As organizations look to evolve from legacy compute models, IT decision makers are finding that it is important to seek solutions that maximize efficiency and choice at any scale, with consistency across the infrastructure to simplify IT operations, reduce complexity and lower costs.
Converged infrastructures can minimize complexities and optimize resource consumption by providing tailored and scalable building-block solutions aimed at addressing the needs of specific workloads and applications.
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But not all converged infrastructure solutions are created equal—particularly when it comes to the management platforms and tools that are necessary to meet IT’s challenges in supporting the demands of next-generation applications.
There are several basic characteristics to look for in infrastructure management. You want to work with a provider of end-to-end solutions so there is consistency in approach, tools and training. You also want to work with a provider that supports open computing models so that you are not locked into proprietary architectures that limit choice and stifle innovation.
Beyond those basics, we suggest that there are at least three other important characteristics to look for in order to optimize operational effectiveness:
Here’s a look at why each of these is important, and how innovative architectural approaches by Dell are enabling IT departments to achieve breakthrough results in optimizing operational effectiveness:
As virtualization and cloud computing continue to proliferate, IT organizations need to rely on automated processes to reduce the time it takes to perform a wide range of functions, from provisioning to updating, to providing ongoing management. The need for increased automation becomes even more important in converged infrastructures when servers, storage and networks are ideally managed from a centralized location.
As an example, by using Zero-Touch Auto Configuration, a feature of the integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) in PowerEdge servers, IT can eliminate 213 steps involved in provisioning, according to research from Principled Technologies. Zero-Touch Configuration, when active, deploys a baseline server configuration defined by IT, once the new server is plugged in and cabled to the network. A similar technology, Server Configuration Management, eliminates complexity by automating ongoing updates and configuration changes. Both of these technologies are based on the agent-free iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller and can dramatically improve staff efficiency.
Dell’s approach is to drive intelligent automation everywhere, and in the PowerEdge that starts with the iDRAC8 with Lifecycle Controller embedded in each compute block. Its agent-free management means there is no dependence on a hypervisor or operating system already having been installed in order to start deploying and managing this system.
Automation is one step toward simplification in provisioning and managing infrastructure. You can further simplify deployments by not having an excessive number of tools but instead using tools designed to work for you; tools that are familiar, consistent and full-featured, and tools that fit your IT environment and methods.
Using such tools means spending less time learning, which can lead to enhanced productivity. With the Dell PowerEdge architecture, IT organizations can leverage past experience with the Dell OpenManage portfolio and maintain the benefits of agent-free management across PowerEdge servers. In addition, the platform offers IT administrators more choice and systems management capabilities, regardless of the methods or tools they prefer using.
For example, users have the option of managing systems as they would with rack servers, using the iDRAC8 with Lifecycle Controller, or to manage the servers and chassis collectively using the platform’s embedded Chassis Management Controller, an embedded server management component. These options enable IT administrators to more readily integrate their existing management process.
One of the clearest advantages of using a converged infrastructure platform is the ability to tailor the resources to match the requirements of your workloads and applications. This way you don’t have to overprovision resources, and you can scale modularly as your requirements change.
The Dell PowerEdge architecture is designed to accommodate different-sized blocks of IT resources: servers feature different processors, memory sizes, internal I/O and internal storage; storage features different amounts and types of drives; the chassis provides shared PCI slots, networking, cooling and power for the servers and storage it houses.
Dell solutions further help to optimize resources by using the latest advances in energy efficiency, density and management capabilities, delivering more computing cycles using less power, leading to improved optimization and lower total cost of ownership.
IT infrastructures have to evolve to address the changing requirements of the business. They have to be faster, more agile, more easily scalable and cost-efficient. Converged infrastructures provide a path toward enabling the capabilities of the next-generation data center—but in order to truly optimize operational efficiencies, the converged infrastructure platform must deliver enterprise-ready management. This means an open, end-to-end platform that delivers innovation in automation, simplification and resource optimization.