If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard for your IT department to do what you want them to do when you need it done, then you are certainly not alone. It’s very frustrating for everyone, IT included, when it takes forever to spin up a new app or grant access to an existing app for a new user.
The reasons for delays are as varied and complex as the infrastructures your organization depends on to stay in business. The biggest problem IT faces is technology changes so rapidly that every few years a newer better version of something needs to be installed in your company’s data center. Faster networking gear. Optimized front ends to speed the delivery of applications to more and more users in far flung parts of the corporate empire. Virtualization to save space, power and money–the list goes on and on.
Old Gear, New Gear Require Support
Unfortunately, all of this new gear and technology has to be supported by an often understaffed and under-resourced IT organization that is just holding onto what’s left of its collective sanity as new requests for new services continue to pour in. If that isn’t bad enough, all of the tech and gear that was so necessary a few years ago still needs to be supported and maintained just as new gear and technologies are piled on.
Often each new piece of kit or software has its own proprietary management systems (often referred to as middleware) that have to be installed, supported and learned, as well.
This constant resurfacing of the IT department, coupled with the Great Recession, has led many companies to put the brakes on the whole thing and rethink their IT spend from top to bottom. This is why many worthy projects have been sidelined or killed outright in recent years. The bottom line today is if there is no business case for deploying yet another new round of technology, then it probably isn’t going to get done.
The Case for Integration
This is why the idea of converged infrastructure (CI) — where servers, storage, networking, virtualization, and management are all part and parcel of an integrated offering that is optimized to work together with as little human input and maintenance as possible — has begun to take off recently. The idea isn’t new but the impetus for it is. And cloud in particular is driving this trend.
As more companies consolidate data centers and applications into virtualized environments and push business apps out to users in a one-to-many model over the public Internet and corporate networks, the need to save on administrative overhead, capital costs, and server and management sprawl, increases dramatically. This is why companies are taking a fresh look at CI.
These modular units are self-contained with all of the pieces and parts you need to basically plug them into you existing infrastructure, the data center “fabric,” and turn them on. Depending on complexity, these units can be up and running in hours or days — a far cry from the months and months it takes to spin up a rack of new servers.
As this trend towards ubiquitous computing continues to accelerate unabated, the need to deploy ever more capable clouds — private, public and hybrid — faster and more cost effectively will only increase, as well. Cloud is becoming the predominant platform to deliver business technology so people can get their jobs done anytime/anywhere using whatever device they want. This will only increase the need for faster deployments and simplified management schemes and that is where CI has the most to offer.