IT is expensive and IT teams are constantly being asked to do more. With many IT teams having to dedicate most of their time and budget to activities to “keep the lights on” as opposed to working on new innovative ideas, 2016 will mark a time where IT departments will look for solutions that are cost-effective and also continue to enhance performance, agility, and elasticity.
There are limited options available to keep the data center performing at a high-level while staying on budget. And many enterprise IT teams have tried those options. Public cloud infrastructure, for one, enticed many when it first arrived, but it can be very easy to rack up a large monthly cloud bill.
Hyperconvergence has emerged as one of the heirs apparent to traditional IT infrastructure by promising greater economics, minimized data center footprint, and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). In fact, Evaluator Group published an economic insight analysis in January 2016, comparing the cloud with hyperconvergence. The study, which focused on SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure and Amazon Web Services public cloud, found that SimpliVity offered a TCO savings of 22%-49% over a three year period when compared to Amazon Web Services. Hyperconverged infrastructure offers the agility, elasticity, and efficiency of the cloud, but at a more affordable price point. The benefits of hyperconvergence fit in nicely with the challenges IT is facing.
A solution for the future
Virtualization led to a whole new world of efficiency, but also a world of tacked-on backup devices and processes and the need for extra storage, cloud gateways, and data optimization features, among other devices.
Hyperconverged infrastructure is a unique solution. Built on the concept of simplification, hyperconverged infrastructure combines the eight to twelve core IT infrastructure components into a single solution. The consolidation of all IT below the hypervisor means there is less physical hardware to deal with. Less is more in this case. A decrease in the amount of infrastructure components means a decrease in data center equipment costs.
Data center equipment requires rack-space, power, cooling, and dedicated IT administrators to manage and maintain the equipment. By consolidating the core functions of IT into simple 2U building blocks, hyperconvergence vendors are able to help businesses reduce both CAPEX and OPEX by offering all-encompassing solutions at low upfront costs which require minimal power, cooling, and rack-space expenditures.
Deploying in 2U building blocks is part of the reason hyperconvergence is so cost-effective. Organizations no longer have to overprovision to anticipate future growth. Instead, hyperconverged infrastructure solutions can grow as the business grows, enabling incredible elasticity for companies that need to scale-out and scale-in as the needs of the business shift.
Cost benefits of hyperconvergence
To test the claims of reduced TCO, independent analyst firm Forrester Consulting recently conducted a study of selected SimpliVity customers to explore the cost benefits of hyperconvergence. The November 2015 Total Economic Impact of SimpliVity Hyperconverged Infrastructure study, which was commissioned by SimpliVity, combined the SimpliVity customers into a single composite example to get an average of savings, payback time, TCO, and return on investment (ROI). Using the composite customer, Forrester found that the average customer infrastructure prior to deploying hyperconvergence required extensive data center floor space. Forrester also took into account the reduced cost of professional services.
The study found that the infrastructure previous to hyperconvergence required the composite customer to pay for outside services to keep the data center running. Much of the composite organization’s data center floor space and all of the additional professional services costs were eliminated with the hyperconverged solution, contributing to an average payback period of 6.6 months.
The savings associated with hyperconverged infrastructure can be far-reaching because the solution simplifies tech refresh cycles. Instead of having to refresh multiple components almost continually, hyperconvergence is a single solution to maintain. In the same Total Economic Impact study, Forrester found that the composite company was able to avoid extensive servers and storage hardware costs, contributing to an ROI of 224%.
With IT departments increasingly having to cut down on spending, hyperconvergence is becoming a popular option for maintaining IT and business productivity while keeping budgets on track.
Jesse St Laurent is the vice president of product strategy at SimpliVity.