November 01, 2016

Beyond Fluid - Flexible

There’s a well-known saying by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, which states “the only constant is change.” Nowhere is this more true than in technology. History has shown us time and time again that change is inevitable, and in the business world this is quite apparent. A simple example of technological change in business is cameras where digital technology rendered the 35 mm camera industry almost obsolete in the past 20 years. In this case, industry leaders whose business processes were not agile enough to respond were left behind.

Today, the market is swamped with disruptive technologies of all varieties, and one of the largest challenges that many companies face is an inflexible IT infrastructure. In a world that requires companies to be agile and have the ability to pivot and move quickly, their IT systems much be even faster. Tradition IT and legacy systems were not designed for today’s rapidly-changing market conditions. To achieve the required flexibility, companies are often turning to hyper-converged and integrated systems that offer simplicity, speed, and cost-effective solutions.

What is a Hyper-converged System?

Converged systems are a natural progression from traditional IT infrastructure, which are typically silos of systems and operations. In these legacy environments, there are often separate administrative groups and systems for storage, servers and networks. The concept of converged systems combines two or more of these infrastructure components as a pre-engineered solution. The advantages of these solutions are their relatively simple design for a complex infrastructure environment.
Hyper-converged systems take this concept of convergence to the next level. Converged systems are separate components engineered to work together, while hyper-converged systems are modular systems designed to scale out by adding additional modules. The architecture is simplified, as is the administration.

The Advantages of Hyper-Convergence

The main advantages that hyper-convergence solutions offer are flexibility and agility. Some of the key benefits of a hyper-converged solution are:

  • Easier to manage: For a solution to be truly flexible, it needs to be manageable. Today’s leading hyper-converged systems allow IT generalists to handle all management tasks. They offer the ultimate in flexibility by providing the ability to adapt before disruption causes a critical moment for the business. Often, they allow users to employ predictive analytics to increase performance and identify potential problems faster.
  • Faster to adapt: Well-designed IT solutions don’t take forever to respond to change. A hyper-converged system can be deployed quickly and allows for changes to be made in minutes. These solutions drive flexibility because they rely heavily on automation.

Legacy Systems

Many companies invested in software solutions long ago and today rely on these same solutions to handle their business processes. More and more, they are finding that these legacy solutions are just not agile enough to meet their changing business needs and demands. The issues with these legacy systems include:

  • Many are band-aided together and lead to business silos
  • Maintenance and staffing costs are high
  • There are often compliance and regulatory concerns
  • Limited functionality limits innovation and growth

However, it is in the context of agility and flexibility, where businesses find themselves really limited by their legacy systems. Creating and maintaining efficient processes that are still meaningful in today’s market requires the ability to respond to needs quickly.