Cloud is becoming a key plank in virtually every organisation’s technology strategy. The potential benefits of cloud are now widely understood, among them the ability to save money and reduce IT management overheads, meaning more resources can be ploughed into other parts of your business.
But moving to cloud won’t necessarily deliver these benefits if it’s done in isolation: organisations also need to look at their data centre operations and streamline how these are run.
The need to rationalise your data centre as you move to cloud
It’s unlikely any business will move all its systems to the cloud – certainly not in the short term. This means maintaining a physical data centre footprint for systems that haven’t yet moved to the cloud, or that must remain on-premises, perhaps for regulatory reasons.
However, as you migrate to the cloud, it’s important for you to slim down this data centre presence. Imagine, for example, that you migrate your CRM system to the cloud, but the server in your data centre that it was using is still required for another business application, so can’t be retired. This means that rather than saving money, you’ll have more infrastructure to pay for, manage and maintain – not to mention the fact you’ve now got the opportunity cost of a server sitting there massively under-utilised, because you can’t (easily) use it for anything else.
This is a common challenge: most businesses have a complex web of servers, storage and networking infrastructure in their data centres, built up over time to serve specific purposes. And as our example just illustrated, it makes achieving the full benefits of cloud more difficult.
Hyperconvergence in the data centre
One way to tackle this issue is to consolidate this sprawling setup down into a much smaller number of standardised ‘hyper-converged’ platforms. These combine server and storage in a single appliance, which becomes the building block for a platform (or platforms) that can play host to all your non-cloud data and applications.
Data centre hyperconvergence has a number of advantages that are key to realising the promises of cloud.
Firstly, it means you have one shared pool of on-premises IT resources from which to run your applications and services. This means that when you move an application to the cloud, the capacity it frees up can either be used to meet growth needs of another application (thereby removing the need for additional capital expenditure), or safely switched off (thereby reducing your data centre costs).
Secondly, a hyper-converged platform is easier to manage, because there will be one place to administer the various components. In a traditional setup, where these would typically come from different manufacturers, there would be several. Linked to this is the fact that not having integrate equipment from different vendors further eases the burden on your in-house systems administration teams.
Accelerating your digital transformation
These factors demonstrate why hyperconvergence in your own data centre is essential if you’re to achieve the full benefits of cloud. Hyperconvergence enables you to operate a much more efficient and flexible on-premises estate that takes less time and effort to manage. Consequently, it will help you save money and free up resources to focus on accelerating your wider digital transformation.
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