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Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Makes IT Simple and Agile

Dan Giannascoli, Next Generation Data Center, Civilian Agencies/SLED East, NetApp

November 22, 2017  |  Data Center


With tight budgets and an ever-changing IT landscape, federal agencies are looking to simplify IT infrastructure wherever they can. This means finding a trusted solution that helps meet agency goals without requiring an army of staffers when quick changes of scale are needed.

That’s where Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) can help. HCI takes the three core functions of a data center—compute, storage, and networking and server—and virtualizes them, creating a software-defined IT environment. The result is a more dynamic system, enabling a greater alignment between infrastructure and workload.

Organizations which have smaller IT departments may not have the staff necessary to administer complex IT environments and would benefit significantly from the simplicity and automation of HCI. This technology allows IT managers to consolidate large traditional infrastructures, which also leads to cost savings: from reduced administration overhead required to maintain the environment, to lower power and cooling required for the smaller HCI footprint.

The Data Center of the Future

The converged infrastructure (CI) market has grown exponentially over the last few years, and as organizations look for even simpler and more adaptable IT systems, HCI is a natural evolution for next-gen data center strategies.

A November 2016 report from IDG states HCI platforms will account for about 60 percent of server, storage and network deployments by 2020. Gartner predicted last year that by 2019 about 30 percent of global storage capacity in enterprise data centers will be done through HCI and software-defined storage architectures. And by 2020 about 70 percent of all storage management functions will be automated and integrated into the infrastructure platform.

These numbers make sense considering that organizations are finding their IT needs are continually changing. HCI is both highly integrated and automated, while still being relatively simple to deploy and manage, making it an ideal flexible platform for dynamic environments.

Simplicity and Flexibility

Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra said, “simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability.”

NetApp’s HCI solution follows this mantra. Knowing that one of the biggest challenges for anyone managing infrastructure is delivering predictable performance, especially in a rapidly changing IT landscape, the HCI platform can eliminate more than 90 percent of storage related trouble tickets through guaranteed Q0S.

Early iterations of HCI technology have worked for smaller-scale projects, but there were always limits on scaling up and handling mixed workloads, increasing automation and providing more configuration flexibility.

But unlike the previous generation of HCI, NetApp’s version scales compute and storage independently (and without caveats), which helps eliminate over-provisioning and simplifies capacity and performance planning. And you can mix-and-match storage and compute configurations of any size, which provides organizations the ability to flexibly scale up or down.

Freedom in Automation

One of the key values of NetApp HCI is its automation capability, which frees up IT staff to work on innovation and eliminate the risk of user error when deploying and managing IT infrastructure.

The new NetApp Deployment Engine (NDE) eliminates most manual steps for deploying IT infrastructure, and the VMware vCenter Plug-in makes ongoing management intuitive and straightforward. Using NDE, users can expect NetApp HCI to be up and running in less than an hour.

This means savings in your IT budget that could be allocated to bigger, more important projects. Simplifying and automating IT management through NetApp’s HCI platform can cut operational costs by up to 67 percent.

NetApp HCI can help organizations cut costs, reduce operational errors and increase the flexibility of their infrastructure, while freeing up IT staff to take on more innovative and forward-thinking projects. If performance, guaranteed QoS, and scalability are among your key criteria when selecting an HCI platform, then NetApp HCI should be at the top of your list.


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