It is clear that the benefits of converged infrastructure in the enterprise are manifold, from vastly simplifying IT operations; supporting burgeoning digital projects; driving innovation, to helping CIOs thrive in the digital economy. CIOs and IT executives looking to deploy converged infrastructure are met with an overload of options and noise coming from the marketplace, so navigating the complexity is fundamental to delivering the necessary outcome.
One major consideration around how best to acquire converged infrastructure is whether you want to focus on integrating together some (or all) of the technologies and components required to build infrastructure or buy and consume a turnkey, fully engineered system.
Traditionally, IT organizations have preferred to build their outcomes by individually sourcing compute, networking, storage and software and integrating it themselves. These organizations have knowledgeable IT staff and want the most flexibility, choice, and control over the final solution. “Build” consumption models – such as reference architectures and pre-packaged hardware and software bundles – have helped IT simplify the procurement, deployment, and ongoing lifecycle management of a wide variety of solutions, most which were focused on a particular application or use case. They provide IT with some assurance that the solution will work, offer guidance and best practices for deployment and management, and make it easy to order by packaging some of the solution components together and offering sizing tools to streamline the purchasing process.
Although build outcomes provide tangible business value for customers, many businesses want to shift even more of the burden of building and maintaining infrastructure solutions to technology vendors. They want to buy their outcomes by consuming integrated solutions that will help them modernize their datacentre. These IT organizations want simple, easy to deploy infrastructure platforms that dramatically reduce the time, cost and risk of deploying, configuring and managing infrastructure hardware and software components separately. They are willing to trade some flexibility for a full turnkey engineered system that comes with end-to-end support and full lifecycle assurance – all provided by a single vendor.
If you are considering consuming converged infrastructure in the form of a turnkey, fully engineered, pre-integrated system with single vendor support, here are five outcomes that can be achieved by buying the solution.
1. Simplify aspects of IT
Today there is a substantial choice of technologies and solutions when it comes to building and maintaining the various elements of modern datacentre infrastructure. The time and cost required for selecting the right technology solutions for each workload, building these in-house, and then providing ongoing maintenance is not for all organizations. Converged infrastructure can only be truly harnessed to the full if it doesn’t support the protracted, siloed environment created by traditional IT teams to cope with the growing complexity around server, storage and networking disciplines.
2. Gain efficiency of IT resources
Building your own converged infrastructure solution is time consuming and labour intensive, and not every IT team is going to have the required skills, or the patience, to see it through. This includes the balance between flexibility and customisation, validating configurations, developing the single pane of glass to remove silos, not to mention engineering and manufacturing the end product. With a bought solution, however, the majority of this would be completed.
“To achieve the finely tuned formula to maximise the benefits and minimise the drama, there’s a wealth of different things to consider,” says Matt Oostveen, Chief Technology Officer, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division of Dell EMC. “There’s a lot of accumulated knowledge that goes into building the right solution, and at Dell EMC we’ve gone through seven years of developing a trusted and certified formula for customers.”
3. Reduce time spent on maintenance
A bought converged infrastructure delivers pre-validated components in a single engineered system. This means organizations won’t have allocate IT professionals to design, maintain interoperability, patch software and keep everything up-to-date as IT environments continue to scale.
“This is an element of the offering that Dell EMC engineered systems bring to the market. We pre-validate and pre-test all of the components within the converged infrastructure system, not just from the day you purchase the equipment, but on an ongoing basis,” says Oostveen. This vastly reduces the amount of planned and unplanned downtime compared to a Do It Yourself approach – by as much as 96 per cent, according to IDC.
4. Reduced time to realize value
Buying a converged solution means systems can be designed, built, configured and deployed within 60 days or less, because the detailed engineering has been done. This also frees up IT staff to drive business outcomes. This dramatically reduces the amount of time, from the moment you start planning then ordering components, through to assembly and the system integration process, to finally having an infrastructure that is ready to accept the workload. When taking a DIY approach, IDC found this process can take up to 160 days before the system is ready to accept mission critical workloads.
“If CIOs are too bogged down keeping the lights on, it can impact the quality IT service their organisation can provide,” says Oostveen. “Reducing the complexity of the infrastructure and environment provides velocity, because there is a strong link between complexity, cost and time. That means IT leaders can deploy technology at additional capacity to support business growth, launch new services and products, or streamline expansions to new geography.”
5. Lower cost of ownership
Building your own infrastructure may require lower initial investment, but many companies find that the operational expenses to maintain the compute, networking, and storage components are much higher over the long term. Purchasing, integrating, testing, and validating a complete solution typically requires more time and substantially more IT resources compared to converged solutions. This also applies to ongoing software upgrades that may be required to fix bugs or security vulnerabilities.
To have success, CIOs must understand the difference between ‘price’ and ‘cost’. IDC research has found that organisations can actually achieve savings of 41 per cent or more in TCO with pre-packaged, validated and tested converged infrastructure, while average annual datacentre costs can see a reduction of 72 per cent, per 100 users.
“A CIO needs to ask themselves - where is the real value in building it, and what competitive advantage will this bring us?” says Oostveen. Ultimately, to truly reap the true benefits of converged infrastructure in the modern datacentre, both IT and the business as a whole will benefit from a fully engineered solution.
Additional information about Dell EMC and its converged platform portfolio can be found at www.DellEMC.com
Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies, enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. Dell EMC services customers across 180 countries – including 98 percent of the Fortune 500 – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from edge to core to cloud.