The Internet has undergone dramatic changes over the past decade. However, in the enterprise data center, the changes are not very big. IT administrators still need to spend time managing the "island-style" IT systems, and the deployment and configuration of IT infrastructure is still relatively difficult, in addition, the energy consumption continues to rise. As a result, Converged Infrastructure (CI) has become increasingly important.
Integrated infrastructure, rapid resource sharing and deployment
The word integrated infrastructure was actually created three years ago by HP. Gartner calls it an integrated system, while Cisco calls it a unified computing system (UCS ). Although there are different naming conventions, their internal philosophy is the same-integrating servers, storage, and networks into a shared resource pool that is provided to end users through pre-Configuration Systems. In this way, the IT system construction time is reduced from weeks or months to days or even hours.
These integrated infrastructure provides a single management platform and provides reference architectures for common applications such as SAP, Siebel, Oracle, and Microsoft (such as HP Cloud Maps and Cisco Flexpod ).
"This is very popular with users. Converged infrastructure represents about 6% of IT spending on data centers, but over the past few years, converged infrastructure has grown by as high as 50% ." Andrew Neff, vice president of Gartner, said.
Over the past three and a half years, this growth has pushed Cisco to the second largest blade supplier in North America (second only to HP. Satinder Sethi, vice president of Cisco data center group, said Cisco did not even sell blades before the release of the UCS. Today, the company claims to have 20 thousand blade users, representing $1.6 billion in revenue and 23.5% in the blade market share.
Break IT islands
Vendors have always understood that they want to help users achieve IT acceleration to meet their business needs. virtualization and cloud computing have been placed on high hopes. Virtualization also improves utilization and saves IT operation expenses, but IT is not enough. Virtual machines spread, and various hypervisors quickly become new headaches for IT administrators. At the same time, private cloud is often a new "island" in the data center ".
So what is the difference between the integrated infrastructure? According to vendors, the capability of integrated infrastructure is to flat the data center architecture (mainly to extract computing, storage, and network from CPU, Rack, cable, and controller) instead, it breaks down the "island" in the data center ". For example, Duncan Campbell, vice president of HP enterprise group solutions and marketing strategy, explained that operating systems and CPUs are decoupled to add a single management point, you have taken the first step towards SDN.
Campbell claims that it is like a virtualization 2.0 technology for workloads (rather than servers. "People get tired of DIY and like to integrate systems ." Said Campbell.
"Converged infrastructure really captures user needs," said Jason Needham, vice president of product management and marketing at F5 Networks. "This does allow them to examine their IT infrastructure from a new perspective, however, the reality is that they cannot be restarted immediately. For example, the concept of integrated controller in SDN is still a promise that can be fulfilled in the future ."
New bottled old wine?
If the integrated infrastructure makes you feel a bit like utility computing, grid computing, shared servers, SOA or cloud computing, then you feel right.
The difference between today's integrated infrastructure is that it is borderless, pre-configured, pre-optimized, and usually preloads the applications required by users in advance, in this way, users can almost implement "out-of-the-box ".
For example, both IBM PureData and Oracle Exadata are for big data applications. Cisco products allow users to freely choose products from VCE alliance members to build their own infrastructure. HP products support a variety of hypervisor and a combination of storage and network products.
The core of the integrated infrastructure is to eliminate the configuration of servers, SAN, LAN, and upper-layer applications, and change to a plug-and-play box for people ".
Neff said that the user is ultimately concerned with TCO (total cost of ownership). If the integrated infrastructure can meet the ROI (ROI) requirements while reducing TCO, therefore, it must meet the user requirements.
On the other hand, users also face challenges when purchasing integrated infrastructure systems. In a large-scale scale-out environment, it is not helpful to buy some integrated racks. In addition, if you continuously buy a large number of devices from a vendor, you may lose the bargaining power.
Converged infrastructure is most suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises with only a small number of IT employees. In any case, the era of integrated infrastructure may have arrived. HP, Cisco, and other vendors already have thousands of users, and this market is growing fast.