Achieving IT Agility in a Private Cloud
Use of public cloud resources offered by vendors such as AWS and Azure is on the rise. According to IDC, quarterly spending on public cloud IT infrastructure has more than doubled in the past two years, growing 56.1% year over year, while spending on private cloud infrastructure grew at half of this rate, 28.3%.
Public clouds allow enterprises to expand IT infrastructure rapidly and meet the demands of today’s dynamic and highly competitive markets. Nevertheless, some CTOs and CIOs still prefer the privacy and control of a private cloud for their more sensitive workloads.
This creates a dilemma for the IT leader. The traditional three-tiered architecture of compute, network, and storage resources required to add capacity to a private cloud can take time to procure and deploy. By the time the organization has scaled up to meet the need, the opportunity may have passed them by.
Hyperconverged infrastructure, or HCI, gives IT leaders a way to deliver the agile, scalable IT infrastructure available through the public cloud with the security and control of the private cloud.
What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)?
Gartner defines hyperconverged infrastructure as “a category of scale-out software-integrated infrastructure that applies a modular approach to compute, network and storage on standard hardware, leveraging distributed, horizontal building blocks under unified management.”
Already a $1.5B market, HCI is being leveraged by enterprises to simplify IT operations, create a more agile, scalable IT infrastructure, and reduce costs.
Three main characteristics of HCI:
Modular – HCI combines compute, network, and storage resources on one device. Think of these as building blocks for your data center. Need more capacity? Add more nodes. This provides enterprises the ability to scale quickly to meet the organization’s needs.
Commoditized components – HCI components can be commoditized x86 servers, which helps enterprises dramatically cut costs and lower procurement complexities. The organization just needs to procure one type of device instead of separate proprietary storage arrays, controllers, and networking components every time they need to add capacity.
Software-defined – Once in place, resources can be configured remotely through a single console, reducing the complexity of spinning up resources and reconfiguring those resources as needs change.
For examples of HCI vendors, look to Nutanix, who leads the pack in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, followed closely by Dell EMC and VMware. Note that many vendors sell HCI devices bundled with their software, but they also sell their software separately so that customers can install it on third-party devices.
Edge Computing: An HCI Use Case
Many enterprises are looking to reduce latency in their networks by moving their infrastructure closer to the point of use. For example, an organization with its headquarters in Chicago, but with branch offices in Denver, Allentown, and Nashville might elect to maintain multiple, smaller data centers located nearer these branches instead of one central data center in Chicago. By moving the data center closer to the end user, they cut down not only on the distance their data needs to travel, but also on delays due to network congestion.
The challenge is that organizations often lack the resources to fully staff each of these data centers with IT professionals. HCI allows the organization to maintain a much smaller “remote hands” staff that can do the physical work of plugging in commodity components, while a more experienced team from central IT configures these components remotely.
This approach has the added benefit of improving IT governance. Since central IT is configuring the components, they can ensure consistency and adherence to best practices and policies.
Related Post: Edge Data Centers: Keeping Up With Consumers and IoT
TierPoint Can Help You with HCI
HCI is one of the reasons we are able to provide our customers with access to highly scalable, private cloud resources in 40 edge data centers across North America. By using our hosted, private cloud infrastructure, your enterprise can achieve the scalability of a data center powered by HCI, without the overhead that comes with maintaining a on-premises data center.