Converged Solutions for the Next Gen Datacenter

Our customer’s data center architectures continue to evolve, as they look for ways to squeeze additional efficiency, agility and costs out of their IT and overall business operations. The era of the virtualized data center has morphed the manner in which many corporate data centers operate, and helped them gain advantages in application portability and agility, as well as cost reductions to due hardware consolidation. Now that virtualization has been well adopted, our customers have asked us to guide them on the next inflection point in the data center.

An area where we believe such a major optimization is still possible is at the storage layer, specifically the commonly used storage network layer (NAS and SAN). One of the more interesting approaches that have arrived on the market recently are converged solutions – where the compute server and the storage network are combined – thereby eliminating the need for a separate, dedicated storage network or array. The main idea is to create a tight integration of compute servers and shared storage resources into a single platform. Typically, these platforms will be built on reliable, but commodity off-the-shelf components such as Intel processors, Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks, SAS and flash disk drives. Moreover, the converged platform can scale-out across multiple servers, with a shared storage capability with a shared namespace or file system. This allows scale-out applications to access storage resources efficiently and with low-latency, such as in a scalable database implementation commonly used in multi-tier enterprise applications.

Solutions are available from multiple vendors in this space, with some varied approaches in the level of integration. Some are complete single vendor solutions that are pre-packaged with everything is provided to get started immediately, and reduce footprint and power costs. There are other approaches that involve multiple vendor components, with more degrees of freedom to optimize the solution along different parameters, but with more up front expertise required. Achieving the goals of faster productivity, improved agility and lower costs may require investigating both approaches. Contact us today to discuss your requirements for a converged infrastructure solution.