Remote offices, branch offices and small businesses have dramatically stepped up their adoption of new technology to help them run everything from typical business applications to cutting-edge solutions that differentiate their organizations. But that rapid run-up in new technology deployments has often come with a cost: increased infrastructure complexity that has become harder and more expensive to manage.
In the fast-growing remote office/branch office (ROBO) segment, greater utilization of technology has typically been deployed over time as a series of new systems, often dedicated to unique applications and workloads. The installation that probably began with a single server and associated storage, networking and cabling infrastructure grew over time to multiple systems, multiplying the number of boxes to be monitored, managed and maintained by employees who are often overworked and understaffed.
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This increasing infrastructure complexity takes many forms, including:
A sprawling array of servers—some of which are connected to each other, but many of which are operating independent of each other.
Rapid expansion in storage infrastructure, often installed through a combination of internal and external solutions, including purpose-built appliances, network-attached storage and storage-area networks.
A maze of cabling and infrastructure racks, putting pressure on IT departments to come up with better management schemes and new ways to deal with physical space constraints as systems sprawl.
Spiraling power and cooling requirements to deal with expanding infrastructure points.
Multiple, overlapping systems management tools, often dedicated to different infrastructure solutions.
Challenges in servicing and scaling more and more servers, storage and networking equipment.
While IT professionals supporting ROBO and small business requirements have often struggled to deal with this dramatic increase in infrastructure complexity, many are now turning to a new breed of ROBO-oriented converged infrastructure solutions. Converged infrastructure often is an ideal solution for environments operating outside traditional enterprise data centers because they dramatically reduce the number of servers, storage, networking, cabling and power solutions required in fast-growing organizations running crucial workloads.
The increased density of converged infrastructure means that ROBOs and small businesses can deploy high-performance yet affordable solutions nearly anywhere due to their small footprint. But even more important, converged infrastructure—particularly those converged solutions purpose-built for ROBO environments—dramatically reduces infrastructure complexity that would normally take up so much time, effort and budget as technology investments pick up pace.
One option gaining considerable market momentum for its ability to help reduce complexity is Dell’s PowerEdge, a converged solution optimized for ROBO and small-business environments. By consolidating servers, storage, networking and management, PowerEdge improves IT efficiency, reduces rigidity and results in a simpler, cleaner approach to infrastructure management. PowerEdge solutions are integrated, pre-tested and certified to run out of the box, alleviating the traditional deployment heads of installing new systems.
PowerEdge’s compact chassis allows for high-density infrastructure that not only can be housed nearly anywhere in an organization, but also delivers enterprise-class performance at affordable price points. In fact, a third-party study that compared PowerEdge with a legacy infrastructure solution composed of multiple servers found that it delivered a lower total cost of ownership than the multi-server solution—and with improved performance.1
A key feature in PowerEdge is its ability to easily support various virtual infrastructure models, including server, storage, network and desktop virtualization. This is increasingly important for small-business environments that are hard-pressed to allocate enough IT manpower and budget to meet their growing needs. In fact, a recent study conducted by The Blackstone Group noted that about 65% of businesses with between 50 to 100 employees were utilizing virtualization.2
Another important way that ROBO environments can simplify their infrastructure through PowerEdge is a dramatic reduction in cabling. Typically, as more systems and other infrastructure are added in a growing organization, there are more and more cables snaking their way around desks, through walls and into ceilings. Instead of requiring more than two-dozen cables for a typical multi-server installation, a four-node server needs only four cables for full redundancy and high availability. By eliminating all the extra cabling to support multiple servers, external storage, network appliances and multiple power supplies, PowerEdge users can dramatically reduce complexity, improve system resiliency and trim costs.
In a dense, highly compact 5U form factor, PowerEdge represents a unique way to future-proof and simplify infrastructure requirements for ROBOs and small businesses that need enterprise-class performance at affordable price points.
1“Comparing Performance and Cost: Dell PowerEdge VRTX vs. Legacy Hardware Solution,” Principled Technologies, July 2013
2 “Small Business Adoption of Virtualization on the Rise,” eWeek, Nov. 1, 2013