The Convergence Journey

Jan Willem de Nooij

Monday 23 November 2015

These days, everyone in IT is talking about converged or hyper-converged solutions — almost if they were the answer to all IT problems. Just buy a hyper-converged solution and you’re out of trouble.

Well, it’s not always that simple. To take advantage of a converged solution, you must be prepared. Not all workloads are suited for convergence and some need to be adjusted or changed in order to run properly. Let’s have a look at how you can prepare your IT environment to fully take advantage of (hyper) converged technology. To demonstrate, I use a rainbow with four key topics that need attention in the journey towards convergence.

Although Accelerate Cloud is definitely the final step in the journey, the other three (Standardize, Virtualize and Automate) can be combined when optimizing the IT infrastructure.

  • Standardize: First, it’s important to minimize different types of technology and different levels of software. Everything in the IT environment needs to be maintained. Choose one or two operating systems that match your application landscape. Choose the ones that are standard in your market space and fully supported by your application vendors. Secondly, don’t fall behind. Keep up with your software levels so you are positioned to adopt the latest innovations and have full support from your vendors.
  • Virtualize: Virtualize your servers and your storage. This means introducing hypervisors for your servers and using some kind of software-defined storage. This eliminates dependencies between your application workloads and the IT infrastructure. Workloads can be moved to other servers or hardware can be changed without impact on the application layer. This is key in a converged infrastructure.
  • Automate: The automation of administrative tasks speeds up the usability of the converged infrastructure. Deployment of virtual machines, changes such as password resets or adding applications can be done without the interference of IT personnel. These options are often enabled by user portals or web pages and reduce operational cost of the infrastructure. Other automation is added by the vendors and consists of tasks that run automatically when events occur in the converged solution. For example, moving virtual machines to other servers when hardware errors are detected or the rebuilding of disk arrays after the replacement of a faulty disk. Lenovo offers integration with VMware and Microsoft (XClarity integrators) to enable these functions through the hypervisor.
  • Accelerate Cloud: The first three steps enable a cloud-ready IT infrastructure. The final step in the rainbow is the transition to cloud. This means a change from a budget-driven cost model to a pay-for-what-you-use model. The cloud delivery method means that the business does not pay the IT department upfront (budget), but pays afterwards for what they have consumed (as a service).

Lenovo offers converged solutions. These are suited for in-house IT departments as well as managed service providers and are optimized for management and low operational cost. Lenovo partners with Atlantis and SimpliVity to deliver hyper-converged solutions and continues to focus on converged technology.

This post first appeared on blog.lenovo.com.

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