Reducing IT complexity has become a mandate for companies in all industries. IT departments must eliminate the information and application silos common to legacy data centers if they hope to deliver on the cost savings and business agility required to compete in today’s business environment. In addition, modern IT infrastructures must be simple to deploy and manage, using automation and software-defined models to accelerate the shift to cloud computing and service-oriented IT.
Companies can save significant dollars and improve profitability by getting IT complexity under control. IDC developed an economic model describing the benefits of reducing IT complexity: Companies in the study were able to realize annual savings of more than $3,600 per user with simplification initiatives.1
Reducing complexity is not just about cost savings. As noted by IDC: “The strategic nature of IT to the enterprise and its reliance on business applications complexity can lead to reduced enterprise agility and innovation, reduced customer and user satisfaction and productivity, and increased competitive disadvantage.”2
Converged solutions leverage the benefits of virtualization to reduce IT complexity. By extending virtualization from servers to also encompass storage and networking, IT teams can utilize software-defined models that reduce complexity though increased automation and orchestration across the entire infrastructure.
Converged and hyper-converged infrastructures provide organizations with the opportunity to embrace a “building block” approach toward evolving to the software-defined data center (SDDC). With a converged or hyper-converged infrastructure, the compute, networking and storage resources are abstracted and managed centrally through a unified management platform, which is basically the SDDC model in a preintegrated, prevalidated package.
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One of the myths about converged systems is that they are more expensive than buying each component piecemeal. Just looking at the upfront capital expenditure is a very narrow way of looking at costs, which doesn’t take into account several of the important benefits of convergence, including reduced complexity, faster time to market, increased productivity and greater business efficiencies.
When viewed as a whole, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of converged infrastructure is typically lower than traditional infrastructure models. A Forrester Research Total Economic Impact™ study of the VCE Vblock converged infrastructure solution from Dell and EMC, explores both the business benefits and cost savings of the converged model. Some of the key benefits include:3
Improved application developer productivity: IT teams participating in the study were able to shift their focus to application delivery and were better able to ensure they were meeting business needs and requirements, including rapid provisioning and performance improvements. Development teams also benefitted from improved system performance and reduced provisioning time.
Infrastructure cost savings: Organizations reduced Capex purchases of required physical servers and also lowered facility costs by deploying the VCE converged infrastructure. Self-provisioning benefits of the solution reduced systems administration costs associated with managing infrastructure and maintaining Web servers, middleware software and systems. Self-service capabilities and faster provisioning of infrastructure resources enhanced the cost savings.
IT operational efficiencies: Organizations that invested in the VCE converged infrastructure experienced a much simpler way for IT operations, including developers, to consume resources. Prior to investment, organizations claimed they had highly complex and constrained data centers that they managed in silos.
Business productivity: With the converged solution, organizations were able to meet their business requirements quickly, reducing the need to look for external resources. According to Forrester, business users benefitted from having more reliable applications and reduced downtime. They were also able to get new applications and projects to market faster.
Security and compliance: The VCE converged infrastructure made it easier and more reliable to use internal IT services, leading business users to adopt private cloud resources before looking externally. This helped organizations maintain greater control over sensitive data, resulting in reduced security and compliance breaches.
Managing change is always a difficult challenge for IT departments. In today’s era, however, change is inevitable. By taking a building block approach with converged infrastructure, IT teams have the opportunity to effect change simply, while also reducing overall IT complexity and TCO.
1“Simplifying IT to Drive Better Business Outcomes and Improved ROI: Introducing the IT Complexity Index,” IDC, June 2014
2 Ibid footnote 1
3“A Practical Guide for Evaluating the Value of VCE Converged Infrastructure for Data Center Modernization,” Forrester Research, March 2016