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Enabling Converged Infrastructure through Operational Management – An example with Hitachi

In 2013 the converged infrastructure market is estimated to achieve $8 Billion in revenue. This doesn’t sound to shabby except when you look at the expected revenue for general infrastructure, which is $114 Billion. Despite this large disparity today the converged infrastructure market is expected to grow at over 50% over the next three years, while general-purpose Infrastructure is only expected to grow at 1.2%. Few markets offer an opportunity for such high growth rates, thus it is not surprising that several hardware vendors are approaching this market quite aggressively.

Achieving success in this market will not just be about providing great hardware. This was made apparent in an IDC study on converged systems in 2012. In survey they conducted they asked both people using converged infrastructure and those who were aware of converged infrastructure the following question.

     What do you see as the top 2 major benefits to converged systems?

The top answer from both groups, with nearly 50% including it was as follows.

     Fewer management tools and Improved IT staff efficiency.

What this survey data tells us is that vendors need to have a serious focus on Management if they want to be successful. Hitachi Data Systems is one company that really understands this need and is executing on it. Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) Pro provides powerful infrastructure and they have partnered with VMware to create integrated management solutions. Hitachi has integrated their UCP Pro offering in two significant ways thus far.

First they have integrated with VMware vSphere to provide an easy to use interface to manage resource configuration and deployment. Through their UCP Director vSphere plugin one can see how each aspect of the converged infrastructure platforms components are configured and make any appropriate adjustments. You can also deploy additional resources, such as a new ESX host complete with a datastore, in a quick and simple manner (check out this quick demo)

What makes Hitachi’s approach  impressive is that they have chosen to aggregate operational data from each of the converged platform components. Having this single source of data greatly simplifies the complexity of the integration, but more importantly it helps drive a user interface design that truly reflects the converged nature of the platform. This approach to integration hits right at the core of the expected benefit of converged infrastructure.

The second integration is between Hitachi’s UCP Director and VMware vCenter Operations Manager. The vCenter Operations management pack for UCP Director will address the expected converged benefit by providing the operational insights needed. Using vCenter Operations Manager with the data from UCP Pro IT staff will be able find and address operational issues, as well as identify options to maximize the efficiency of the platform.

By leveraging vCenter Operations rich data visualization options operators can see actionable data in a way that is easiest for them to consume. This will allow converged infrastructure admins to view the operational data for the whole converged platform in a single, high level view to quickly identify areas of focus. The ability to look at data across domains enables IT staff to significantly reduce the time to identify problems.

When there is a need to drill down into a specific domain, the patented analytics of vCenter Operations manager can provide deep insights into each domain. This allows IT staff to use a single tool to cover the entire converged infrastructure platform.

The combination of Hitachi’s UCP Director and vCenter Operations Management Pack for UCP Director allow converged infrastructure IT staff to operate much more efficiently. They will be able to use just one integrated management tool where historically as many as seven would have been needed. Hitachi is a perfect example of how converged infrastructure vendors should be approaching customer’s expectations for management tooling.

Visit the HDS Converged Community to learn more about this technology.

Market data and survey information from IDC study: Worldwide Converged Systems 2012–2016 Forecast



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