5 Things to Consider when Moving Workloads to a Hyperconverged Infrastructure
To be or not to be is an age-old philosophical question that doesn’t apply to CIOs when they are confronted with an option to move to hyperconvergence. In a definitive shift, hyperconvergence has redefined businesses as this virtualization technology can be deployed to make production, backup, and disaster recovery systems efficient and robust.
Some critical questions do arise when deciding in favor of hyperconverged infrastructure: What deployment model should be chosen for creating a hyperconverged infrastructure? What additional cost is needed for scaling? What other important parameters should be considered when selecting workloads and components to converge?
Here are some insights that can help while making decisions on hyperconvergence infrastructure.
- Build the infrastructure or buy the resources? This is the primary question that confronts a CIO when a new system must be institutionalized. The simple way to choose between the build and buy options is to understand the extent of integration an organization need. Buying computing resources from a service provider makes life easier for the CIO, as support from the vendor takes care of any complications that may arise in networking, connectivity, data architecture, and computational or provisioning issues. When a CIO decides to build a hyperconverged infrastructure in-house while buying software and services from a vendor, they will have to first ascertain if the organization’s infrastructure is prepared for easy scalability. If not, the build option would be expensive, but having vendor support will save the organization on resources.
- Are all platforms the same? Hyperconverged architectures vary in their functionalities and deployment. Cost, learning curve, and the need for knowledge transfer are the key factors a CIO must keep in mind. Solutions that use a familiar interface may be easier to learn compared to a brand-new one. Existing users may find more conversant business workloads such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, or SAP easier to follow – and the learning curve is shorter. Depending on the level of knowledge a team already has, a plan could be created for training and knowledge transfer to prepare employees to deal with difficult situations. Hyperconvergence on the cloud can bring down the cost and enhance the flexibility of infrastructure. Be it hosted private cloud, public cloud, or any other type; a cloud infrastructure is hardware agnostic. This makes it easier to add components to your cloud infrastructure as and when needed.
- Need for business continuity: Any hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) should have backup, and disaster recovery (DR) features integrated into the system to avoid additional spending on these features. In this way, DR in a hyperconverged architecture can be replicated easily without the need for replicating the organization’s data center. This helps achieve more flexibility with the lowest RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives) and RPOs (Recovery Point Objectives). When deciding what features should be added in backup and Disaster Recovery, some questions can help: How long do the backups need to be kept? Are backups required at granular levels? Is there a possibility of losing all the backups at the same time? The selection of features should address these concerns to ensure business continuity when facing a loss or a disaster.
- Managing hypergrowth: Hyperconverged infrastructure is best suited to deal with hypergrowth, but it can increase the costs as businesses expand with the addition of infrastructure components. The CIO must have insight down to the level of individual nodes so that the organization can maximize its ROI. When the cost is calculated for each node, the maintenance cost can be easily computed. When adding a storage or a compute, the CIO also needs to decide if it would be wiser to work within or use a third-party service. A managed service can help save costs as managed service providers have solutions that fit an organization’s budget and provide scalability on demand. With the vendor taking care of the helpdesk function, organizations would need less investment in monitoring, support, and maintenance. Further, several innovative cloud models have emerged in the recent past that offer the flexibility to allocate and de-allocate components, so one needs to pay only for the time they are used.
- Taking care of performance: Investments in hyperconvergence can deliver desired returns only when the systems perform at their peak. To ascertain that the hyperconverged infrastructure is performing at par, a CIO will need to have a good knowledge of the important parameters and have them defined at the planning stage. Test codes can be developed using these parameters before any deployment is done. When there are multiple environments to manage, testing can be challenging. However, hyperconvergence provides QoS constructs using which multiple environments can be run on a single infrastructure, making tests more reliable. Performance measures such as throughput, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), System Resiliency, uptime/downtime, and exception handling can be used for ROI analysis to find out if a deployment is providing expected returns.
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