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FCW : November and December 2014
37 > lend themselves to maintaining an efficient, on-premises environment.” New Converged Solutions The market for converged infrastructure solutions has matured to the point that organizations of all sizes now have viable choices. For example, VCE Vblock System portfolio of pre-integrated options includes the Vblock System 100 and 200, each with computing, networking and storage components tailored for smaller organizations and branch offices. For larger implementations, the Vblock 700 series provides higher levels of performance and scalability for critical applications within large enterprises. In addition, a growing trend for VCE and other providers is to offer special- purchase converged solutions, such as the VCE Specialized System for SAP HANA and the Vblock Specialized System for High Performance Databases. HP recently unveiled its HP Converged System portfolio, with configurations optimized for virtualization, cloud and Big Data uses. The company also delivers solutions for midsized organizations, such as the HP Converged System 300 for Virtualization, which supports 50 to 300 virtual machines, as well as the HP Converged System 700 for larger enterprises that require 100 to 1 ,000-plus VMs. These solutions support multiple virtualization technologies, including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, open-source KVM and HP Integrity virtual machines. “ We find that more than 70 percent of the enterprises we see use multiple hypervisors in their environments,” Campbell says. Blueprints for Virtualization Success The other converged infrastructure option — a reference architecture — provides the same benefits as preconfigured systems. Among the reference architecture options on the market is the Cisco Validated Design are prompting CIOs to seriously consider what these solutions can do for their IT operations. “ In the early days, people would ask, ‘ Why would we want to go down this path?’ Now, they’re saying, ‘ S how me how this will accelerate our time to market, reduce risk and help us simplify our data center?’ ” says John Lockyer, chief technology officer for the Americas at VCE, a company forged by Cisco and EMC, with investments from VMware and Intel, that creates converged infrastructure products. To find answers to these questions, CIOs have only to look at the latest technologies and best practices for converged infrastructure success. Align IT with Operational Requirements IT managers adopt converged infrastruc tures using two main implementation models. The first relies on preconfigured solutions that package together servers, storage, networking, virtualization software and management tools. Because the systems use standardized designs, vendors can deliver them within weeks of an order and IT managers can launch resources within days of delivery. If problems arise after deployment, IT administrators can contact a single support organization to handle each technology component. Patches and ongoing technology updates are also handled centrally by a single vendor. The second option is a reference architecture, which provides a blueprint for assembling components certified for compatibility as a converged solution. The detailed guidelines identify specific models of components and document how everything should be integrated for best results. IT managers can choose to do the work in-house or work with a third-party that handles the acquisition and implementation tasks. The growing urge to converge is being fueled by a combination of technical and organization benefits. In the Enterprise Strategy Group survey, the top reason IT managers cited for moving to this infrastruc ture approach was a desire to reduce total cost of ownership within IT. A drive to reduce IT management headaches came in a close second. “Because converged infrastructures simplify IT environments, they help to further align IT with the speed of the organization,” says Duncan Campbell, vice president of worldwide marketing for HP’s Converged Infrastructure Solutions. Converged infrastructures also complement cloud strategies. In some cases, IT managers may see cost and flexibility benefits from third-party Infrastructure-as-a -Service solutions for scalable computing power, storage capacity and other IT resources. But attaining similar returns with in-house platforms may be better for some applications. “ In a cloud environment, there are some tradeoffs related to network connectivity issues and the service-level agreements that public cloud providers are able to provide,” says Anil Desai, an independent IT consultant. “So, certain scenarios SOURCE: Enterprise Strategy Group PERCENTAGE OF I.T. PROFESSIONALS WHO PLAN TO IMPLEMENT A CONVERGED SYSTEM OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS 23% CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 36-39 GSO145298.indd 2 9/23/14 11:29 AM