Enterprise IT has been shifting focus over the last five to ten years. Trends such as big data, mobility, cloud computing, and the consumerization of IT have led to rampant growth inside the data center. Demand for IT infrastructure has been at an all-time high with no signs of slowing down. In order to fulfill these needs, the IT organization has fundamentally changed. Technologies like virtualization grew from 5% of data center resources1 in 2005 to more than 70% in 2015.2 During this same time frame, many companies began to look to the cloud as a way to scale quickly and easily, but this creates a new set of challenges. To meet the demands, enterprise IT departments have begun to adopt a private cloud model to simplify deployments. They have implemented infrastructure that is more scalable and agile, but also less complex. One of easiest ways to achieve all of these results is by using converged infrastructure.
IT departments adopt converged infrastructure to address specific challenges facing them. One of the most common reasons is agility or flexibility. Modular infrastructure building blocks, such as Dell’s PowerEdge, allow companies to rapidly scale resources when needed, rather than over-purchasing in the beginning. As converged infrastructure solutions begin to evolve, IT departments can expect more building block options. Today, modules are either servers or storage. In the future, it will be possible to add things like GPU blocks, RAM blocks, and networking blocks. This granularity in building blocks will allow converged infrastructure solutions to adapt to nearly every workload profile.
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IT departments are looking to build private cloud environments to deliver customer environments quicker with automation of system provisioning and configuration. With IDC predicting private cloud infrastructure will grow from $12.3 billion in 2012 to more than $22.2 billion in 20173, it is clear the need for management and orchestration is paramount. The future of private cloud is about the software used to control the underlying converged infrastructure. Software, like OpenManage Essentials from Dell, is a key differentiator of the private cloud. Software must support bare metal orchestration, native container support, and the ability to move workloads between private and public cloud environment seamlessly. The true hybrid cloud, with the flexibility of choice, is enabled by software defined infrastructure.
Software-defined storage helped create a new type of converged infrastructure often called hyperconverged. Networking, while included in converged infrastructure, has largely remained unchanged by it. Driven by the need for agility and scalability, software-defined networking will become a core component of converged and hyperconverged infrastructure. This will enable networking to become as flexible as storage and compute. While the implementation of SDN is complex today, we can expect this to become easier as products mature. By having the whole stack flexible and scalable, IT can provide customers the rapid, elastic, and cost-effective response they desire.
Converged infrastructure enabled a new way for IT departments to allocate and consume resources. It is no longer effective to manage infrastructure with legacy management tools for servers, storage and work. Private clouds, enabled by software and hardware agility, will continue to be an area of investment for organizations. Platforms that support open, heterogeneous and dynamic environments are the future. When choosing a platform today, make sure you keep tomorrow in mind. By using a full stack partner like Dell, converged infrastructure can be future-proofed against tomorrow today.
1 “Intel, AMD Redesign Chips for Faster Servers,” InformationWeek, July 2007
2 “Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure,” Gartner, July 2, 2014
3 “Worldwide Private Cloud IT Infrastructure 2013-2017 Forecast,” MarketResearch.com, April 14, 2013