The digital landscape of 2020 is forcing many IT administrators to reconsider their roles and, with it, their infrastructure. IT administrators are now tasked with helping businesses open new revenue generation streams, promoting growth, strengthening profitability and driving innovation, all while putting together a data center strategy that minimizes the company’s data center footprint, protects their data, and drives down costs without sacrificing performance or resiliency.
IT administrators have a full plate when it comes to setting up the best possible infrastructure to support their business outcomes, especially when that means keeping core legacy systems running while integrating new technologies. In order to build a future-proof data center strategy, it’s important to take a closer look at the differences between two of the most talked-about architectures today: hyperconverged systems and composable infrastructure.
Hyperconverged systems represented the next wave after converged technologies. Where converged infrastructure brought together storage and compute capabilities, hyperconverged systems added elements of software-defined networking to include a hypervisor for virtualized computing, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking. The software-defined components can be deployed in an appliance-like fashion into clusters of high availability that can be replicated and scaled easily across an environment.
One of the primary benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure systems is its ability to make IT environments more agile. Because today’s marketplace dictates that most businesses can no longer wait weeks for storage or networks to be provisioned, hyperconverged systems have given IT administrators a kind of “easy button” in terms of managing their infrastructure. Hyperconverged systems typically run on standard, off-the-shelf servers and give IT administrators the freedom to focus their attention on business outcomes rather than getting bogged down in infrastructure management.
The primary difference between composable and hyperconverged infrastructure lies in the ability to add compute or storage. Whereas software-defined compute and storage are assumed to be virtualized in a hyperconverged solution, composable infrastructure allows you to manage and automate the physical components in addition to the virtual components, including the containers. This means that every time you add a new appliance to a hyperconverged system, you’re adding both compute and storage even if you only need one or the other. Composable infrastructure solutions, on the other hand, allow you to add either compute or storage as needed.
Where composable infrastructure really shines, however, is when it comes to automation. As businesses change, technology must adapt to meet the new challenges of the business. Composable infrastructure is essentially a stack of hardware with open API access that allows programmatic allocation, modification, composition and re-composition of that technology, making it a perfect choice for automating operating system deployment, application deployment, and network changes within the data center.
Because most IT environments do not virtualize 100% of their workloads, a hybrid environment—one containing both hyperconverged and composable infrastructures—can be a major asset to some businesses. It allows users to manage both environments on a single dashboard, or can extend the hyperconverged system to include physical elements or added virtual elements to carve out additional compute or storage when necessary. These kinds of hybrid environments allow users to leverage the advantages of each type of infrastructure where it benefits their business most.
Data Center Security
Faulty hardware and ransomware are among the top security concerns today, but misconfigured security on databases and application stacks pose equal risks. For this reason, it’s important to perform practice drills to ensure that your team is properly trained for a DR or power failure in an emergency. In many cases, this test capability is even built into composable or hyperconverged systems, and can help avert potential disaster scenarios within your infrastructure. Many hyperconverged systems also now include an integrated backup layer that allows for integrated DR. This can reduce the time it takes to recover the business from a ransomware attack, from a week or longer with traditional methods to less than an hour.
Success starts with assessment
When considering a data center strategy refresh, always start by assessing your environment. Evaluating your business objectives and outcomes will give you the best insight into which mix of infrastructure systems will best benefit your business. Be sure to discuss your infrastructure options and business objectives with your Sirius representative or contact us for more information.
To find out more about the differences between hyperconverged systems and composable infrastructure, listen to this episode of the podcast … And There You Have IT: A Tale of Two Data Center Strategies: Hyperconverged vs. Composable.