A hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) promises greater data protection, seamless integration with existing systems, improved operational efficiency and reduced costs. According to Gartner, HCI currently represents 3.5% of the total IT infrastructure market. And Wikibon predicts that by 2017, nearly two-thirds of all enterprise application infrastructures will be packaged in the form of a converged solution.
When asked to comment about the state of the market, Tim Stammers, Senior Analyst at 451 Research said, “Software defined storage (SDS) and hyper-converged infrastructure are coming of age. Midmarket companies face mounting challenges storing and managing ever-growing volumes of data. Clearly there is a demand for IT infrastructure that is simpler to manage, and can scale out as data grows. Hyper-converged systems and software-defined storage are strong candidates to meet these needs.”
Research of 1,267 data centre managers by ActualTech Media revealed that 71% either already use, or are considering adopting, HCI or SDS. And the key drivers behind this are:
- Increased performance: 72%
- High-availability: 68%
- Lower costs: 68%
1) Increased performance
Traditionally, IT infrastructures resided in silos, where networking, storage, systems administration, and software were considered in isolation. However, as virtualisation became a more prominent technology, this fragmented approach to IT infrastructure has changed dramatically.
In a HCI the technology is software-defined and integrated, so it cannot be broken out into separate components, which boosts productivity. With 94% useable storage capacity, a HCI from market leader, Pivot3, boasts 2x the performance and 3x the storage density, at half the cost of competing HCI solutions.
Many solutions rely on data replication for data protection, which results in storage efficiencies that start at 50%. Then, as individual drives start to reach capacity, the remaining unused space creates stranded islands of capacity on other drives, which reduces availability further – as low as 23%.
HCIs inherently have high-availability built in. By assuming hardware will fail, it’s built to overcome any vulnerabilities in the system. A HCI from Pivot3 boasts the addition of erasure coding, which means you can lose up to five drives and still be up and running with no data loss. This patented approach provides six 9’s availability, which is 2x better than replication, using half as many nodes.
3) Lower costs
Most IT infrastructure is grown organically; new systems are added to overcome short-term issues, or technology is inherited through company mergers and acquisitions. The end result is a fragmented infrastructure comprising disparate systems, which 70% of IT budgets are spent maintaining.
A HCI enables you to take a “just in time” approach to storage, since the HCI architecture is designed to scale with your business. It means that as well as only paying for what you use, your footprint is significantly reduced, along with maintenance expenditure and associated costs. Research from the Taneja Group shows that when using a HCI, operational expenditure is 55% lower.
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