Five Workloads That Are Ideal Candidates for Hyperconvergence

Enterprises are adopting hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) at a rapid pace. But what is HCI? And which workloads make ideal candidates?

By Michael Brenner

By Michael Brenner July 9, 2020

New technologies open doors to new possibilities. Hyperconvergence is one such technology. It’s no wonder enterprises are adopting hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) at a rapid pace – Gartner estimates that the HCI marketplace will reach over $8.5 billion by 2023.

Companies unfamiliar with HCI likely have questions about this potentially game-changing solution. First, what actually is it? What advantages does it offer? And which workloads make suitable candidates?

What Is Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)?

Put simply, HCI is an IT architecture that tightly integrates computing, storage, and networking resources into one single appliance. These systems combine standard data center hardware via locally attached storage resources with innovative software to create a streamlined, agile solution. The goal is to replace legacy infrastructure with consolidated, scalable, software-defined infrastructure.

Understanding the tech is one thing. Grasping its real-life potential is another. Benefits of HCI include:

  • Fast deployment – HCI enables IT to deploy infrastructure in minutes, enabling IT teams to focus on the applications and services that power the business

  • Turnkey infrastructure – HCI integrates server, storage, networking and virtualization in a way that can be easily managemed

  • Superior performance and unmatched resilience – Downtime and slow performance can wreak havoc on revenue and reputation, so HCI distributes operating functions across the whole cluster

  • Software-driven – HCI is compatible with top hardware and server platforms in the world

  • Flexibility – HCI is easily scalable and customizable to run several workloads simultaneously without sacrificing performance and efficiency

Assessing Workload Compatibility

To find out which – if any – of your workloads are ideal candidates for HCI, consider several critical factors:

First, how do workloads scale? HCI is best suited to workloads that scale in a linear manner. In these instances, required computing resources such as CPU, RAM, storage, and networking grow at similar rates. HCI scales by adding new nodes, each of which comprises of full computing, storage and networking hardware. If a workload requires just one of these components, it can only be provisioned by adding all of them. And, that is wasted resources.

Also look at issues like latency and Input/output Operations Per Second (IOPS) requirements. Typically, real-time applications that demand low latency and high IOPS don’t gel with hyperconverged infrastructure.

Finally, consider how virtual machines (VM) are used inside the company. Switching to HCI may make it quicker and simpler to deploy VMs to a self-contained platform rather than a host of distinct components.

Five Workloads That Are Ideal Candidates for Hyperconvergence

Like most IT solutions, HCI is not a one-size-fits-all system. If an organization relies on one of the following five workloads, it could benefit from hyperconvergence.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – The quintessential hyperconvergence infrastructure workload is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). VDI environments scale predictably – each node can host a set number of virtual desktops. And, since each node houses the same hardware, IT teams can quickly and easily determine the number of nodes required to host the desired amount of VDs.

Tier 1 workloads – that is, applications that are critical to business operations – are another ideal candidate for HCI. Why? Because HCI delivers the high level of availability that organizations need for essential workloads. Vendors offer extra layers of redundancy, too, including the capability to mirror nodes and clusters.

Companies with Remote and Branch Office (ROBO) Locations – With HCI, an organization’s data can be consolidated in a central location and then accessed by employees in their local office, on the go, or at home. What’s more, there’s no need to hire an IT professional for each ROBO location. Instead, IT administrators at the company’s main office can maintain, monitor, and manage the IT infrastructure as if they were right there on site.

Application Development and Testing – Each HCI systems contain computing, networking, and storage components that can be segregated from production and other facilities. This makes them ideal for application development and testing. What’s more, HCI offers fast and precise deployment – teams can select the exact number of nodes (even as little as two or three, if needed) required.

Data Backup, Restore, and Disaster Recovery – With HCI, IT administrators can apply sophisticated data protection and disaster recovery systems across an entire organization’s infrastructure – even if it’s geographically dispersed.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure Becomes More Compelling Every Day – For smaller enterprises and highly virtualized environments, hyperconverged infrastructure can potentially meet 100 percent of all IT needs. That being said, specialized workloads that require access to significant portions of data (Big Data Analytics, for example) may be better suited to other types of architecture. 

But, HCI is maturing quickly, making it suitable most workloads. If it’s not already, HCI should be on every organization’s radar.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy. Follow him @BrennerMichael.

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