July 15, 2015

Hyper-Convergence in Data Center: Promises and Reality

BY :     July 15, 2015

hyper-convergenceWhat can be more addictive than ‘access without constraint’ to information? However, new storage and computing approaches such as real time analytics, data mining, and stream processing are trending topics today. So, what we cannot, eventually, miss is: The link between all these elements – an essential ‘cement’ that allows to orchestrate these different components of infrastructure in the data center.

Think:

  • What about giving access to information without storage?
  • What to do with a volume of data without being able to access it easily?
  • What would be the value if it takes an eternity to gain access to the data/information in the above two situations?

Therefore, we must  CONVERGE these pieces to achieve a coherent picture and deliver value. However, convergence is not enough. We need HYPER-CONVERGENCE! What does it mean?

From a software perspective: An administration console to provide global access to infrastructure in a Public or Hybrid Cloud solution is now called “hyper-convergence.” I think it has been existing for a decade with cluster architectures; but new requirements to streamline ‘access to all information and data’ is a real opportunity for IT . It’s a market that is living a ‘real explosion’ nowadays and specialists in this field are investing a lot to deliver new offers (VMware, Nutanix, etc.)

Hyper-convergent systems are a natural evolution of the traditional IT infrastructure, which is usually composed of operational silos (computing, storage, network) catering to specific business needs. The relatively new concept of hyper-convergence combines two or more of these components of infrastructure as a solution: an appliance combining server + storage + network in a box. Mixing computing power (server), storage power and communication efficiency (network) has big advantages, but it also has some drawbacks that we need to be aware of:

  • Their ‘black box’ approach, combining both the hardware and the software, prevents from making substantial changes to the software (as customization features are limited).
  • In the same way, if the appliance has a functional imbalance (power calculation or storage), it is difficult to correct it other than by adding another appliance that compensates for this defect.
  • The hyper-converged black box could become the single point of failure, and therefore, strong backup and/or replication procedures must be put in place to back up the black box itself.

These concerns should not eclipse the real value of the hyper-convergence approach, which provides infrastructure simplification, consistency, performance and a unique monitoring console.

Philippe André

About

Philippe André is an expert within Business and IS architecture, Service Architecture, System modelling and Soil science. Philippe is a Certified Enterprise Architect (L4) and TOGAF9 certified. Philippe's mission is to help clients to make the best decision as far as business and IT alignment is concerned. More on Philippe.

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    *Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group