Tag Archives: Hyperconverged

Hyperconverged Infrastructure: What Do Users Think?


Hyperconvergence burst onto the IT scene a few years ago and remains one of the hottest trends in IT today. Vendors promise greater efficiency and agility with hyperconverged infrastructure. But what do IT pros who use the technology have to say?

Members of IT Central Station, a community of more than 250,000 IT pros who contribute enterprise technology reviews based on their experience, provided insight into leading hyperconverged infrastructure products. They cited features they love in HPE SimpliVity, Nutanix, and VMware vSAN, along with product shortcomings.

Since virtualized workloads are becoming more prevalent, IT Central Station members have found that hyperconverged infrastructure offers organizations the benefit of removing previously separate storage networks. Hyperconverged systems are flexible and can be expanded by adding nodes to the base unit.

HPE SimpliVity

Charlene H., senior systems administrator at a healthcare company, described her positive experience with HPE SimpliVity:  

“The ease of managing this system! Recently added the All Flash CN3400F and oh my goodness, are these nodes fast as lighting! I love having a private cloud for my organization. Public cloud will never care for my organization’s data more than I do.”

Tommy H., senior systems/storage engineer at Banc of California, described the value that HPE SimpliVity’s backup capabilities have added to his organization:

“Backups are all automatic and admins do not have to worry if the production VMs are being backed up. Easy backup policy with no LUN administration is also one less task to worry about. DR and DR replication are no longer an issue; no longer have to seed a SAN locally and ship it out to the DR site.”

However, a senior cloud data architect who uses HPE SimpliVity said improvements could be made to both its data storage and data replication capabilities:

“I would like to see replication to a cloud solution. I would like to replicate the data so that we have a backup copy off-site. I could then be comfortable getting rid of our existing backup solution….The other feature would be a single copy of the data storage as opposed to a dual copy. In that way, when I do things that automatically have dual copies, such as with our SQL server databases, I would not then be making four copies of the data.”

A senior systems administrator at a consultancy company would like to see other improvements:

“There are some maintenance features (replica copy load-balancing) that could stand to be automated and/or streamlined for customer execution.…Also, the ability to scale compute and storage independently of one another would be a way to add value to the entire product line.”

Nutanix

A cyber security engineer at a technology services company explained why he likes Nutanix:

“Hyperconvergence is the most valuable feature for me, as it allows me to scale the hardware accordingly to project requirements…It is now our single most powerful server that is easily scalable and has an HTML5 site that manages all aspects of the system.”

An enterprise systems and IT architect at a technology services company described the improvements that Nutanix has brought to his organization:

“There was a 30% reduction in CAPEX spending when we moved towards the Nutanix platform and we had a high ROI.”

A systems engineer at a university cited room for improvement:  

“The improvement needed is for elastic clusters, meaning the ability to depart and join nodes in an automatic way. We have a laboratory that needs to perform bare metal tests and therefore needs to unjoin the nodes from the cluster and later on join them back.”

Leandro L., system architect at a technology services company, suggested that Nutanix improve its asynchronous replication capabilities:

“I would like to see asynchronous replication in less than 60 minutes, or even in 15 minutes. I understand that they are working to lower replication times to 1 minute or less.”

VMware vSAN

Raymund R., a network and system administrator, values VMware vSAN’s minimal downtime:

“The minimal downtime alone is a winning blow for both the management and the ITs. Unexpected downtime is inevitable. It’s been part any organization. Addressing that pitfall really gives an edge from a business perspective.”

Harri W. ICT network administrator at a maritime company, praised vSAN’s scalability and upgrade capabilities:

“Scalability and future upgrades are a piece of cake. If you want more IOPs, then add disk groups and/or nodes on the fly. If you want to upgrade the hardware, then add new servers and retire the old ones. No service breaks at all.”

However, Javier G., engagement cloud solution architect at a communications service provider, would like to see improved hardware support with vSAN:

“The list of hardware supported should be increased in the future. I would improve these areas by increasing the number of partners to support as many partners as possible.”

Similarly, Pushkaraj D., senior manager of IT infrastructure at a tech services company, discussed the need for improved hardware compatibility:

“The vSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker needs to improve, since currently it is a sore point for vSAN. …You need to thoroughly check and re-check the HCL with multiple vendors like VMware, in the first instance, and manufacturers like Dell, IBM, HPE, etc., as the compatibility list is very narrow.”

 



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Hyperconverged Infrastructure: What Do Users Think?


Hyperconvergence burst onto the IT scene a few years ago and remains one of the hottest trends in IT today. Vendors promise greater efficiency and agility with hyperconverged infrastructure. But what do IT pros who use the technology have to say?

Members of IT Central Station, a community of more than 250,000 IT pros who contribute enterprise technology reviews based on their experience, provided insight into leading hyperconverged infrastructure products. They cited features they love in HPE SimpliVity, Nutanix, and VMware vSAN, along with product shortcomings.

Since virtualized workloads are becoming more prevalent, IT Central Station members have found that hyperconverged infrastructure offers organizations the benefit of removing previously separate storage networks. Hyperconverged systems are flexible and can be expanded by adding nodes to the base unit.

HPE SimpliVity

Charlene H., senior systems administrator at a healthcare company, described her positive experience with HPE SimpliVity:  

“The ease of managing this system! Recently added the All Flash CN3400F and oh my goodness, are these nodes fast as lighting! I love having a private cloud for my organization. Public cloud will never care for my organization’s data more than I do.”

Tommy H., senior systems/storage engineer at Banc of California, described the value that HPE SimpliVity’s backup capabilities have added to his organization:

“Backups are all automatic and admins do not have to worry if the production VMs are being backed up. Easy backup policy with no LUN administration is also one less task to worry about. DR and DR replication are no longer an issue; no longer have to seed a SAN locally and ship it out to the DR site.”

However, a senior cloud data architect who uses HPE SimpliVity said improvements could be made to both its data storage and data replication capabilities:

“I would like to see replication to a cloud solution. I would like to replicate the data so that we have a backup copy off-site. I could then be comfortable getting rid of our existing backup solution….The other feature would be a single copy of the data storage as opposed to a dual copy. In that way, when I do things that automatically have dual copies, such as with our SQL server databases, I would not then be making four copies of the data.”

A senior systems administrator at a consultancy company would like to see other improvements:

“There are some maintenance features (replica copy load-balancing) that could stand to be automated and/or streamlined for customer execution.…Also, the ability to scale compute and storage independently of one another would be a way to add value to the entire product line.”

Nutanix

A cyber security engineer at a technology services company explained why he likes Nutanix:

“Hyperconvergence is the most valuable feature for me, as it allows me to scale the hardware accordingly to project requirements…It is now our single most powerful server that is easily scalable and has an HTML5 site that manages all aspects of the system.”

An enterprise systems and IT architect at a technology services company described the improvements that Nutanix has brought to his organization:

“There was a 30% reduction in CAPEX spending when we moved towards the Nutanix platform and we had a high ROI.”

A systems engineer at a university cited room for improvement:  

“The improvement needed is for elastic clusters, meaning the ability to depart and join nodes in an automatic way. We have a laboratory that needs to perform bare metal tests and therefore needs to unjoin the nodes from the cluster and later on join them back.”

Leandro L., system architect at a technology services company, suggested that Nutanix improve its asynchronous replication capabilities:

“I would like to see asynchronous replication in less than 60 minutes, or even in 15 minutes. I understand that they are working to lower replication times to 1 minute or less.”

VMware vSAN

Raymund R., a network and system administrator, values VMware vSAN’s minimal downtime:

“The minimal downtime alone is a winning blow for both the management and the ITs. Unexpected downtime is inevitable. It’s been part any organization. Addressing that pitfall really gives an edge from a business perspective.”

Harri W. ICT network administrator at a maritime company, praised vSAN’s scalability and upgrade capabilities:

“Scalability and future upgrades are a piece of cake. If you want more IOPs, then add disk groups and/or nodes on the fly. If you want to upgrade the hardware, then add new servers and retire the old ones. No service breaks at all.”

However, Javier G., engagement cloud solution architect at a communications service provider, would like to see improved hardware support with vSAN:

“The list of hardware supported should be increased in the future. I would improve these areas by increasing the number of partners to support as many partners as possible.”

Similarly, Pushkaraj D., senior manager of IT infrastructure at a tech services company, discussed the need for improved hardware compatibility:

“The vSAN Hardware Compatibility List Checker needs to improve, since currently it is a sore point for vSAN. …You need to thoroughly check and re-check the HCL with multiple vendors like VMware, in the first instance, and manufacturers like Dell, IBM, HPE, etc., as the compatibility list is very narrow.”

 



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Converged Vs. Hyperconverged Infrastructure: What’s The Difference?


Traditionally, the responsibility of assembling IT infrastructure falls to the IT team. Vendors provide some guidelines, but the IT staff ultimately does the hard work of integrating them. The ability to pick and choose components is a benefit, but requires effort in qualification of vendors, validation for regulatory compliance, procurement, and deployment.

Converged and hyperconverged infrastructure provides an alternative. In this blog, I’ll examine how they evolved from the traditional infrastructure model and compare their different features and capabilities.

Reference architectures

Reference architectures, which provide blueprints of compatible configurations, help to alleviate some of the burden of IT infrastructure integration. Hardware or software vendors provide defined behavior and performance given selected choices of hardware devices and software, along with configuration parameters. However, since reference architectures may involve different vendors, they can present problems in determining who IT groups need to call for support.

Furthermore, given that the systems combine components from multiple vendors, systems management remained difficult. For example, visibility into all levels of the hardware and software stack is not possible since management tools can’t assume how the infrastructure was set up. Even with systems management standards and APIs, tools aren’t comprehensive enough to understand device-specific information.

Converged infrastructure: ready-made

Converged infrastructures takes the idea of a reference architecture and integrates the system prior to shipping to customers; systems are pre-tested and pre-configured. One unpacks the box, plugs it into the network and power, and the system is ready to use.

IT organizations choose converged systems for ease of deployment and management instead of the benefits of an open, interoperable system with choice of components. Simplicity overcomes choice.

Hyperconverged: The building-block approach

Hyperconverged systems take the convergence concept one step further. These systems are preconfigured, but provide integration via software-defined capabilities and interfaces. Software interfaces act as a glue that supplements the pre-integrated hardware components.

In hyperconverged systems, functions such as storage are integrated through software interfaces, as opposed to the traditional physical cabling, configuration and connections. This type of capability is typically done using virtualization and can exploit commodity hardware and servers.

Local storage not a key differentiator

While converged systems may include traditional storage delivered using discrete NAS or Fibre Channel SAN, hyperconverged systems can take different forms of storage (rotating disk or flash) and present it via software in a unified way.  

A hyperconverged system  may use local storage, but it can use an external system with software interfaces to present a unified storage pool. Some vendors get caught up in the definition of whether the storage is implemented locally (implemented as a disk within the server) or as a separate storage system. I think that’s missing the bigger picture. What’s more important is the ability for the systems to scale.

Scale-out is key

Software enables hyperconverged systems to be used as scale-out building blocks. In the enterprise, storage is often an area of interest, since it has been difficult to scale out storage in the same way compute capacity expands by incrementally adding servers.

Hyperconverged building blocks enables graceful scale out, as capacity may increase without re-architecting the hardware infrastructure. The goal is to unify as many services using software that acts as layer separating the hardware infrastructure from the workload. That extra layer may result in some performance tradeoff, but some vendors believe that the systems are fast enough for most non-critical workloads.

Making a choice

How do enterprises choose converged vs hyperconverged systems? ESG’s research shows that enterprises choose converged infrastructure for mission-critical workloads, citing better performance, reliability, and scalability.  Enterprises choose hyperconverged systems for consolidating multiple functions into one platform, ease of use, and deploying tier-2 workloads.

Converged and hyperconverged systems continue to gain interest since they enable creation of on-premises clouds with elastic workloads and resource pooling. However, they can’t solve all problems for all customers. An ESG survey shows that, even five years out, over half the respondents plan to create an on-premises infrastructure strategy based on best-of-breed components as opposed to converged or hyperconverged infrastructure.

Thus, I recommend that IT organizations examine these technologies, but realize that they can’t solve every problem for every organization.

Hear more from Dan Conde live and in person at Interop ITX, where he will co-present “Things to Know Before You (Hyper) Converge Your Infrastructure,” with Jack Poller, senior lab analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. Register now for Interop ITX, May 15-19 in Las Vegas.



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