To maintain a competitive edge, critical infrastructure components must be easy to afford, deploy, and manage — all while eliminating the data and application silos that can prevent an organization from reaching its full potential. An IDC study found that reducing IT complexity resulted in annual cost savings of $3610 per user. Unfortunately, getting there has proved both complicated and costly as businesses continually pour money into solutions that only deliver lackluster results.
Many pundits believe the answer to taking the hassle out of data storage lies in convergence. The converged infrastructure concept is built around uniting different IT components to create one dynamic environment. This approach helps minimize compatibility issues by grouping storage devices, servers, and networking equipment into a single converged storage solution that reduces the cost of power, cabling, cooling, and floor space. Storage managers will be happy to know that convergence also offers enhanced simplicity, better performance, and seamless scalability.
The emergence of converged storage has led to its fair share of myths and misconceptions. This post will aim to set the record straight.
1. Converged Infrastructure and Legacy Systems Don’t Mix
There is a common belief that converged IT is incompatible with legacy systems. While it’s true that no infrastructure supports every legacy application, this misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, virtualization makes it possible to deploy whatever resources are necessary to support your infrastructure — legacy operating systems and applications included. The key to overcoming any potential interoperability issues is (1) recognizing that legacy systems require special attention, and (2) acknowledging their importance to the organization.
2. Convergence Stifles Innovation
This theory is based on the belief that housing multiple and varied technologies under one roof restrict the unified system’s ability to advance. There might be some merit here, but not much where converged storage is concerned. The industry is spearheaded by technology powerhouses that flourish as individual vendors and remain dedicated to moving convergence forward. Their solutions are thoroughly tested to ensure the maximum compatibility and reliability. No technology is perfect, but rest assured that converged storage leaders recognize the importance of continued innovation.
3. Vendor Lock-in Puts You at a Disadvantage
The vendor lock-in misconception is mainly a concern for hyper-converged storage environments. The hyper element expands on convergence by combining all the essential infrastructure components in a single appliance manufactured by a single vendor. While this sort of an arrangement restricts your ability to add new elements, it can also work to your advantage. In an ideal scenario, vendor lock-in could mean better customer support and troubleshooting. After all, you’re communicating with one company as opposed to several, who often blame each other to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing.
4. Shared Resources Come at the Cost of Storage Performance
Resource management takes on an all new level of importance when connecting individual systems to one integrated platform. At the same time, convergence doesn’t automatically mean sacrificing the performance of one application for another. Many vendors offer converged management tools that allow you to monitor resources, see where they’ve been allocated, and make adjustments to optimize performance if necessary. With proper planning, each component can be fine-tuned in a way that makes it possible for converged storage systems to operate with seamless efficiency.
5. It’s Converged or Bust
Contrary to popular belief, convergence doesn’t require you to abandon your current infrastructure components for new toys completely. In fact, converged infrastructure is flexible enough to start by consolidating your existing IT resources, using automation to simplify management, and upgrading with additional components over time. Different organizations have different needs, workloads, and budget restrictions, so it makes sense to embrace any new technology at your own pace.
There you have it. A rundown on some of the biggest converged storage myths we’ve encountered thus far. Did we overlook anything? We’d love to know what you think, so don’t hesitate to chime in with your thoughts and comments.