Hyperconvergence delivers your data, services, and apps, wherever your business needs them
Applications and digital services have become the primary interface to the customer for the majority of businesses today. Both bring to the table their own specific demands on infrastructure and IT. The ideal mix of networking, storage and compute resources varies from application to applications, and the overall mix will, of course, vary according to the vertical the business operates in.
Taking as a specific example, there’s a good deal of talk at present about “customer experience”, and at face value, that’s only an issue for B2C verticals, perhaps seen most often in retail and service provision. But if we expand out the definition of “customer” to include an end-user, or even a supporting service (like a database query management cluster, for example), then it could be argued that customer “experience” (responsiveness, agility, reliability and security) is ubiquitous and required at all levels of the IT stack.
Broadly speaking, demands placed on the IT function in the organization reflect the pressures that IT owners and operators at the management level face, too. “Customer experience” in its broad definition is joined by the need for security, operational efficiency (shorthand for doing more for less money), agility or scalability, and quite pertinently in the current climate, the demand for always-available services and applications served from the best place, to workers, customers and partners, wherever they might be.
The shift in the way that an enterprise operates its IT began less than a dozen years ago, with the introduction of the then-revolutionary Cisco UCS (a device that we celebrated the achievements in a recent article). A UCS appliance (e.g. a server) wasn’t so very different in its design from other commodity devices; its revolutionary aspect was the removal of its management layer from the device itself and placing it in the data center’s management fabric.
Present-day data centers are now no longer data silos comprising a discrete collection of hardware as a direct result of this shift. Instead, the services of the data center are made available by the same fabric layer that also oversees and controls container deployments, edge installations, public & private clouds, legacy mainframes, bare metal — in fact, all areas that make up the modern IT environment.
Evolution since the introduction of Cisco UCS has led to the unified computing stack. The next stage in the development in the way data is addressed, managed and presented is converged and hyperconverged infrastructures. The Cisco Hyperflex series is based on UCS and is designed to help enterprises move from monolithic structures of siloed data (cloud services, edge installations, data centres) to a fully-integrated resource pool.
With Hyperflex Anywhere [PDF], businesses have a go-to solution that’s proving as game-changing as Cisco UCS itself. Automated operations in networking, storage and compute provide workflows that are managed according to business need. As a technology platform in combination with extensible products like Cisco ACI Anywhere, it addresses each of the points-of-pressure that IT professionals are experiencing, which we touched on above:
– The pressure to move to the cloud. The natural benefits of cloud computing become available not as stand-alone services, but as an integrated part of the overall stack. Depending on the business model, public clouds can offer short-term capacity or be the mainstay of a line-of-business. But wherever along the spectrum from on-premise to all-cloud a company positions itself, the Hyperflex platform makes the experience the same from a management point of view. Therefore, IT can plan around the end-user experience, safety and governance issues, or on a cost basis — independent from the make-up of the hybrid “mix”.
– Lower costs and efficiencies. The pressure to achieve more with less has meant, in the past, that IT managers have felt forced to make compromises or taken risks to keep figures low. But with Hyperflex, the daily changes in costs of connectivity, storage or compute can be adjusted too, so there’s always the best use of resources. No other platform ensures the same bang-for-buck from the resource pool.
– Agility and scalability. Instead of having to over-provision as much as budgets allow in each procurement cycle, resources can be spun up just-in-time. Effectively, the pay-as-you-use mentality can now extend over compute, storage and network, with only demands from business functions determining costs.
– Customer (or user) experiences. In today’s markets, it only takes a system slow-down for a user to click away, use a competitor’s products, shop elsewhere or look to a different supplier or partner. With Hyperflex Anywhere, the enterprise has the available resources on tap, ready to respond, either according to schedules, manual control or rulesets determined by triggers (like peaks in demand needing more compute or network, for instance). Hyperflex provides the type of agility and burst capabilities for short-term peaks in demand, yet is massively scalable in the medium- to long-term: just add more nodes in any cloud, virtualized environment, on edge, on bare metal, or to run legacy databases.
The type of abstraction that Cisco solutions like ACI Anywhere and Hyperflex Anywhere offer, means IT departments can respond as quickly as the broader business wants it to — empowering and providing, without unnecessary delay, without compromising security, and without giving the FP & A Department nightmares. The Hyperflex series from Cisco has a solution for your enterprise’s business needs. Get in touch with a product specialist to learn more.