Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) has been around for some time, but it is now being used by many mainstream enterprise data centers. It blends the elements of a traditional three-tier architecture (compute, storage and networking) into a single software-defined solution. In doing so, it offers cloud-like economics and scale without compromising on performance, resiliency and availability.
That’s all well and good, but much is made of HCI’s ability to reduce your operating costs. Is that true, and exactly how does HCI do it?
Modern IT’s biggest challenges
With multi-billion-dollar digital transformation projects already in progress, IT needs to justify every dime spent. This goes beyond upfront capital expenditure. You need to maximize the efficiency of every investment over time.
Three-tier legacy infrastructure was costly over its lifetime for three reasons:
- Costly purpose-built storage needed to be purchased in large chunks. It wasn’t scalable or available as part of a fractional consumption model.
- Provisioning was slow and difficult; flexible it was not.
- Separate management tools meant greater complexity.
Painful lift-and-shift migrations were commonplace. Licensing costs and maintenance contracts further added to the bill.
Three ways HCI helps reduce TCO
HCI is a great way to reduce both CapEx and OpEx. Reducing both means you achieve a lower overall TCO, with IDC calculating in 2017 that HCI provides a five-year return-on-investment of 534% and a 60% reduction in five-year operating costs running Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform solutions.
It does this in three ways:
- Scalability and fractional consumption
Traditional fixed-cost IT infrastructure offers very few scalability options. It’s a big-box model, meaning any unused capacity still has to be paid for. And they often have lengthy – and costly – multiple-year contracts. HCI uses a fractional consumption model, meaning it can scale incrementally, letting users buy what they need as data grows.
- Reduced infrastructure costs
HCI’s use of industry-standard x86 processors and components instead of expensive bespoke tools means cost efficiencies are built-in from the get-go. According to a global survey from Nutanix, reduced costs were the second-most common benefit of HCI after improved operational efficiency.
- Simplified management
HCI is easier to manage than legacy environments. It combines compute, storage and networking in one place. Traditional siloed expertise is no longer needed, which streamlines operations and reduces costs.
Hardware supports costs can be reduced as well. Instead of siloed management of compute, storage and networking in a typical 3-tier architecture, HCI solutions converge these, enabling everything to be managed from a single pane of glass and eliminating specialized silos. Overall, typical 3-tier architecture would comprise silos, racks, different servers, different vendors, endless cables all to manage. HCI’s needs are much less.
HCI makes better use of automation, meaning sysadmins can eliminate smaller, time-consuming tasks while taking the pressure off more complex jobs.
Last but not least, AMD EPYC™ processor-based HCI solutions offer the potential for infrastructure consolidation — the ability to run the same workloads on less equipment. This effect is amplified by the high core count, memory capacity and I/O capabilities of AMD EPYC™ processors, helping you save on power, cooling and rack space costs.
Do the math
Over the past year, many organizations have ramped up their home-working capabilities, including virtualized desktops. This is another area where HCI beats traditional infrastructure. For real-world examples, look no further than this AMD case study on Richardson Electronics — just one organization that’s seeing the benefits.
HCI can even beat the costs of public cloud. Under certain circumstances HCI costs can be significantly lower than comparable public cloud instances.
Choose a record-breaking CPU for your HCI
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.