One of the problems with Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) is its name! It sounds very technical, difficult to understand and as a result, it can put people off from really understanding why HCI is a game changer.
If an IT manager asks the Finance Director for a budget to invest in hyperconverged infrastructure, the reaction might be an indifferent, “How much is that going to cost us?”
If the IT Manager asks the Finance Director for some budget that will transform IT operations, reduce the need for ongoing expensive training (i.e. less people can manage much more), open up a cloud-first strategy that will increase choice when it comes to cloud, reduce the need for expensive upgrades when systems get old, and expand on demand with no downtime or complex project management, the reaction from the Finance Director might be a very interested, “Tell me more!”
HCI is a revolutionary technology that lets you run IT like the cloud providers run their operations. In essence, this means flexible scalability, accommodating with unpredictable workloads and removing complexities of compute, storage and networking so that systems can be managed by fewer people and done so with an application-centric perspective.
HCI is built upon the same concepts that enable cloud providers to exist in the form they do today. Without this converged and software-driven approach, cloud providers would not be able to scale on demand and the economics of the cloud service provider model would not stack up. So HCI is at the core of building scalable, cost-effective enterprise clouds.
We also know that just like cloud providers themselves, most businesses are faced with the need to transform their approach. They need to become more data-driven, build apps as an interface to their customers and make their whole business more agile. It is for this reason that analysts around the world have been advocating a “cloud-first” strategy as an absolute imperative for CIOs in every industry.
The idea of “cloud-first” is wide and in the early days, many CIOs were evaluating how they could start their journey to move everything to public cloud. They also used to feel that public cloud needed to be a choice, just like a hardware choice. In the same way it used to be, “Do I choose Dell storage or EMC storage”, they were thinking, “do I go Azure or AWS”.
That has all changed. The majority of companies that started to look at moving everything to public cloud quickly realised that was not going to be the right move. Also, as IT professionals get more familiar with the cloud options available, they have become aware that it's not an either-or choice. It's about building a strategy that allows for choice, as well as movement between clouds based on cost and performance over time. That’s why companies are starting to realise that their cloud strategy begins on premise. HCI can be at the core of this approach. It builds an on-premise software-defined base that is easily expandable but also easy to integrate with hosted clouds and public clouds. The workloads are already cloud-optimised and the ability to integrate management across HCI and external cloud platform is improving rapidly.
Companies typically want some workloads on site for privacy and control reasons. Other times, it is because the finer configurations to eke out higher performance are better achieved when you run the infrastructure. Where uptime SLAs are critical, meanwhile, IT departments still prefer to build resiliency themselves.
At Dell EMC, we are in a unique position. We are aligned with all of the largest public cloud providers. We also have the widest portfolio of HCI and converged systems in the world. Not only that, we also offer the best in specialised server and storage hardware. Why does this matter? Because we have no axe to grind. We never push you down the direction of the “only solution we have to sell”. We have every solution, therefore our focus is on helping you invest in the infrastructure that supports your business demands. Increasingly where we see a cloud-first strategy, emerging HCI becomes an intrinsic part of our conversation.