Virtualization made simple with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Across many data center environments, business data and new applications are rapidly proliferating. In large part, server virtualization has contributed to this growth since it removes many of the logistical barriers for bringing new business systems online. And while there are many benefits to implementing virtualized infrastructure, like improved resource efficiency, enhanced application availability and increased business agility, there can also be a great deal of added complexity in managing these environments. As virtual machines are deployed, IT administrators also need to configure and provision all the necessary storage and networking resources to support these systems.

Virtual Jack-of-All-Trades

As a result of “going virtual”, many organizations are asking their IT personnel to develop expertise across a broad range of disciplines – from virtual server infrastructure and network management to storage administration. Developing the competency to effectively configure, manage and tune these disparate elements of IT infrastructure so that they function as a cohesive whole, is not a trivial undertaking. And with this added complexity comes the increased risk of human error that can lead to application downtime, missed SLAs and lost business revenue opportunities. Therefore, in order to meet today’s increasingly “on-demand” business climate, IT decision makers need technologies which can dramatically simplify the end-to-end management of virtualized computing, networking and storage resources. Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions could be the answer.

Hyperconverged Simplicity

By merging storage, networking and virtualized server resources into a single system, hyperconverged platforms help to remove the complexity out of managing various, disparate infrastructure components. Essentially a data center in a box, these systems are built from the ground up to provide a turn-key solution for deploying and provisioning virtualized infrastructure assets. Unlike traditional storage architectures, in hyperconverged environments, all the necessary disk, server compute and networking resources are aggregated into a single pool. What’s more, infrastructure resources can be added as they are needed rather than all at once. For example, if more compute resources are required, compute nodes can be added to the pool. Likewise, if the resource pool is light on storage but heavy on compute, then more storage nodes can be added to the environment. This helps to ensure that resource utilization remains at an optimal level and doesn’t result in unnecessary infrastructure expenditures.

From a management perspective, administrators don’t have to become acquainted with using several different graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to configure and provision resources. Instead, all the infrastructure management is completely abstracted under a single, intuitive GUI that doesn’t require days or weeks of training to learn. Rather, with minimal training, some hyperconverged systems can be easily mastered by the veteran administrator or the novice alike.

Resource Efficiency

Some hyperconverged architectures even have the intelligence to identify available storage resources and automatically assign them to VMs during the provisioning process. This helps remove the guesswork out of pinpointing available resources and eliminates the underutilization of storage assets. For busy IT professionals, this goes a long way towards making infrastructure management a much simpler process but perhaps more importantly, it reduces the risk of configuration errors that can occur when administrators are forced to jockey between separate management GUIs to complete a task. This can help reduce application downtime and improve IT’s ability to respond more quickly to the needs of the business.

Out of The Box Virtualization

From a hardware configuration and assembly standpoint, there are no moving parts to separately rack, configure and provision. Instead, all the necessary virtualization software, server computing, networking and storage resources are all pre-configured and assembled across multiple nodes that function as a single, highly available pool of resources. Installing these systems merely requires plugging it into a power outlet, connecting it into the network and powering it up. In some cases, it takes longer to rack the nodes then it does to start deploying virtual machines (VMs). With a few simple mouse clicks, VMs and all their required storage and networking resources, can be rapidly assigned, provisioned and placed into production in the data center.

Seamless Scalability

One of the major benefits of a hyperconverged architecture is that its simplicity enables IT administrators without any specialized storage knowledge, to easily manage hundreds of VMs and hundreds of TB’s of storage capacity. In some hyperconverged environments, scaling out virtualized infrastructure merely requires deploying additional nodes into the production cluster. Once the additional nodes are installed, these resources are non-disruptively merged into the existing resource pool so that new virtualized applications can be immediately deployed. This seamless scaling capability is a key requirement for many businesses as it enables increased business agility without requiring a corresponding increase in IT head count.

Virtualization For Less

While IT planners may wish to leverage hyperconverged systems to simplify infrastructure management and to help them scale out data center resources more efficiently, many may feel that these platforms are well outside of their budgetary price range. Interestingly, in some situations, hyperconverged technology can be acquired for the same cost as a VMware license renewal. However, in these instances, instead of just obtaining the virtualization software, the IT buyer can also acquire all the required server, networking and storage hardware and software required to fully deploy virtualized application infrastructure. In short, businesses can get all the benefits of a hyperconverged architecture for just a fraction of the cost of converged offerings from some of the traditional IT suppliers.

Conclusion

As businesses continue to increase their virtualized application environments, they will have an increased need for solutions which can simplify the management of their server, network and storage infrastructure. Some converged infrastructure solutions deliver value by pre-integrating all the necessary hardware and software components required to rapidly implement virtualized applications in the data center, however, these offerings typically come at a premium price. Furthermore, some of these systems still require highly experienced IT personnel to manage.

Organizations can get a higher return on their investment in virtualized infrastructure by adopting hyperconverged solutions that remove all of the complexity out of implementing and managing virtualized systems without sacrificing performance or resource scalability. Technologies like those from Scale Computing combine VM software, server computing assets, networking and storage resources into a highly available, clustered node infrastructure that can be fully managed from a single interface.

In addition to consolidating multiple silos of data center infrastructure, Scale Computing’s offering is specifically designed to simplify VM management by allowing administrators to provision resources with a few simple mouse clicks. Furthermore, all VMs are configured within a clustered architecture to enable high performance, high availability and easy scaling of resources – whether in a local data center or when managing multiple systems across a private cloud environment.

This allows organizations to rapidly implement applications to meet business demands, while freeing up busy IT personnel to focus on business revenue generating activities. And since resources are efficiently utilized and can be deployed in a “just in time” fashion, businesses can lower their costs, enhance application service levels and improve end-user satisfaction.

Sponsored by Scale Computing

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As a 22 year IT veteran, Colm has worked in a variety of capacities ranging from technical support of critical OLTP environments to consultative sales and marketing for system integrators and manufacturers. His focus in the enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery solutions space extends from mainframe and distributed computing environments across a wide range of industries.

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