In today’s IT-driven business environment, organizations need every edge they can get, particularly in managing and deploying infrastructure and cloud resources. When the IT department can reduce costs, increase availability, enhance agility or improve productivity, it can make significant contributions to supporting innovation and driving profitability.
Converged infrastructures have emerged as an important technology in helping IT decision-makers simplify deployments and modernize their data centers as they transform from the silo-oriented architectures of the past to the software-defined data center (SDDC) model of the future.
In legacy data centers, with separate silos for compute, storage and networking, it is very challenging for IT administrators to get a centralized view of their infrastructure resources, let alone take coordinated action to address problems or seize opportunities.
Convergence, whether through converged infrastructures or hyperconverged infrastructures, changes that paradigm. IT administrators can not only achieve a centralized view of their entire infrastructure through a unified management platform, but also utilize that platform to gain actionable insights to improve availability, reduce operational costs, increase resource optimization and enhance IT productivity.
Research from Edison Group shows that organizations can reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and total cost of acquisition (TCA), as well as save time and money on installation and support, by leveraging a converged solution. For example, when compared with a build-your-own (BYO) system model, the Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged appliance allows organizations to reduce TCO by more than 30% and reduce TCA by 8.5%.1 In addition, the Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged appliance helps organizations reduce management complexity in the following ways:
Deployment: BYO takes 4.6 times longer to set up than VxRail.
Initial system initialization and configuration: BYO requires 96 more steps and takes approximately five hours longer than VxRail.
System expansion: BYO requires 73 more steps and takes more than two hours longer than VxRail. Also, the potential for operational errors with VxRail is reduced because operational tasks are simplified.
Organizations using converged infrastructures can expect to see similar types of efficiencies. Forrester Research has estimated that organizations using Dell EMC Vblock systems were able to save or avoid 20% of infrastructure costs related to servers, storage, networking and ongoing maintenance versus using a BYO solution. By automating processes associated with management and provisioning, those organizations were able to increase IT operating efficiencies by an additional 30%.2
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Leveraging advanced analytics tools
In addition to the inherent advantages in using converged infrastructure to reduce costs and modernize data center operations, IT teams can achieve further benefits by using advanced analytics tools in converged systems to modernize the management of their data centers. Analytics can be used to monitor energy consumption, the health status of IT resources, and optimization and efficiencies, among other value-added features.
As an example, Dell EMC Vblock Systems can leverage their own unified management platform, such as the Advanced Management Platform for Converged System management, in conjunction with VMware’s vCenter Operations Manager, Advanced Edition. IT administrators do not have to install or integrate these two management platforms; both can be factory installed.
With these integrated management solutions, IT administrators can achieve a holistic view of their entire infrastructure and use real-time analytics to make decisions related to compute, storage and networking resources to avoid problems before they result in downtime or slower performance. They can also use predictive analytics to understand resource utilization and when it may be time to upgrade portions of the infrastructure.
Centralized management using analytics in converged infrastructure solutions allows organizations to:
Manage the entire infrastructure with a unified view of the health, efficiency and status of virtual and physical domains. This not only helps to avoid problems, but also helps IT address them much more quickly when they do arise.
Identify capacity or provisioning issues to optimize the entire infrastructure for maximum utilization. This saves money in Capex and significantly improves IT operations.
Achieve proactive performance management across compute, storage and network functions. This ensures that business-critical applications and workloads are not negatively affected by infrastructure-related issues. By understanding just where problems are located—in the compute, storage or networking areas—IT teams can isolate and solve problems from a central location without worrying about the finger-pointing that can often take place in a more siloed data center environment.
Converged and hyperconverged infrastructures provide a new opportunity for IT teams to eliminate the expensive and inefficient silos typical of legacy data center environments. Converged systems modernize IT and, in many ways, serve as building blocks for the next-generation software-defined data center. One of the huge advantages offered by converged systems is unified management, which allows IT to manage, monitor and act upon all infrastructure resources from a centralized location.
In today’s environment, where organizations can leverage advanced analytics in real time, IT teams can now save costs, improve operations and reduce risk by using analytics to avoid problems before they occur and to maximize and optimize resources across the entire infrastructure. For IT teams looking to get an edge on the competition, converged systems are the ideal way to get started.
1 “Dell EMC VxRail Appliance Cost and Maintenance Advantages,” Edison Group, 2016
2 “A Practical Guide for Evaluating the Value of VCE Converged Infrastructure for Data Center Modernization,” Forrester Research, March 2016