Hyper Converged - I don’t know what it is, but I want it!
past tense: converged; past participle: converged
|meet, intersect, cross, come together, connect, link up, coincide;|
Oh how Life has changed.
12 years in IT, it used to be that everything was about complex lengthy consultancy intensive projects.
“You need a server sir? For virtualisation? Oh bear with me I will marshall my team of consultants. We will put together a bespoke, configured solution, build it, soak test then install it. It will take a week of consultancy time. £10,000, or maybe £20,000, actually probably best to budget for £50,000 because you want a scalable solution, and we do need project management time…. And UAT and OAT…And...”
Servers then became more of a commodity, clients began to send me the specification, usually nicked off Dells configurator, less bothered about vendor “it’s just a box”.
Storage! Another previously heinously complex area, compression, de dupe, connectivity, caching, iops and capacity measurement tools… arggghhhh
Now everything is Converging and its Hyper too, sounds important, like an urgent improvement, its Hyper for goodness sake!
But what is it? I want it but do I need it?
(Its surprisingly simple in concept actually)
Think of server virtualisation.
If you imagine how server infrastructure used to be architected, individual applications with their own physical server and OS, lots of apps meant lots of physical servers.
Then VMWare invent this clever software that pools the resources (processor, ram, disk) of the physical server(s) to allow this pool of resource to be shared among the applications as and when they need it. Taking that vertical stack of infrastructure and spreading it laterally, like someone had smeared the ink of your infrastructure diagram.
Then Citrix look at the beloved PC and how desktop applications are delivered, with all the processing power in ram and processors on the local PC, and they do the same, they take all of those apps and centralise them on the host, software defines how that virtualised desktop is served out to the simple thin client, maximising efficiencies, minimising effort.
So when you think about it, taking the storage, host, san switching and smearing that diagram again, or put another way adding more elements to that lateral pool was the next logical step.
So Hyper Convergence is just virtualisation of the Server, storage and SAN switching… simple.
But I want it, do I need it?
Yes, no, maybe?
Q - I like to sweat my assets, and I’m in a rolling host server refresh cycle, can I have Hyper Converged?
A - Kinda… you can buy Storvirtual VSA licensing, and pool the storage layer, but it’s only half the job, better to await a total refresh imho.
Q - I’ve got 2 years left on my VMWare licensing, can i use this?
A - Yes with Nutanix, Dells VSAN and HPEs Simplivitiy, Not with Scale.
Q - Do I need VMWare or Hyper V?
A - Neither actually, Nutanix and Scale have their own proprietary Hyper Visor (option with Nutanix, mandatory with Scale), even further simplifying the solution.
Q - What’s in the box?
A - Magic elves! - standard high spec servers, flash ssds, and spinning disks, and very clever proprietary software.
Q - Is it complicated?
A - No. and Yes. Relatively simple to size, usually preconfigured, minimising implementation. Modular boxes of clever stuff, that are almost plug and play. Complicated software, but not for the client, Management GUIs are drag and drop, the very definition of simplicity.
So, when you need a new virtual infrastructure, and words like modular, scalable, and above all, simplicity and reduced management are high on the agenda, it might be worth looking at ‘Hyper-ing’ your Convergence.
Good news is, we’re here to help you cut through the terminology and avoid the pitfalls and obstacles that so often appear on this type of project. Give us a nudge, we can help prescribe the right solution for you.