At this time of year, it is common for many of us to reflect on the past 12 months and think about what we want to achieve in the New Year. For those in the IT space, many teams have already begun to envision and define which projects they will be working on in 2016. Is your infrastructure one of them?
In the past year, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has grown in popularity. With vendors like Nutanix in the market space, IT departments are now provided with a new option when it comes to scaling their data-centers. We’ve have had many conversations with our clients on this relatively new offering in 2015 and have helped determine if this solution is right for our clients’ business.
In our last blog post, we covered off the main differences between converged and hyper-converged infrastructures. Yet the question remains, is HCI right for you?
The Pros and Cons of Hyper-Converged for SMBs
When determining if HCI belongs in your company, consider the following benefits and downfalls that this technology offers.
- Simplicity in management. HCI centralizes management and offers a single console to manage compute, storage and network.
- Economics. HCI provides a granular and linear pay-as-you-grow economic model for IT investment.
- Distributed architecture. This solution is fault-tolerant since functions aren’t tied to one particular server. Multiple failures can occur simultaneously and the system “heals itself.”
- Storage consumption. Load balancing between nodes and capacity savings mechanisms in these systems reduce storage consumption.
- Replication and disaster recovery. Many HCI solutions have integrated replication and disaster recovery technologies built-in to the underlying software.
- Smooth and non-disruptive upgrades. The entire stack becomes upgraded by adding new nodes and removing old low-performance nodes in a non-disruptive and granular way.
Assimilating all functions under one great big infrastructure mesh is a great idea. But is it the right idea for a SMB IT team? Consider the effect that such a collective would have on security, staffing and scalability in your specific environment.
- Security and compliance. Always only as strong as its weakest link, consider the effect on security of all data, storage, compute, system and networking functions existing on the same hardware and distributed across nodes of a hardware fabric. Not to mention the regulatory compliance required such as a firewall or direct separation between particularly sensitive information.
- Staffing challenges. A common concern for many Canadian SMBs, but it is one that is only becoming more difficult in the years to come. With a HCI environment, your team requires managers with some degree of expertise of all elements, exacerbating the challenge of finding the talent needed.
- Scalability. While HCI provides benefits around scalability, it also create challenges around scaling any one infrastructure component independently. HCI scales in a linear way making it ideal for large organizations with huge growth needs, but inefficient for a smaller organization that perhaps need to ramp up a great deal of storage without adding compute performance.
- Vendor lock-in. To control costs and maintain flexibility, you may want to be able to select server and storage vendors independently. With HCI, you become locked into one manufacturer for your entire infrastructure.
Still questioning which solution is right for you?
Working in IT is truly an exciting and fascinating space as we are always determining which technology solution is best for a business. As your trusted partner, Lanworks’ responsibility is to help provide clarity for our clients all while determining the right solution for them.
That’s why we have recently released our latest whitepaper on Demystifying Hyper-Converged Infrastructure. Download it today to learn more about the pros and cons of HCI specifically for Canadian SMBs.
Still have questions? Leave them in the comment section below or connect with us today.