Traditional vs. Hyper-Converged vs. Composable Infrastructure
Hybrid cloud infrastructure is not a one-size fits all solution.
And while there are numerous options, making the right decision can be overwhelming. The right implementation can certainly drive speed to market, increase scalability, and bolster performance across your environment, but its architecture still needs to complement your current environments and workloads. We don’t need to go deep into the weeds here; when a cloud platform is incompatible with your workload needs, you lose most of the benefits.
In short, you need to find and implement an infrastructure solution that addresses your current enterprise pain points and supports your future business goals.
Remember, too, that you also need to determine as changes and modernizations you are capable of and willing to make.
If you are trying to decide between keeping your Traditional architecture or migrating to a Hyper-Converged or Composable infrastructure, it is important to first evaluate and diagnose your current environments.
What Workloads Do You Expect to Run?
Do you have static workloads that have predictable performance metrics? Are you at a comfortable steady-state where you are not having to refactor your environments on a daily or weekly basis?
If so, Traditional architecture may be your most sustainable solution at the moment as it can still be optimized to support your spectrum of workloads (because your workloads aren’t changing or scaling in quickly, you don’t need to rock the boat).
- Remember, however, that Traditional architecture relies on segmented platforms where space and compute are strictly siloed (where VDI stays as VDI and BI as BI, etc.). These islands of highly-underutilized resources create management limitations and performance inefficiencies across your datacenter.
Do you have linear workloads with predictable growth? Do your storage, compute, and memory grow in sync? Do you only perform minimal reconfigurations?
If this is the case, then Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is a valid option for accelerating your modernization efforts (because of its tightly-integrated components). HCI is a software-defined solution that virtualizes your storage, network, and compute—rather than have them separately housed physically on different servers. Because your workloads are predictable, you can more easily leverage HCI to manage your digital resources as a single system via a single common toolset.
- Bear in mind that, in part, “converged” means that some pre-configuration has been done before it is launched in your environments, so your workloads and applications may need to be optimized (through third-party hardware and software) for optimal performance. Moreover, because your network resources are now integrated together with HCI infrastructure, if you just need a bit of additional storage, you will need to purchase another node entirely—which means paying for additional resources that you don’t necessarily need yet (or ever).
Do you have dynamic workloads with unpredictable growth? Do you need more flexibility and resource scalability to meet fluctuating demands? Do you find yourself reconfiguring your environments on a regular basis?
If this sounds familiar, then Composable infrastructure is a strong contender for your cloud solution. Much like HCI, Composable infrastructure brings together your storage, compute, and network fabric into one system. However—instead of environment-wide scaling through additional nodes—Composable uses software-defined intelligence and a unified API to “compose” your components into fluid resource pools that can be individually scaled as-needed. Overall, Composable is customizable in real-time, and reconfigurations can be done directly in-house by your team so that their environments get what they need when they need them.
- Although it provides granular flexibility and more efficient scaling of resources, Composable infrastructure requires a considerable investment in software and training initiatives. Your entire IT workforce—as well as upper management and other employee sectors—will need to realign their business philosophy to accommodate the drastic change in methodology.
Speaking of team culture and business philosophy…
How is Your IT Team Organized?
Do you have a team of siloed, specialized engineers with specific hardware and applications to manage (e.g. you have segregated teams for Network, Storage, Server, Applications, Development, etc.)?
IT teams with individual specializations like this often are able to sustain more independent management of their environments, making Traditional infrastructure a natural continued fit. Moreover, if your IT team is this specialized across the board, then you most likely have very senior-level engineers who may be resistant to retraining for more agile infrastructures in the future.
Do you have a lean, more integrated IT team where individual members have more generalized expertise to cover a broader range of disciplines and service requirements?
An integrated team like this is better utilized in more agile environments like HCI or Composable. Rather than having 5+ teams to manage each component individually, the entire HCI or Composable platform can eventually be managed by the Server team alone (now called Ops). However, in order to get to that point—and as we mentioned before—this requires a complete “buy in” across the employee board, from Application to Development, to HR and upper management.
The Results Are In
So, you’ve weighed your options. You’ve diagnosed your pain points. And maybe you’ve decided that Composable infrastructure is the answer to your IT and business needs.
Ultimately, your company needs more power and control—the granular scalability and resource fluidity to accommodate the unpredictable nature of your workloads and the fluctuations of your network demands. You also have an integrated IT team of dedicated individuals that is willing to complete the education and adopt the modifications necessary to implement the solution. Because they recognize the long-term benefits of such a platform.
We recognize those benefits as well and, as such, have partnered with HPE Synergy (HPE composable infrastructure) to provide our clients with the most effective software-defined infrastructure available on the market.
Or maybe you’ve determined that sticking with traditional architecture is the right fit for now. We can help you make sure that your current environments run smoothly until you’re ready for the next transition.