In today’s 24/7/365 business environment, ensuring that systems, applications and data are always available has become a top priority for IT organizations. But there is little doubt that, while availability is a big concern in nearly all IT workloads, some operations are exceptionally demanding when it comes to delivering high availability.
Online transaction processing, e-commerce, ERP and virtual desktop infrastructure are just a few of the workloads that, by definition, can be categorized as high availability. If those workloads are offline or otherwise unavailable—even if just for minutes—the organization could face dramatic decays in employee productivity, end-user satisfaction and financial performance. These and other high-availability workloads demand an unqualified blend of high performance, reliable scalability and simplified management in order to meet business needs, which puts tremendous pressure on IT organizations to run those workloads on the right infrastructure.
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Choosing the right infrastructure for these workloads requires just the right mix of powerful technology, sophisticated management and affordability to ensure a future-proofed solution for high availability. It’s vitally important that organizations put in place a long-term strategy to support those workloads, rather than continue to react on the fly to new and rapidly changing business conditions in an ad hoc manner simply to keep up. In many cases, organizations are gravitating toward converged infrastructure to deliver the unique combination of performance, scalability and management necessary for high-availability workloads, while also meeting the need for affordable solutions that take up less physical space and consume less power.
Making smart infrastructure choices for high-availability workloads means studying those workload requirements through three lens filters:
Performance. The biggest performance issue faced in high-availability workloads is failover. When inevitable service disruptions take place and fault conditions occur, organizations simply can’t afford to have their critical ERP production systems unavailable. That means IT organizations need infrastructure that allows them to automatically move those workloads to failover server nodes in order to avoid performance degradation for end users, or even a complete lack of availability.
Scalability. It’s getting harder and harder for organizations to predict service levels required in high-availability workloads such as e-commerce or OLTP. For instance, if an online retailer is fortunate enough to experience a sudden spike in demand, that retailer needs to know that it can spin up more servers or increase storage capacity on a dime without affecting contracted service levels. This scale-out capability requires a highly flexible architecture that easily and quickly adds server nodes to an existing cluster. Scale-out requirements tend to be a good fit for converged infrastructure because storage and compute infrastructure scales proportionately to the increase in demand.
Management. When business conditions change or service demands shift, it’s essential that systems have flexible, adaptable management tools that automatically adjust performance levels, move workloads to different servers when necessary and handle real-time replication. Today’s converged infrastructure solutions, like the Dell PowerEdge™, come with a choice of familiar management options that give IT organizations the choice of managing high-availability workloads in either rack or blade configurations, as appropriate.
Dell PowerEdge: An Ideal Platform for High-Availability Workloads
Dell’s new PowerEdge platform uses a tightly integrated infrastructure design that lends itself well to high-availability workloads. The PowerEdge solution improves availability by utilizing very dense server and storage modules that result in smaller failure domains. By bringing more storage closer to the compute function than any other modular architecture, PowerEdge ensures high availability for even the most demanding workloads.
PowerEdge allows IT organizations to select the most appropriate systems management platform, such as the CMC chassis-based management tool or the rack-based iDRAC8 management platform. This management flexibility helps significantly reduce manual IT intervention often required by competing systems to ensure high availability, especially as business conditions demand increased scalability.
High-availability workloads are supported by PowerEdge through high-density server modules, which provide more memory slots and additional processors in a slim 2U form factor. Since each workload has its own unique characteristics and performance/scalability requirements, PowerEdge systems include high-density storage modules that enable IT organizations to mix and match the ideal ratios of compute and storage to different workload demands.
Whether those workloads are deployed in traditional data center environments, private clouds or hybrid environments, Dell’s converged infrastructure solutions will help organizations reduce the power and physical space required, while delivering high-end performance and scalability in an affordable package. Using a single, consistent integrated architecture across the enterprise allows organizations to manage the full array of resources through a single pane of glass, and PowerEdge modular design can easily evolve as workload requirements change over time.