancies and massive consolidations that make the problem worse. HCI takes a new approach by focusing on performance instead of capacity. HCI uses inline deduplication to increase efficiency while reducing system demands.

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The Intelligent Network Fabric

HCI is not complete without a software-defined networking system. Increased cloud and bandwidth usage have made networking a vital part of the infrastructure. A software-defined networking system provides an intelligent network fabric overlay that allows for increased agility and performance. The network becomes a programmable automated part of the hyperconverged system. Scalability, adaptability, and traffic flow are improved with reduced demand on the infrastructure.

Software-Defined Infrastructure

The software-defined data center (SDDC) with its software-defined infrastructure (SDI) has become standard. Virtualization, automation, and IT as a Service (ITaaS) are crucial aspects of a software-focused data center. Virtualization provides an overarching software layer that is abstracted from the underlying hardware. All resources are pooled together and managed through a single interface. This cohesiveness allows for enhanced automation. Many routine operations are now automated, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced expenses. With streamlined management and automated operations, IT can be treated as a service. ITaaS can improve resource utilization, scalability, and staff productivity.

Improving IT with HCI

Enterprises are demanding more from their data centers. IT is expected to focus on meeting business needs instead of simply managing the technology behind the scenes. IT departments need to be more efficient, secure, and flexible than ever. HCI helps IT meet these new demands. With HCI, IT departments can:

  • Increase Efficiency—Automated operations and centralized device management allow staff to focus on business objectives instead of routine procedures.
  • Lower Expenses—Improved resource utilization and reduced manpower needs help lower IT's overhead.
  • Maximize Security—HCI simplifies data protection, recovery, and availability.
  • Improve Agility—With HCI, IT is highly flexible and can deploy new services and applications much faster.

A modern data center requires a modern IT department. With HCI, IT can shift their focus from technology management to providing a valuable business service. HCI helps resolve the disconnectedness, storage challenges, inefficiency, and performance issues that many modern data centers face. The streamlined management and automation HCI can provide make ITaaS possible. Enterprises can get a better ROI on their data center investments, and IT can focus on meeting business needs. HCI turns IT and the data center into high performing, efficient, invaluable assets.

NEXT STEPS: Explore the major differences between converged and hyperconverged infrastructure in our white paper: Future Ready Data center: Converged vs Hyperconverged infrastructure

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Tags  virtualization ITaaS data center HCI Hyperconverged infrastructure

Kevin Wood

Written by Kevin Wood

Kevin Wood is a Solutions Architect here at WEI. He holds more than 20 industry certifications from companies like HPE, Cisco, VMware, and Microsoft. Kevin’s specialty is architecting storage solutions that support our client’s business needs for now and in the future, and offers practical know-how when it comes to cloud storage and cloud security. Stay in the loop on the evolution of enterprise storage strategies and trends by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

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