Is the Three-Tier Architecture needed?

The traditional three-tier architecture – compute, networking and storage – has served IT well for decades. It was born in an era where the availability of these resources were in short supply and the cost to acquire them was very high. As a result it was necessary for IT be very careful in how to acquire, provision, consume and upgrade their systems. Careful allocation and management of these resources is expensive, consuming and personnel heavy. However, these three resources are both abundant and relatively inexpensive. It may be time to stop worrying so much over how to manage and provision compute, storage and networking. Converging them, or hyper-convergence, gives up some of the granularization but significantly reduces complexity.

From Lack to Abundance

The abundance of compute power is the very reason that virtualization exists in the first place. Storage, due to the limitations of hard disk drive technology, put limits on its performance. Flash technology now provides abundant storage performance, more than many data centers need. Network bandwidth is also in abundance, with 10Gbs being the norm, and higher speeds available when necessary.

The result of all this excess in compute, storage and networking is that fine-grained management of their allocation is no longer necessary. Since it is not necessary to carefully manage the resources, it makes sense to converge them onto a single platform and simplify their management.

Time is now the most critical Resource

The resource that IT lacks the most now is time. IT needs time to get things done as quickly as the organization would like. Time is gained by making IT processes and configurations simpler so that they can be performed quickly and with less staff. This is where hyper-converged architectures excel. They bring the management of the virtual, storage and network infrastructures together. A single administrator can manage dozens if not hundreds of virtual machines. In the same way scaling of the environment is done with a single step. Add a node and all three resources increase.

StorageSwiss Take

In our upcoming webinar, Storage Switzerland and SimpliVity will discuss why it may be time to leverage virtualization to its fullest and move away from a traditional Storage Area Network (SAN) architecture. Hyper-convergence provides many of the capabilities that next generation data centers are looking for. IT’s decision is should they move forward or stick with the SAN?

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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