We’ve all heard the expression “time is money” and you can’t put it better when talking about IT. Most businesses’ success and efficiency depends on their IT infrastructure. For real. We all want our applications to run as fast as possible and roll them out in a matter of minutes. Moreover, the more data you have, the worse the consequences are in the event of its loss. So, companies want to get back all their data and get it back as soon as possible in case something happens. That’s called Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and the shorter they are, the better it is for your company. Finally, as your business grows, you want to provision it with the right amount of storage and capacity and in case you need to open another branch office, you want to deploy an IT infrastructure shortly without spending months for building it.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem with traditional IT infrastructures with segregated components: compute nodes, storage nodes, networking equipment etc. You have to spend more time on its maintenance and management than on your business development.
What hyper-convergence does is taking all the components (storage, SDS, networking, computer, backup…) and uniting them in a single form-factor under a unified management tool. Despite of turning into a buzzword because of its frequent usage, it’s a real deal. It’s good for your system administrators since it greatly simplifies their daily routine and it’s good for your business, and here’s why.
More time for your business, less time for IT infrastructure management
Let’s say you need to roll out a VM. Hyper-converged solutions give you the ability to deal with your VMs without having to work with each infrastructure component separately. You don’t need to deal with storage, compute nodes, and networking. You just manage your VM instead and the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) does the rest for you. You can spin a VM basically in a matter of minutes.
We all know that every IT infrastructure needs to be maintained at some point in time. It may be hardware or software upgrade, maintenance works, or just fixing some issues. In a hyper-converged infrastructure, it is much easier to put one of the nodes into the maintenance without interrupting the production, do all you need and then turn it back on. It’s really great since your applications continue running and you don’t even have to think about maintaining your infrastructure.
Improved RTO and RPO
Even the smallest companies nowadays depend on their IT resources that should be available on a 24/7 basis. Even short periods of downtime can hurt your business and mean having to cancel product launch or stop service delivery. Therefore, maintaining a constant level of infrastructure uptime is critically important. Data protection is one of IT’s core services. Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions are designed to effectively deal with this problem since they already come with included comprehensive backup and recovery capabilities allowing to meet even the strictest RTO and RPO requirements.
One of such instruments is synchronous replication. It perfectly fits for high-end transactional applications that need instant failover if the primary node fails. With it, you always have your data available and are safe from production interruption.
Better flexibility and faster deployment
Hyperconvergence gives you the ability to scale granularly by adding more nodes. In this way, you buy what you need and when you need it without rebuilding your IT infrastructure or overspending budgets for hardware. Unlike integrated systems products, which often require large investments, hyper-converged solutions have a much smaller step size. The smaller the step size, the lower your up-front costs are, and resources get utilized more efficiently. Moreover, it’s really easy to add new nodes to a hyper-converged infrastructure.
HCI is also a good solution if you need to build a new IT infrastructure from scratch. Say, you’re opening a branch office. With a proper HCI solution, you get a vast amount of resources that are managed from a single interface. Network, storage, and compute resources can be deployed at a new site and start working for the company straight away. What is more, hyper-converged systems are designed to be self-contained and remotely managed, making them a perfect choice for hosting VMs at branch offices. What this means? Well, you don’t need specialized IT staff at places to perform manual operations…so, less expenses.
Hyper-converged infrastructure is no panacea, but it can bring tangible benefits to your business. If you don’t want to spend much efforts on your IT infrastructure management and maintenance, it is a good option. It’s also a good strategy to ensure your business 24/7 operation without building dedicated and complex backup infrastructure. Finally, once you deploy an HCI solution, you don’t have to worry about its sizing, allowing you to focus on your business instead.