Enabling Collaborative IT With Converged Infrastructure

Changing the culture inside an IT organization is one of those chicken-and-egg propositions. It’s difficult to figure out if the culture should change before acquiring new technology that better fits with it, or whether the acquisition of new technology actually enables the culture to change.

Regardless of the path taken, one thing that is clear is that inside most organizations, at a time when IT organizations are being asked to build private clouds to enable the business to become more agile it’s clear IT cultural change is overdue. To foster the collaboration required to drive that cultural change converged and hyper-converged IT infrastructure is being adopted by organizations of all sizes.

The root challenge IT organizations face today is the fact that analyst firms such as IDC report that 70 to 80 percent or more of a business’s data center budget today is consumed by operations. The actual cost of acquiring technology that goes into the data center is usually much less than 30 percent. As part of an overall drive to reduce costs, organizations first need to reduce both the cost of acquiring and operating IT, while at the same time introducing the flexibility required to make IT departments more agile.

The biggest single cost within an IT organization remains the number of people it takes to manage the entire IT environment. Most IT organizations still have specialists that manage individual compute, storage and networking resources. Not only are all those specialists expensive to hire, but also all too often these silos inside the IT organization work in opposition to each other. It may take only a few minutes to spin up a virtual machine, but it still takes days—and sometime weeks—to provision all the storage and networking resources associated with that virtual machine. Advances in converged and hyper-converged infrastructure make it possible to reallocate that human capital to IT projects that provide more value to the business at a time when organizations are looking to drive scores of digital business initiatives. Rather than maintaining IT infrastructure organizations need to free up IT staff to drive innovative digital business initiatives.

To make the overall IT environment more responsive to the dynamic needs of the business, a modern IT platform based on converged or hyper-converged IT infrastructure creates a private cloud computing framework that makes it simpler for IT teams to not only collaborate with one another, but also manage the overall application environment more holistically. In that context, the IT organization can make much broader use of IT generalists to manage the environment. Those generalists will be able to provision and manage the resources associated with any given application workload.

Of course, a specialist may be needed from time to time to address the needs of a particularly challenging workload. When that occurs, the level of collaboration made possible by converged or hyper-converged infrastructure will enable those specialists to address a particular issue much faster because the visibility they will have into compute, storage and networking resources available will be considerably greater. As opposed to working in a silo, various types of specialists can now work hand in glove with one another.

Making all that possible is the software-defined aspect of converged or hyper-converged platforms. Instead of having to manually provision every resource, the IT staff manages those resources at a much higher level of abstraction that automates much of the actual configuration effort. All that software-defined infrastructure via a single console shares access to the same control plane. That serves to make the internal IT department much more agile in contrast to what could be accomplished managing various IT infrastructure elements in isolation.

In fact, a set of interviews of our customers conducted by Forrester Consulting finds that IT organizations embracing converged platforms have increased their operational efficiency on average by 30 percent. An analysis by Forrester makes it clear that the quickest path to deploying private clouds runs through converged or hyper-converged infrastructure, which makes deploying and managing a private cloud much simpler.

At this juncture, a change to the way IT environments are managed is all but inevitable. The challenge facing IT leaders now is finding the best way to foster those changes in a way that delivers all the benefits as quickly as possible while minimizing the disruptions. Within that context there’s no place better to start that process than the full range of converged and hyper-converged block, rack and appliance platforms we at VCE have specifically engineered from the ground up to achieve those goals.

About the Author: Todd Pavone