Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) SimpliVity, powered by Intel® is the industry’s leading implementation of Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI). SimpliVity brings cloud agility, friction-free scalability, and management simplicity to the enterprise data centre.
In the digital economy, we have two competing demands on IT. On the one hand we want IT to be able to deliver new, customer-focused applications faster than they ever have before, but on the other hand we want IT to continue to run and support the existing applications that are the bread and butter of the business. You can regard these factors another way:
- Maintain the current cashflow to the business
- Grow the business through exploitation of new applications and services
- Increase the competitiveness of the business and/or anticipate competitive threats
IT finds it difficult to be more responsive to the business because of the legacy technology stack which underpin the legacy applications.
The Legacy Stack
Look at this example of a legacy stack.
- Servers and VMware
- Storage switch
- High-availability shared storage
- Backups and deduplication
- WAN acceleration
- Cloud gateway
- Solid state disk array
- Storage caching
- Software data protection apps
- backup and replication
In the legacy stack each of these elements – which are used to deliver information products and services to the end user customer – are separate entities requiring support from IT specialists and perhaps different vendors.
Integrated stacks may combine compute and storage, but all the other elements are still separate and require management and support. Some solutions that claim to be hyperconverged include tier 1 storage and storage switching inside the compute layer, but management occurs in the compute engine, impacting the ability of server bandwidth to deliver application outcomes. HPE’s SimpliVity goes beyond consolidating just servers and storage to also include deduplication, SSD caches and all-flash storage, backup software, and data replication leveraging WAN acceleration. This adds far more functionality controlled via a single pane of glass, leading to far greater simplicity and cost-efficiency.
Benefits of SimpliVity HCI
The results of such hyperconvergence are of great value to the business.
- A tightly integrated combination of turnkey resources that includes end-to-end management dramatically reduces people overhead and complexity.
- Infrastructure for a new application can be deployed in minutes, allowing IT staff to focus on developing applications and services that can grow the business.
- SimpliVity delivers unprecedented flexibility – one cluster can have many nodes with each node having differing amounts of CPU, storage, and memory resources. Nodes can be tailored for specific workloads, achieving maximum efficiency with no wasted resources.
- Hyperconvergence software running on each node distributes all operating functions across the cluster, enabling superior performance and resilience.
- SimpliVity HCI delivers on-premise IT services with the speed and operational efficiency of public cloud services.
Hyperconvergence Use Cases
HCI was initially thought to be best exploited for “edge” use cases such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Over time, and as HCI has become more pervasive, and as advanced HCI implementations such as SimpliVity have emerged, it has become recognised as an architecture that can support demanding, mission-critical workloads. This has led organisations to reap the benefits of HCI, such as reduced operational overhead and faster time to value for new initiatives. Fundamentally, there are no limitations that would lead you to conclude that a certain application is not a good fit with Hyperconverged Infrastructure.
HCI has become a staple for general purpose workloads including infrastructure servers (DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, print servers and so on, as well as database servers, file servers, and application servers. Flash storage is key to enabling a wide array of workloads all vying for storage, RAM, and compute resources.
Today, databases power the business. E-commerce, point-of-sale, CRM tools and ERP systems are all candidates for HCI. They all demand high performance either because they might otherwise hold back employee productivity, or because they might drive away customers frustrated with slow performance. Also, as databases grow, SimpliVity makes it easy to expand its storage footprint. Simply add more nodes.
Data logging and data analytics can really test the performance and scalability of the platforms they run on. Logging is usually write-intensive, and data analytics are read-intensive. The hybrid or all-flash nodes embedded in SimpliVity can deliver very fast reads and writes. SimpliVity’s node-based architecture also makes scalability easy.
With SimpliVity’s ability to stand up new VMs in minutes, it is a perfect vehicle for supporting test and development. VMs can be created and destroyed on command and will be running testing on infrastructure that performs and operates similarly to production.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Nothing matters more in Formula One racing than speed. In a sport where wins are decided by a hundredth of a second, as of the beginning of the 2019 season, the team has notched 59 wins and 8 world championships. The team credits its ability to adapt to design changes and new regulations with agility.
With F1-specific applications generating significant amounts of data, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing needed a solution for its growing storage needs for the virtualised estate. “We needed to be more agile,” says Neil Bailey, head of IT infrastructure. “Application performance affects how quickly we can react and make a change to enhance vehicle performance.” With speed and efficiency being of the essence, the organisation explored hyperconverged IT and ultimately decided on HPE SimpliVity.
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