Why all the hype about hyper-converged systems?


Hyper-converged infrastructure and hyper-converged systems (HCS) are hot trends in today’s IT environments. Why does everyone want to get their hands on them?

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a virtual computing infrastructure system that combines data center services in a hardware box. But it’s way more than an integrated, cloud-like appliance. It integrates with advanced technologies to provide compute power, storage capacity, network connectivity, global orchestration and other technologies.

Hyper-converged systems also promise other benefits, including:

  • the elimination of additional appliances for disk-based data protection, data de-duplication, backup software or bandwidth acceleration;
  • a performance guarantee, in a predictive mode, all the time;
  • pure policy-based data allocation and protection at the virtual machine (VM) level.

Hyper-converged infrastructures simplify IT operations. In many cases, transitioning to a hyper-converged infrastructure eliminates complex provisioning and allows a single administrator to perform tasks that used to require a team of database administrators, systems administrators and storage gurus.

The hyper-converged industry players can be segmented into several categories. EMC (soon to be Dell), VMware, HP, Oracle, IBM and Cisco (HyperFlex) all have solutions on the market targeting enterprise clients. New startups and niche players, such as Nutanix, SimpliVity and others, are proving HCS can bring tangible benefits to IT organizations.

Enterprises that have rolled out HCS with success cite the following as motivating factors (in order of importance):

  • reducing total cost of ownership
  • reducing time to deliver
  • reducing operational risk
  • providing real scalability
  • improving IT agility

Enterprise agility is critical in today’s market. With HCS, an enterprise needs only one team to manage its entire hyper-converged stack instead of separate teams to manage its applications, storage, virtualization and server hardware. While this makes for a compelling case, realizing all of these benefits doesn’t come without some pain. To make an HCS work, an IT organization first must assess the readiness of its application portfolio for migration. And it must also take care not to turn the new HCS team into just another silo in the global IT organization.

The bottom line? Hyper-converged systems are the next generation of IT virtualization, working directly in the enterprise data center. For organizations that still have cold feet about the public cloud, this solution will surely be a tempting alternative!

ISG helps enterprises assess and optimize their IT organizations to meet their business objectives. Contact me to discuss further.

About the author

Julien leads ISG’s digital practice in the South Europe and Middle East Region. Having been involved in more than 80 successful engagements in IT performance assessment and sourcing strategy, Julien brings his clients long-term experience and insight that draws from working with ten of ISG’s largest global clients. His tight focus on achieving business objectives makes him a trusted partner clients can rely on to deliver expert guidance and measurable bottom-line results. Julien has recently led a digital transformation strategy for IT, a hybrid-cloud computing solution design and a big data benchmark for major European corporations. He is fluent in French, English, and Italian.