Over the past few years, hyper-converged storage has become one of the most talked about trends in the IT field. With more and more organisations jumping on the hyper-converged storage bandwagon, it’s natural to wonder whether this innovative new model truly lives up to the hype.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at what hyper-converged storage is as well as the benefits and drawbacks of hyper-converged storage that you need to consider before implementing this model into your organisation.
What is Hyper-Converged Storage?
Hyper-converged storage is an approach to data storage in which data is abstracted from its physical storage location and stored on virtualised blocks. Hyper-converged storage is just one aspect of the hyper-converged infrastructure model. In addition to storage, hyper-converged infrastructure also combines other technologies such as virtualisation, computation, and, in some cases, networking, into a single system made up of x86 hardware that can be centrally managed using a single toolset. In essence, hyper-converged storage allows organisations to present data from multiple sources in one, unified display – making the data easier to access and manage.
Benefits and Concerns of Hyper-Converged Storage
Hyper-converged storage offers several notable benefits that make it a model that is well worth considering. However, hyper-converged storage also comes with a few concerns that need to be taken into account as well before you take the plunge and convert to the hyper-converged storage model. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the top benefits and concerns associated with hyper-converged storage.
Benefit: simple to use and install
Hyper-converged storage allows you to purchase all of the data storage technology that you need as a single physical unit from a single vendor. This means that putting in place a hyper-converged storage system is practically as simple as correctly installing one single piece of hardware. Once you have the hardware installed, managing your data within a hyper-converged storage model is simplified as well since you are managing your data as a single system and working with a single vendor rather than having to manage multiple, different systems and work with multiple, different providers.
Another factor that contributes to the ease-of-use of hyper-converged storage is the fact that hyper-converged storage allows you to employ a smaller IT staff comprised of generalists rather than having to employ a larger staff comprised of IT professionals who have in-depth knowledge on how to manage all of the various systems that compose a traditional storage model.
Concern: it may or may not cut costs
Most hyper-converged storage vendors proudly proclaim that hyper-converged storage will allow your organisation to reduce costs associated with data storage. However, this claim isn’t always accurate. On the surface, hyper-converged storage is certainly a more affordable option. As you begin to add on features, though, the price of the model can quickly begin to climb. With that said, many of the features that can be added on to the base model of hyper-converged storage are necessary in order for you to actually enjoy the full benefits of hyper-converged storage. Before you put too much stock in the money that hyper-converged storage is going to allow you to save, be sure to add up the costs of the features that you will need and not just the costs of the base-level model.
Benefit: increased data security
Hyper-converged storage is designed with an important inevitability in mind: hardware will eventually fail. To prevent hardware failure from destroying or otherwise compromising important data, data backup systems and disaster recovery systems are automatically built-in to a hyper-converged storage infrastructure.
Concern: you may (somewhat) be locked into a single vendor
One of the most oft-discussed concerns of hyper-converged storage is being locked-in to a single vendor. The all-in-one design of hyper-converged storage means that you will be relying on one vendor for all of your data storage software (hardware, on the other hand, can be purchased from any vendor that you wish). While this certainly has its advantages, it does present some concerns if your vendor begins to demonstrate a lack of flexibility or goes out of business. In most cases, though, the benefits of working with a single vendor – such as ease of procurement and complete, easy integration – will outweigh the drawbacks.
If you are looking for a more efficient, more secure, and, in some cases at least, more cost-effective approach to data storage within your organisation then hyper-converged storage is a great option to consider. Before you fully buy into the hype, though, make sure that you carefully consider all of both the benefits and concerns that are associated with hyper-converged storage. In the end, carefully weighing the benefits and drawbacks of hyper-converged storage should enable you to determine whether or not this innovative new model is the right choice for your organisation.
Servers Australia provide fully managed VMWare platforms across clustered server environments running Hyper converged storage. For more information on the benefits of this type of environment and how these could be customised to your needs, talk to our Solutions team