What Converged and Hyper-Converged IT Means to your Infrastructure (and Your TV Remote Control)

March 4, 2016 Srdan Mutabdzija

Finding the Proper Infrastructure for Converged IT Gear – While Waiting for a Better TV Remote

In my house we have a router, cable box, TV, Roku, Apple TV, sound system and a gaming console. We need to hook these systems up appropriately and, depending on what we want to watch or listen to, change the TV to the appropriate HDMI input. While it’s now become almost second nature to go through these steps, I know it’s not really an optimal situation. Hopefully, one day we’ll have what we really need: a single box that enables us to select our entertainment option with just a few clicks of the remote or by voice command.

While many IT geeks might reprimand me for it, this is a metaphor I use to explain converged and hyper-converged IT to my non-IT friends.  Servers, switches and storage are integrated into a converged IT solution. Eventually they will move into one, hyper-converged box or appliance that, in response to a few software commands, does whatever we want it to. Sounds easier and faster, and would simplify our lives, right? (You just nodded your head in agreement). So, in the software defined world, what exactly does all this mean for power, cooling and enclosures? (Or, as we would like to call it, physical infrastructure, or even better, InfraStruxure.)

Though one box might need less space and power than five separate boxes it still needs to be powered. One box might need more power at specific moments than another which means it also needs more cooling at that time. Organizations still have to install these boxes and find proper space for them. So, while IT has evolved and dramatically changed, physical infrastructure has stayed the same, right? Not exactly.

When I decided on my TV or sound system, my decision was based on three factors: how much I would pay for it, how quickly I would get it and the quality of the product (which these days is equal to number of stars on Amazon reviews). The vast majority of IT and facility customers are driven by the same things: they want quicker time to market, peace of mind, and, of course, to get it all for the right price. Our customers’ main priority is to run their applications and ensure business continuity; they really don’t want to spend much of their time on non-value added activities. We don’t have time, we are overloaded with information, we need to run our businesses, our boss is calling…

Instead of figuring out how many kW one might need for IT installations, how to protect it, how to cool it and how to install it in the space that I (don’t) have, today our customers want solutions that are pre-engineered and pre-validated. Further, often they want simple, plug-and-play solutions that are also fully pre-fabricated. An army of people have installed these solutions elsewhere and another army of engineers and solutions architects are calculating and validating these solutions in their labs. Why not use that knowledge, avoid deployment risks, minimize time to market and simplify our lives?

The good news for IT folks is converged and hyper-converged systems and appropriate infrastructure to protect it is readily available. Meanwhile, my family and I are still waiting for that box that’s going to simplify our lives.

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