Converged infrastructure has not disappeared, nor is it declining in market acceptance. It is still very much alive! Although converged infrastructure isn’t seen as often in news releases, we are continually being bombarded by new definitions of the same thing or slight variations that are more specific. Today we have had our focus pulled to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), software defined infrastructure (SDI), and even composable infrastructure as attention grabbers that make it seem like we have moved past CI. But hold on, we haven’t.
To differentiate between all your choices, it is important to understand what converged infrastructure is all about and how these new entries are merely providing more options within CI rather than replacing it. To begin with, throw out the very specific definition of CI as a packaged hardware solution that provides compute, storage and networking in the same box. It is just a layer of enterprise architecture in which CI has a much broader role. Enterprise architectures are the building blocks for every organization that we work with and that our partners call upon. And, yes, Arrow also has these same building blocks.
This diagram provides a view of
enterprise architectures where a company’s business architecture sits at the top and establishes both the strategies and objectives of the company, as well as its business processes. Just underneath, you will find the information architecture that supports the direction and process with information systems like ERM and CRM; and the data architecture where core systems like Oracle or Dbase are maintained. Both areas are used to provide data for decision-making at the company. The base of the enterprise architectures is the infrastructure architecture (notice the word “infrastructure”) where our tools, applications and the hardware they run on are accessed and managed.
It’s pretty simple. When we say, “converged infrastructure,” we are talking about ways to bring together the access, support and management of the infrastructure of a company. Its structure can be composed of appliances, individual servers, storage systems (from tape drives to the latest in 3D negative and/or flash technologies) and networking, as well as many other things. But the overarching desire of any enterprise is to reduce its complexity and simplify its control and management – in other words, reduce its cost!
A World of Choices
There is a wide selection of CI choices in this area between appliances and software, between HCI and SDI ‒ where enterprises can mix and match to meet their CAPEX or OPEX requirements. Some companies favor appliances that are pre-built systems housing a combination of server, storage and networking. Others favor software defined solutions that leverage what they already have and just add a management layer to better control and support what is there. Nearly all of them rely in some capacity on virtualization of the resources to make anything connect and work with the other decisions they have made.
There is also a new entry in the world of CI around composability where the systems literally can be constructed to meet the business’s needs with an easy ability to add compute, storage or networking resources rather than buying another box. In this type of offering, the rules of buying something from a supplier and then making your business run on it are reversed. An enterprise of any size can buy what they need and compose (with software) the way the system works to best support their unique business needs.
By the way, this enterprise architecture view of CI works across a disaggregated data center where some infrastructure is on premises at an enterprise, at a co-location center or at a service provider; or it may be in the cloud like at Amazon, Google or with Microsoft Azure. The same rules apply. Pick the best solutions for your business, choose where best to have them located and then connect all the infrastructure resources through software to ease management and decrease overall costs.
So, is CI and its associated solutions from HCI to SDI and composability a hit or just hype? Although we spend time renaming and reinventing terms for things that help converge or bring together an Enterprise’s infrastructure architecture, we can’t discount the effect that they are having. They reduce costs, manage requirements more effectively, increase efficiencies, and move enterprises or companies forward in offering services of value to customers. Here at Arrow, we call that a HIT!
OK, So Does All This Really Matter? Yes!
Arrow offers a full range of appliance-to-software defined CI offerings from a myriad of suppliers. Arrow also offers integration services that can assist any partner and customer in developing their own version of what they want to define as CI. And we offer systems integration, consulting services and software development capabilities to augment our partners’ offerings inclusive of Dev/Ops resources. Additionally, Arrow is the leading distributor of virtualization software at the heart of it all.
Working together, Arrow can help our partners address the real question – “Can you help my Enterprise IT organization…”
- Consistently manage new and existing technology
- Ensure performance and up-time
- Make sure data is actionable and secure
- Pick the lowest-cost implementation that achieves all three
If you would like more information on converged infrastructure solutions for your company, please contact your Arrow representative.
Last modified: March 27, 2019