What can be more addictive than access to information -- without constraint? New storage and computing approaches for real time analytics, data mining and stream processing are trending topics today. But don't overlook the link between all these elements – an essential ‘cement’ that allows you to orchestrate these different components of infrastructure in the data center.

Think:

  • What about giving access to information without storage?
  • What to do with a volume of data without being able to access it easily?
  • What would be the value if it takes an eternity to gain access to the data/information in the above two situations?

Therefore, we must converge these pieces to achieve a coherent picture and deliver value. However, convergence is not enough. We need hyper-convergence -- but what does that really mean?

From a software perspective: An administration console to provide global access to infrastructure in a public or hybrid cloud solution is now called “hyper-convergence.” I think it has been existing for a decade with cluster architectures; but new requirements to streamline ‘access to all information and data’ is a real opportunity for IT . It’s a market that is living a ‘real explosion’ nowadays and specialists in this field are investing a lot to deliver new offers (VMware, Nutanix, etc.)

Hyper-convergent systems are a natural evolution of the traditional IT infrastructure, which is usually composed of operational silos (computing, storage, network) catering to specific business needs. The relatively new concept of hyper-convergence combines two or more of these components of infrastructure as a solution: an appliance combining server + storage + network in a box.

Mixing computing power (server), storage power and communication efficiency (network) has big advantages, but it also has some drawbacks that we need to be aware of:

  • A ‘black box’ approach, combining both the hardware and the software, prevents from making substantial changes to the software (as customization features are limited).
  • In the same way, if the appliance has a functional imbalance (power calculation or storage), it is difficult to correct it other than by adding another appliance that compensates for this defect.
  • The hyper-converged black box could become the single point of failure, and therefore, strong backup and/or replication procedures must be put in place to back up the black box itself.

Those concerns should not eclipse the real value of the hyper-convergence approach, which provides infrastructure simplification, consistency, performance and a unique monitoring console.

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