For the past few years, the Cloud has been one of the fastest-growing technologies in the IT space, offering many benefits to organisations of all sizes. However, due to security concerns around the Public Cloud, many large enterprises have instead investigated the option of the Private Cloud.
This in itself has proved to be a challenging concept, as successful deployment of a Private Cloud requires the four main components – hardware, software, storage and networking – to work together seamlessly. Obtaining best of breed solutions in these four areas often requires a combination of technology from different vendors, which in turn requires a high level of skill and expertise to implement, integrate and support.
Converged infrastructure has arisen to address this challenge, offering a pre-engineered system that brings together best of breed solutions across the four key components into one single unit that can be seamlessly integrated into the IT environment. Converged infrastructure not only simplifies the deployment of the Private Cloud, it offers enterprises a number of additional benefits, and as such is gaining massive traction in the local market.
Converged infrastructure solutions combine servers, storage, software, networking and services into one package. This drives the concept of IT as a utility, enabling enterprises to acquire a ‘boxed’ solution from a single partner that delivers the best of breed technologies that are critical to the Private Cloud. These highly optimised IT systems offer pre-integrated resource functionality in a single solution, shipping with hardware infrastructure already optimised for use with servers, storage and networking systems. This enables more efficient deployment of virtualisation while at the same time reducing costs. Firmware updates are pre-tested on all IT resources, reducing the requirement for engineering resources and skills onsite, and procurement time can be reduced from weeks to a matter of days.
In addition, pre-integrated and optimised systems ensure efficient resource utilisation, further driving business value. Systems can be up and running in short order, and can be scaled quickly as workloads grow or new applications are added. This in turn drives greater agility and productivity. Converged infrastructure also provides a simplified path to integration, reducing the complexity of IT infrastructure, and delivers centralised management, monitoring and reporting.
On-going operational costs are thus reduced through simplified management and centralisation, and reduced requirements for in-house support can also dramatically reduce costs. In addition, because the converged infrastructure vendor or partner has invested significant time and effort on upfront integration and pre-engineering, the need for integration support is minimal. This means that return on investment can be improved, along with the benefit of fast and simplified implementation.
Many factors are driving the uptake of converged infrastructure. These include constant cost pressures on IT budgets, the increasing need for efficient IT solutions, and the growing need for enterprises to benefit from the Cloud, big data, mobility and collaboration solutions while curbing costs. As a result, this technology is seeing increased adoption globally, and South Africa is no different. Converged infrastructure solutions make Cloud deployment easier and faster, and enable virtualisation to be implemented more effectively. This in turn drives the ability to take up technologies around the other megatrends of big data, mobility and collaboration. At the same time, converged infrastructure increases business value and reduces risk, while providing a single point of contact during both implementation and support.
By enabling the delivery of technologies that assist with agility and more effective service to customers both internal and external, converged solutions are driving the all-important concept of zero distance – closing the gap between a business and all of its customers and transforming IT from a cost centre into a driver of real business value.
Roelof Louw, Senior Sales Consultant IT at T-Systems in South Africa