Hyper-converged infrastructure is disrupting the traditional storage and data center markets because it creates enormous value through simplified management, consolidated resources, and reduced costs.
Additionally, hyper-converged infrastructure provides the ideal platform to build a private cloud. Analysts expect growth to quicken. Stratistics MRC predicts the global hyper-converged infrastructure market will grow at a CAGR of 42 percent from 2016 to 2023, reaching $17 billion in revenue by 2023.
Today’s business leaders are struggling to manage data centers with disparate legacy systems, distributed data, shrinking IT staff, constant demand for new services, and increased pressure to move to the cloud. Hyper-converged infrastructure can help your organization tackle these challenges and reduce risk, boost productivity, and enhance flexibility, scalability, and availability.
In this article, we will discuss what hyper-converged data center infrastructure is, and how it will impact your business.
What is Hyper-Converged Data Center Infrastructure?
As a working definition for IT organizational planning, Gartner defines hyper-converged data center infrastructure as: The vertical integration of server, storage and network systems, and components with element-level management software that lays the foundation to optimize shared data center resources efficiently and dynamically.
Converged infrastructures enable such building blocks to be assembled, integrated, connected, and repurposed with interoperability in physical, logical or virtual domains. It represents a critical connectivity layer that has the potential to enable speed and agility in provisioning, configuration, and repurposing.
IT organizations that take a wait-and-see approach to convergence may be losing valuable time. It is possible to be cautious and proactive. Before the concepts of IT infrastructure convergence are accepted and adopted, IT planners will require a learning period.
Once you have decided to migrate to a hyper-converged data center, what does a data center manager and architect do now? There are several alternatives. They can:
- Listen to all the vendors. Choose one and start building the new “dynamic” and “converged” infrastructure.
- Set up a bunch of sandboxes, proofs of concept, demos, outsourced projects and evaluate what works best.
- Stage it incrementally, slicing off selected applications, users and platforms, and stitch them together later.
- Wait for a firm push from your leadership and observe the pitfalls and successes of other IT organizations.
Why You Shouldn’t Own or Operate a Data Center
Uptime Institute’s 2015 Data Center Survey showed that colocation service providers are expanding more rapidly than enterprise data centers. The reason behind this is that many enterprise data center workloads are migrating out of private, single-tenant data centers. More and more enterprise IT leaders are finding it easier to outsource their workloads to colocation and cloud providers.
When simply looking at cost, a rack with 5kW of redundant power can be purchased for $1k-$2k/mo. Building a small data room in an office building can easily run well into six figures. From a facilities perspective, the ROI is simply not worth it and the risk of getting it wrong is too great. Not to mention, the distraction and loss of productivity for the business associated with tying their IT resources up building and operating a data center or data room.
Control is another concern, but this is only a valid argument if having control leads to better results. When we focus the question of control around what purpose-built data centers bring to the table, we quickly find that ample control of key elements still remains in the hands of businesses. Data center operators offer some fairly straight forward and easily verified benefits.
Another major benefit to utilizing a data center operator is the ability to scale power, cooling, and space quickly and cost effectively allowing businesses to grow as needed without hitting major speed bumps that limit growth.
Building and operating a data center on a DIY basis is a very risky exercise in today’s environment for businesses and municipalities. Good design, proper installation, and proper operation lead to good results. From the organizations’ perspective, they want power to always be available, cooling to always work, and ample physical security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to their assets with the logs to meet auditing requirements.
Finding a Hyper-Converged Colocation Provider
Not all colocation providers are created equal. Do not get blinded by flashy marketing or buzzwords. Instead, this should be your opportunity to test the technologies, vendors, alliances and partnerships, standards, and ecosystem strengths as a qualifying move to the next-stage methodology.
Picking a data center partner can be a challenging task, so here is a list of areas of consideration, followed by a deeper dive into what each means.
- Reduced Cost
- Network Uptime
- Facility Bells and Whistles
If you are not in the data center business, then you should not be dedicating massive amounts of money to managing and maintaining the operations. The saying “leave it to the professionals,” has never been truer.
Colocation providers are responsible for the physical facility, power, cooling, security technology, expert professionals, the costs of compliance certifications, and many other critical details that would cost the average business unimaginable costs.
The network plays a huge role in the success or failure of migrating applications to a data center. In addition to latency (driven by proximity), there are two other key factors to consider when evaluating the network. These are cost and bandwidth. Luckily, the technical and business evolution of networking over the past three decades has significantly changed both bandwidth and cost in favor of the consumer.
Bandwidth of 1Gbps and 10Gbps is now readily available using Ethernet technologies from most carriers for reasonable costs. Costs for 1G point-to-point lines or Dedicated Internet Access can be found from $600-$1,500 a month. 10G costs for similar links can be found for $1,200-$3,000 a month in most developed areas. These two factors have enabled businesses to make the leap to local data centers while still ensuring performance and cost targets are met in a sustainable way.
An additional note on networking costs and speeds: the marketplace for dedicated, fiber-based connection options are typically only sold to businesses and municipal entities. For those offerings, the fiber-optic lines are dedicated to a single customer to connect their site to the Internet or a data center.
Consumer-grade Internet services such as cable, DSL, wireless, and even fiber-based PON (Passive Optical Network) products are engineering to have much lower costs due to significant oversubscription, line sharing, and best effort availability targets.
The lower availability is due to little redundancy in the access link and even aggregation networks as well as best effort repair targets.
- Oversubscription is the concept of connecting several customer connections to a single connection and sharing the upstream bandwidth.
- Line sharing is where multiple customers share a common line or radio to access the nearest network access point.
Oversubscription ratios can be as high as 80:1 in many cases, which is what contributes to “slow” times for end-users. As a result of this, the amount carrier charge is significantly less than what they charge for a business-grade connection that has bandwidth and availability guarantees, though each carrier is different in their approach to this concept.
When multiple options exist for these types of links, SD-WAN, or Software-Defined Wide Area Network, technologies can be used to combine two or more links into a more profitable way to access data centers with acceptable availability and bandwidth results.
Facilities Bells and Whistles
Modern data center designs have evolved to incorporate hundreds of specialized features to make operating them safer and more reliable. The goal is to provide a secure and available space for IT operations and balance this with a commercially viable business model.
If these facilities are overbuilt too far in advance, there is a risk no one will buy it. However, reasonable construction techniques and redundancy mechanisms, coupled with efficient and conscientious operations allow modern data centers to attain very high levels of uptime at a reasonable cost.
Security and Compliance have arguably been at the root of the data center industry from day one. While connectivity will drive location, security and compliance are the key factors that raise the bar and determine viability for many organizations.
Whether your organization is a regulated entity or part of a supply chain for a regulated industry, getting this right is top of mind for CIOs and CISOs. The cost of noncompliance is high. IBM’s 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study by Ponemon study reports the global average cost of a data breach is up 6.4 percent over the previous year to $3.86 million.
The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased by 4.8 percent year over year to $148.
Finding a facility that meets all of these security and compliance guidelines allows organizations to accelerate their maturing in IT governance. Using hosting providers naturally provides role separation and forces documentation of critical changes. It also ensures that access logging and authorized user controls are properly documented to meet compliance needs.
Contracts actually hold hosting organizations accountable and provide predictability and cost controls for businesses looking to attain compliance and better security in a rapid and sustainable manner.
Remember, even if you work to get the controls in place yourself, you still have to operate for a year in order to successfully pass an audit of those controls. Similarly, hosting facilities have already deployed and tested all of these systems and have the staff and business model for maintaining them. As the old adage states, time is money.
Picking a compliant and secure hosting provider will save both time and money when all of the success criteria are accounted for.
Learn about LightEdge’s World-Class Hyper-Converged Data Centers
Finding a colocation provider that meets the security, network availability, scalability, and support that your organization requires may seem daunting. Thankfully, LightEdge is top performing in each of those categories, but don’t take our word for it. Take a virtual tour through one of LightEdge’s seven data center colocation facilities with the hosts of Off the Cuf to see our world’s most secure data center.
As a top-tier colocation services provider, we deliver a high level of availability and reliability through secure, certified data centers, and dedicated staff onsite. Our customized and scalable services give you the control, whether you need a colocation rack, cage, or custom suite now or in the future.
LightEdge’s highly trained compliance and security experts take the guesswork out of keeping your business protected. Trust our expertise to ensure you are covered through our security and compliance services, including risk management, information security, audit preparedness, and support.
With geographically dispersed facilities across all of the US power grids, our data centers are the heart of our operation and yours. We have a wide range of colocation and disaster recovery solutions delivering advanced shared infrastructure designed to enable operational and financial efficiency, reducing the burden on your IT staff.
LightEdge business support services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no exceptions. Our technical support starts with direct access to technicians in LightEdge’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via a toll-free number for emergencies. The LightEdge Portal allows you to open tickets, track progress and more for all of your services.
Customers turn to LightEdge to reduce risk of non-compliance, scale security and for our proven predictably and cost-effectiveness. LightEdge provides customers with an extended team of experienced engineers, so you can refocus internal resources on agility, differentiation and running towards achieving your desired business outcomes. Are you curious on how your current provider stacks up? Our security experts will provide a free security assessment to see how you measure up against the latest compliance and security standards. No risk, no commitment. Contact us today to get your free security assessment.
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