It’s official, converged infrastructure is the next big thing. Once again, the pace of innovation in the tech industry is driving some CIOs wild with excitement and scaring the bejesus out of others. Is CI the solution whose time has come or a complete, expensive overhaul of an enterprise’s IT architecture?
When startup SimpliVity announced last month that it had secured $175 million in funding to bring its converged infrastructure products to market, the company’s valuation notched up to over $1 billion. Meanwhile, CI startup Nutanix has grown into a shop with a valuation of over $2 billion.
Both seem to have convinced the investment community that they can go toe-to-toe with VCE, who pioneered the idea that siloed, sprawling data centres could be replaced with integrated, virtualized storage, computing and networking systems. This was back in 2009, combining EMC storage, Cisco servers and VMware cloud and virtualization software. Their solution is arguably the best in the business at allowing enterprises to share their IT resources across multiple applications and lines of business, scaling effortlessly according to demands.
The business case is clear. As IT teams have assembled a collection of hardware and software products from specialist vendors, their operating costs have continued to increase. Depending on the complexity of the architecture, operating and maintaining a collage of resources can chew up to two-thirds of the IT budget. That leaves only a third for new business initiatives, for deploying innovation.
With the load that a company’s big data and mobilization plans will continue to place on data centres, more power is going to be needed to meet existing needs and the more ambitious ones around the corner.
It’s time to consider convergence, hardware and software systems built from the ground up by a single vendor, designed to work together and optimized for performance.
And there’s the rub: a single vendor. Which one do you want to climb into bed with? Startups SimpliVity or Nutanix, or leaders like VCE, HP Enterprise Solutions or Oracle, who offer complete CI packages.
You have another choice. Converging is not necessarily a rip-and-replace, “all in” kind of proposition. You can potentially keep your preferred vendor and take a staged convergence approach, gradually consolidating and automating your existing architecture.
The decision to converge is not for the faint of heart. Only those CIOs who possess a clear corporate strategy and correlating IT roadmap can put together a business case for modernizing their company’s system. Only a strategic CIO can imagine how their resources can be re-allocated from maintenance to delivering innovation.
Have you considered a converged infrastructure? With trepidation or excitement?