What SMEs need to know about hyperconvergence

Here, we look at why hyperconvergance is receiving so much attention in IT circles, and how businesses can make use of it to do more with less.

Demands on IT in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to rise exponentially. Budget changes alongside increased application and customisation demands are just some of the competing IT priorities stretching IT administrators to the limit. At the same time, new technologies like hyperconvergence bring improved efficiency, scaling, and management breakthroughs.

What is hyperconvergence?

Hyperconvergence is a complex word for a simple solution. A hyperconverged IT infrastructure is one that combines hypervisor, storage, and networking into a single appliance that can be clustered to provide high availability for running virtual machines. This architecture brings simplicity, high availability, and scalability together into the data centre, which is perfect for the SME. Even more simply put, hyperconvergence combines everything you need in one easy package. Unlike convergence, which came before it, hyperconvergence integrates all of the OS and hypervisor software with the hardware, aiding simplicity for the SME and reducing the responsibility gap where one vendor can blame system failures on another, and vice-versa.

Cost and complexity

Technology can be really expensive, which means that the gap between the larger companies with their equally large budgets and SMEs can easily grow. Converged and even some ‘hyperconverged’ solutions require third party virtualisation software licensing on top of the solution cost. With a true hyperconverged solution, where the hypervisor is seamlessly integrated, you do not need to purchase virtualisation software or licenses from any vendor, reducing both cost and complexity.

Simplicity and the streamlined IT department

All companies these days are essentially IT companies. From computers to mobiles, almost everything is connected and generating data. Many SMEs are left wondering how they can manage their data efficiently and create a simple, scalable data centre without an IT department. Statistics show that the vast majority of SMEs have very few IT staff (either one or between 2-4) dedicated to IT infrastructure. In such organisations, staff are required to assume multiple roles, often being responsible for many areas of the environment, including networking, servers, storage, and virtualisation. One of the promises of a hyperconverged infrastructure is the simplification of the data centre environment, making it easier for smaller numbers of staff to better support the entire environment. They have been specifically built for easy deployment and to be managed by IT administrators who want to spend more time focused on business needs and applications, rather than troubleshooting infrastructure and hardware issues.

Scalable

Now that your IT department of one to four people has deployed the new hyperconverged box, the time and money saved will mean you can dedicate more time and resource to the actual running of your business. What follows then is business growth, which brings us back full circle to your IT. How can you scale your IT so that it can keep up with the data and business growth? The answer is to choose a hyperconverged solution that allows for you to scale in the first place. Plan this in from the beginning. Modular systems that allow you to seamlessly add on nodes, for example, mean you can easily scale up, as and when you need to, instead of having to outlay ahead for any future growth.

Knowledge is power and by getting the basics of your data centre unified, and therefore simplified, your business is free to grow without the technology growing pains.

Jason Collier is co-founder of Scale Computing.

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