The Evolution to Composable Infrastructure

Historically, when a new IT business initiative was required, either an application or service, IT was requested to get infrastructure working and available to support it. This could take time and resources, and might have required manual efforts. So organisations have been looking for better ways to meet these business needs, including using cloud-based technologies to automate resources provisioning.

Data centre infrastructure that is used to support applications and services generally falls into one of three categories:

Traditional Infrastructure

Many organisations still operate Traditional Infrastructure inherited from the days before virtualisation became standard. Using Traditional Infrastructure results in organisations deploying different kinds of infrastructure – physical and virtual – requiring different kinds of hardware and software, which also requires separate skill sets to manage it. Traditional infrastructure results, therefore, in silos of infrastructure which more often than not leads to separate teams that are needed to manage each silo: a team to manage storage, another one for servers, one for networks and in many cases cross-function teams such as virtualisation teams.

What is the result for organisations that still operate with Traditional Infrastructure? It’s an IT environment that is not very flexible, with varying degrees of complex and manual processes in place. It requires engaging multiple teams and creates all kind of inefficiencies that require coordination and a whole lot of skills, which can often be really hard and really expensive to acquire.

Converged Infrastructure

Converged Infrastructure was introduced to reduce the complexity of the multiple silos of Traditional Infrastructure by combining and preconfiguring physical IT assets. Converged Infrastructure allows organisations to procure the whole compute, storage, and network environment as a unit. This mitigates the risks of interoperability issues and results in infrastructure that is much easier to manage.

Converged Infrastructure massively simplifies procurement. It improves staff productivity by assuring hardware interoperability and it ships with administration tools that can simplify the management of the full environment. However, Converged Infrastructure is not built on new hardware. Instead, it’s a combination of existing products and is not as flexible as needed for today’s IT demands. Because it is only suitable for targeted workloads, it creates a problem that it was actually intended to solve: silos – in this case of Converged Infrastructure in the data centre.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Hyperconverged Infrastructure allows organisation to remove the need to purchase and maintain dedicated storage. Instead of deploying storage arrays or storage islands, storage is distributed among the compute nodes that comprise the virtualisation clusters. In Hyperconverged Infrastructure, each node operates as a virtualisation host and storage cluster. This eliminates the need to manage dedicated, complex and expensive storage silos.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure eases management simply by eliminating storage arrays, as all the storage is managed by the hypervisor. Hyperconverged Infrastructure simplifies scalability too. When more capacity is needed, whether compute, RAM, network uplinks or storage, requirements can be met simply by adding more nodes to the cluster. For small deployments, Hyperconverged Infrastructure can reduce costs by meeting IT requirements with several integrated nodes.

But Hyperconverged Infrastructure has downsides too. It is unsuitable for supporting physical workloads. It is not flexible enough to scale storage or compute resources separately. This makes it problematic for large deployments.

A new category of infrastructure: Composable Infrastructure

Composable Infrastructure is a new category of infrastructure introduced by HPE to solve the problems of previous infrastructure, and most importantly to support organisations to do the work they need to do. Composable Infrastructure enables IT administrators to service organisations as cloud providers, maximising the speed, agility and efficiency of IT infrastructure. It also makes it easier to define and meet SLAs, and provides predictable performance to support the workload of both today and tomorrow.

Composable Infrastructure is designed around three core principles: software-defined intelligence, a fluid pool of resources and a unified API.

  • Software-defined intelligence provides a single management interface to integrate operational silos and eliminate complexity. It simplifies operational activities by allowing for more automation and template-driven workloads.

  • A fluid pool of resources can effortlessly meet each application’s changing needs by allowing for the composition and recomposition of single blocks of disaggregated compute, storage, and fabric infrastructure.

  • A unified API provides a single interface to discover, configure, provision, update and diagnose the composable infrastructure.

A comparison of Traditional, Converged, Hyperconverged and Composable Infrastructure

Data Centre Architecture Spectrum

 
Traditional
Converged
Hyperconverged
Composable
Complexity
High Moderate Moderate Low
Provisioning
Days, weeks, months Days, weeks Hours, minutes Minutes, seconds
Flexibility
Moderate, but very complex Moderate Moderate High
Scaling
Difficult Moderate Simple Simple
Workloads Supported
Physical, virtual containers Physical, virtual, containers Virtual, containers Physical, virtual, containers

Get in contact with an NTT ICT expert to understand how Composable Infrastructure can lower your operational costs in traditional environments while simultaneously increasing your operational agility. Or ask us any other questions you have about this exciting new technology. Visit http://www.nttict.com/hpe-synergy for more information. 

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Orlando Garcia NTT ICT Australia web
Author Name: Orlando Garcia

Orlando Garcia is a HPE Solutions Consultant at NTT Communications ICT Solutions. He is a HPE technology evangelist who supports NTT ICT's HPE business by establishing mission critical platforms, or introducing HPE's next generation technologies for customers.

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Added 28 September 2017

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