Tasha Stone

CIO Blog: Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Appliances Gaining Quick Adoption for Environments With Limited IT Support

Discussion created by Tasha Stone Employee on Oct 28, 2015

Branded blog post from CIO.com discusses:

Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Appliances Gaining Quick Adoption for Environments With Limited IT Support




By Paul Desmond


In previous posts I’ve written about how converged infrastructure can help IT groups meet the requirements for business agility while making IT staff more productive through automation, thus saving money. In some instances, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is emerging as an attractive, simplified way for companies to gain the benefits of convergence. 


Hyperconverged infrastructure delivers many of the benefits of converged infrastructure – pre-engineered infrastructure that consolidates servers, storage, networking and virtualized environments – in an appliance format supported by a single vendor. Hyper-converged appliances that are designed well are ready for deployment and to scale up in minutes not hours, making them perfect for organizations with small or less specialized IT staffs. They installation is simplified through automated configuration routines that minimize the potential for human error and speed deployments, providing enterprises the agility business needs demand. 


In the multibillion-dollar market for converged systems, HCI appliances are a young but rapidly growing sector. Including hardware and software, HCI grew at a rate of 162.3% in 2014, according to IDC estimates. In its Worldwide Hyperconverged Systems 2015–2019 Forecast, the research firm put the market at $373 million at the end of 2014 and said it expects to see sales of $807 million globally in 2015, up 116.2% over 2014. 


And with good reason, as hyperconverged appliances pack a lot of compute power, storage and software into a small package. The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) 1000 for VMware EVO:RAIL , for example, can run about 100 virtual machines (VMs) supporting any application or up to 250 virtual desktops per appliance. It combines 1.6TB of solid state drive (SSD) capacity for read/write caching along with 14.4TB of traditional hard drive capacity in a virtual SAN datastore. 


It is pre-built with a comprehensive suite of VMware software fully integrated and a heavy dose of automated capabilities built in. With UCP 1000 for VMware EVO:RAIL, some 250 steps that were previously performed manually – and thus could result in errors – have been automated. 


“You can go from powering on the system to provisioning VMs in minutes, whereas it’s typically days or weeks in a traditional environment,” says Chris Gugger, director of solutions marketing for Hitachi Data Systems. 


The Hitachi UCP 1000 also comes with management tools to view VMs, compute and storage resources, with health monitors for CPU, memory and storage. 


All of this makes the appliance ideal for deployments where IT staff is limited, such as in mid-size companies or in departments or branch offices of larger enterprises. Managed service providers are another natural market, as the appliances enable them to quickly scale to meet customer demand without adding lots of IT headcount. 


In terms of applications, hyperconverged systems are proving to be especially effective in enabling virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), Gugger says. Customers have long struggled to effectively deliver the back-end infrastructure that VDI demands, finding it too complex to support the myriad servers and storage capacity that the technology requires. 


“Appliances like the HDS UCP 1000 change the equation,” Gugger says. “It delivers the kind of performance that VDI requires, such as with the solid state drives that reduce latency, enabling customers to address boot storms and other issues that tend to bog down a VDI system.” 


Another major pain point in branch offices is backups, which are frequently not performed correctly and in a timely manner. UCP 1000 eliminates the need to do traditional backups by offering a built-in solution that makes it easy to protect data, using the Hitachi Data Ingestor and Hitachi Content Platform to compress and store vast amounts of unstructured data. 


What’s more, the systems are easy to scale. Add a new appliance and it is immediately recognized by the existing appliances and added to the pool of resources. 


“We designed it to deliver agility, speed of deployment and simplification,” Gugger says. “Customers can deploy the systems quickly and maintain them easily. You don’t need to have someone with VMware admin skillsets to maintain and upgrade a system.” 


There’s a lot to be said for fast, simple and agile. 


Click here to learn how the Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) portfolio can create a more agile and flexible data center to help IT enable faster time to production, automate operations, and provide real-time business insights.

About this Blog: Hitachi Data Systems builds information management and Social Innovation solutions for enterprises. Hitachi's IT infrastructure, analytics, content and cloud solutions and services enable enterprises to leverage their data assets to meet strategic business goals. The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform portfolio of converged infrastructure products helps enterprises manage increasingly complex and critical data center operations in a way that enhances flexibility, agility, efficiency, productivity and scalability. Learn more about Hitachi Unified Compute Platform here.