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Not long ago, travel involved hauling a plethora of electronic devices with you. In-car navigation? Check. Cell phone? Check. MP3 player? Check. Camera? Check. Laptop? Check. I invested in a cord storage product to make sure my luggage wasn’t a tangled mess of charging cables whenever I arrived. Updating these devices was cumbersome and time consuming, but if I didn’t, I might find my nav telling me to drive into a lake. Finally, if anything broke, I had five different vendors I might have to speak with to resolve support requests.

These days, I only pack one device: my iPhone. All of the capabilities that required specialized hardware solutions are now performed by apps running on a mini-computer in my pocket, and each app provides an even better experience than I had with the purpose-built solution of yesteryear. I can even toss the DSLR camera due to Portrait mode, enabling me to take professional photos with a tap of the screen.

IT Is Living in 2007 – Purpose Built Everything ­– And Paying the Price

IT is in a similar situation; infrastructure has been acquired slowly over time from multiple vendors and kept past it’s useful life. The results of this proliferation and retention has had a profound impact on IT operations and cost:

  • IT needs to respond faster to business needs: In a recent survey of IT decision makers, their top two goals were to respond faster to business needs and lower costs2. But…
  • Maintaining legacy systems has consumed increasing amounts of budget: a Gartner study found that 81% of healthcare IT budgets are spent maintaining infrastructure alone1.
  • Up to 45% of a typical admin’s time spent on routine, highly manual tasks3

Consolidate Workloads – Hyperconverged Infrastructure Offers Agile, Cost Effective, General-Purpose Infrastructure

Hyperconverged infrastructure includes compute virtualization, storage virtualization and unified management running on industry-standard x86 servers. All core data services – deduplication, compression, encryption, fault tolerance, and more – are delivered by software embedded in the hypervisor.

Hyperconverged infrastructure uses software to increase IT agility through simplified, highly automated operations. For instance, gone are the days of LUN creation. Instead, admins define storage needs at the VM or VMDK level with descriptive policies, and the software implements and ensures compliance with the policy.

HCI runs on industry-standard x86 servers and utilizes a scale out architecture, which reduces capital expenditures. To get more resources, users can add more drives to existing nodes to increase storage or add both compute and storage resources by adding nodes to a cluster.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure is used for a broad set of use cases today. A recent survey of VMware vSAN users highlights the various ways customers are using HCI in their data centers.

Consolidate Workloads

Cost Reductions Accelerate with Increased HCI Adoption

Hyperconverged infrastructure reduces storage costs – both CAPEX and OPEX – when used in place of traditional three tier architecture. These savings result from the following characteristics:

Consolidate Workloads

However, adopting HCI for multiple use cases has shown to be even more impactful to the bottom line. A recent study by IDC has shown that vSAN users that deployed more than one vSAN cluster experienced significantly greater cost savings:

  • Over 40% of users with more than one cluster experienced >50% TCO savings
  • Only 20% of users with a single cluster experienced >50% TCO savings
Consolidate Workloads

 

Importantly, IDC noted:

  • TCO gains tend to be higher within larger organizations, which tells us that larger organizations are deploying vSAN within environments that affect a considerable portion of the organization.
  • TCO gains tend to be far higher for those that have deployed multiple vSAN clusters, which should be seen as a clear indication that customers deploying VMware vSAN in small/targeted environments may be missing out on its full potential.

 

Business Velocity Increases with Workload Consolidation on  HCI

At the same time, as organizations increase their HCI footprint, they can accelerate their responsiveness to business needs. Here’s the story of At Home Co. Ltd., a real estate information services company based in Japan:

At Home Co. was experiencing increasing storage costs – both installation and operationally – as their virtual infrastructure footprint grew. After a server refresh, they discovered that in order to take advantage of their new capabilities, the storage would also require a refresh – an expensive, time consuming proposition that was not worthwhile. Hideo Miyanohara, a Team Leader on the Infrastructure Design Team, felt hyperconverged infrastructure could be a fit, but was concerned about performance and stability. To test HCI, he established a three-node cluster in a test environment. After a rigorous battery of tests, they found their concerns were unfounded, and expanded the cluster twice over the next year, and now HCI powers twenty percent of their virtual machines, and they plan on migrating more over time. As to how HCI increases agility, Mr. Miyanohara adds:

“When building shared storage, it took several months to progress from the gathering of information to design, estimates, and actual implementation…however, with vSAN, simply procuring a server machine is the same as procuring storage, and therefore the transfer of actual operations doesn’t take that much time…

 

Next Steps

To learn more about how consolidating infrastructure can accelerate your business and lower your infrastructure costs, read the eBook

To get an in-depth overview of vSAN, visit the website.

To learn more about the technology powering VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure, visit StorageHub.

 

1 Gartner, IT Key Metrics Data 2015: Key Industry Measures: Healthcare Providers Analysis: Multiyear, December 2014

2 451 Research, Servers and Converged Infrastructure: Vendor Evaluations. 2017

3 Source: IDC November 2016 HCI Adoption Trends, Use Cases & Market Growth Report Series