Over the last few years, IT departments have undergone a paradigm shift in response to how businesses seek to consume service offerings. More than ever before, customers demand the flexibility, ease of use and instant consumption promised by public cloud providers. Most IT departments do not have the resources to meet the new requirements placed upon them. This is due in large part to the new level of flexibility needed to respond to the ebbs and flows of the business. The IT department is taking lessons from public cloud providers and using them to meet this new demand in the form of a private cloud.
A private cloud environment offers on-demand self-service, allowing staff to request resources without interacting with the IT department. The dynamic allocation of resources in response to customer requests is a must, and the end goal is to provide a flexible and scalable pool of capacity abstracted from the customers’ view. But the challenge facing IT is that classic architectures do not support this level of elasticity, as the data center design has evolved to support separate piles of compute, storage and network resources.
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These resources exist largely as islands in the data center. They have little in the way of end-to-end visibility, and even less design for automation and self-service. These resources have been largely monolithic in nature, offering no rapid elasticity—the one exception to this has been compute resources that have been, for many IT departments, abstracted by the hypervisor. A new model is needed to meet the new demand of agility. Converged infrastructure is uniquely suited for private cloud operations.
Converged infrastructure is designed from the ground up to support virtualization and cloud computing. It also aims to solve the problems of rapid elasticity by abstracting most of the hardware stack and presenting a single unified pool of capacity. The design of converged infrastructure is modular, not unlike bricks in a wall: When a wall needs to expand, bricks are added and connected with minimal effort. The same is true of converged infrastructure when you need more storage; you just add more bricks. This is not a foreign concept for IT organizations, as the hypervisor has allowed for this type of growth of computing resources for years. Converged infrastructure brings that idea into all other aspects of the data center.
Wrapped around the entire converged infrastructure stack is a management toolkit with end-to-end visibility into resources. This reduces complexity for the IT department and allows for the easy monitoring of capacity. By reporting on capacity and being able to add it quickly, converged infrastructure enables IT to react to the ebbs and flows of the business. In addition to scalability, converged infrastructure enables the self-service aspect of the private cloud by offering a set of unified APIs for automation.
As IT seeks to be a trustworthy partner for the business, the need to embrace a private cloud model is paramount. Converged infrastructure solutions, like Dell PowerEdge, use modular building blocks to abstract underlying hardware. This design provides for the elasticity required for running a private cloud. This modularity extends into Dell Cloud Manager, which offers a single and complete view of private, public and hybrid cloud environments. In addition, it enables customers to provision resources using a self-service portal and creates a framework for automation. This allows IT departments to make efficient use of limited time and resources and embrace the new paradigm in how businesses consume services.