25.01.2021 I Author / Editor: Henrik Hasenkamp / Ulrike Ostler
Hyperconverged infrastructures have been popular with enterprises for some time now due to their flexible on-demand compute, storage and network resources. In addition to the possibility of combining one's own IT infrastructure into an overall appliance, hyperconverged infrastructures also offer the ideal complement for the service portfolio of system houses.
Managing and configuring IT infrastructures is relatively time-consuming for companies. The reason for this is the large number of IT resources that are independent of each other. These include servers, storage, computing power and the network.
The perfect coordination of these resources and thus of the entire corporate IT therefore often takes years and requires a professional IT team. This is because if requirements change, all components must be adapted to them separately and to each other anew in each case.
Hyperconverged infrastructure has developed in response to this. The entire IT infrastructure is virtualized and thus becomes a single appliance. As a result, users increasingly benefit from IT that is flexibly oriented to their needs.
Here, an abstracted layer with virtual servers is used to request the required resources, while the system allocates them accordingly. The more flexible use of IT resources, together with centralized management, is the key advantage of hyperconvergence.
Challenges for data centers and system houses
In addition to the hypervisor that manages and allocates resources, hyperconverged infrastructures are characterized by software-defined storage and software-defined networking. Instead of relying on dedicated storage area networks (SANs), the storage component is largely orchestrated by software.
This eliminates dependencies and the external storage units do not have to be managed separately by the company's own IT. Software-defined networking works in a similar way, where functions can be assigned to existing hardware as needed and are no longer tied to vendor-specific hardware.
While enterprises can make use of IaaS providers to move their own IT infrastructure to the cloud, data center operators and system houses are under pressure. With a multitude of users, the amount of data they need to store is growing exponentially. Particularly as a result of the Corona pandemic, many companies have taken a fresh look at digitization and, as a result, the demands on the system houses' catalog of solutions have also expanded.
Hybrid management in the white label model
Not only are data volumes increasing in the long term, but so are the complexity and requirements of workloads. The more business processes are digitized, the greater the demands for fast availability and optimized transfer speeds. In addition, data protection and the possibility of meeting internal company compliance requirements in the digital space are increasingly coming into focus. These are decisive arguments for companies, particularly with regard to the use of cloud offerings.
HCI models not only allow companies to use virtualization productively, but also open up new opportunities for system houses to offer solutions. They can thus offer virtual data centers themselves and meet the digitalization pressures of their customers. The previously existing data center and hardware infrastructure is transferred to the cloud and the characteristics of the hyperconverged infrastructure are retained.
The migration can be implemented quickly thanks to prefabricated rack solutions in combination with powerful HCI software - both for the system house and the end user. Existing customers then use a prefabricated and easy-to-use interface to map their resource requirements for compute and storage capacities as granularly as they wish via the cloud.
Sophisticated HC infrastructure can be offered in white-label form via this route without much effort. The actual management and ongoing maintenance of the cloud infrastructure is carried out remotely and by the IaaS technology provider. In this way, the system houses can concentrate fully on selling the product, managed services they offer as a service based on the cloud solutions, and customer retention.
In view of the increasing data volumes and storage challenges, the step of moving data to the cloud offers a clear advantage. Companies sometimes only use external data centers for backing up data, which means that the direct interface to the actual company IT can be missing. For existing customers of system houses and data center providers, this creates a closer business relationship and easy use of the full product portfolio in the cloud via a single user interface. At the same time, cloud use is more flexible and cost-effective for both providers and end customers, and system houses are no longer limited to physical resources.
If the existing data centers are located in the EU or other secure European countries, they are subject to the local data protection regulations and guarantee customers corresponding security standards in the public cloud as well. One example of this is the partnership between Swiss Internet service provider hosttech and Cologne-based cloud technology provider gridscale, on whose hybrid core technology the new hosttech.cloud is based.
By using hyper-convergent infrastructure based on gridscale technology, hosttech offers its customers a new cloud service that promises high flexibility, security and intuitive operation. For hosttech, this means a major competitive advantage over its own competitors, and demand for the new cloud solution is enormous, according to the provider.
Expansion for greater flexibility
For system houses and data center operators, user requirements change as dynamically as new technologies evolve. With increasing interest in greater flexibility and customizable pricing models, the ability to offer cloud models through hyperconverged infrastructure is particularly attractive to IT service providers. Since they are not responsible for the ongoing management of the infrastructure themselves, their service portfolio can, in a sense, be expanded immediately without additional effort, while offering a variety of competitive advantages. In order to keep up with the times and be able to offer customers different services depending on their needs, system houses should therefore definitely consider hyperconverged infrastructure with hybrid management in their strategic orientation.
The original article in german can be found here.