5 Ways CI can become a catalyst for change in the Data Center

If you want the data center of tomorrow, you have to start somewhere today.  

While a converged infrastructure allows CIOs to lower IT management costs and speed implementation and deployment of new services, those benefits may be too nebulous to support a funding request for a complete infrastructure overhaul all at once.  A better strategy is to look for building blocks, and introduce them one at a time.  Savvy CIOs looking for a solid starting point are taking an application-centric view of their data centers, choosing a specific, mission-critical application and introducing a pre-integrated converged architecture for that workload into their data centers as a foundation to a more expansive IT transformation journey.

Looking at the data center from an application-centric viewpoint gives CIOs an opening for change. Instead of looking at your entire data center and wondering how you’ll ever get it all standardized, select a specific workload in need of change and use that as the premise to bring in a modern integrated architecture.  IT pros who have legacy Windows 2003 servers humming away in racks, for example, are probably starting to sweat the platform’s coming end-of-life knowing they’ll have to answer to a Board of Directors about operating on an unsupported architecture.  This is a perfect opportunity to perform an application rationalization exercise to determine your upgrade and migration strategy and to bring up the new environment in parallel on a converged infrastructure for a risk-minimized cutover.  Whether it’s Windows 2003, Microsoft SharePoint, a Big Data analytics initiative, or SAP modernization, an application-centric approach gives you the starting point you’re looking for.

An application-centric approach also allows you to take advantage of the significant investment manufacturers have made on your behalf.  A perfect example is the co-investment HP has made with key application developers such as Microsoft and SAP to design balanced ConvergedSystem solutions. CS solutions offer preconfigured, pre-tested and ISV-certified systems with balanced architectures.  HP has specifically optimized its ConvergedSystem portfolio for virtualization, collaboration, cloud, VDI and Big Data workloads, and HP’s new infrastructure management tool, HP OneView, has been released with these ConvergedSystem solutions to offer IT pros the full end-to-end solution management that you’d expect from that kind of partnership.

5 Ways CI for Specific Application Workloads can become a Catalyst for Change in the Data Center

  1. Peak Performance: Hardware manufacturers have worked closely with application providers to test various product configurations, developing reference architectures tuned for specific workloads.  So, for example, when you order HP AppSystem for Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse, you know it will perform well – i.e., up to 100x faster query performance.  It’s not exactly an appliance, but it’s moving in that direction to give IT pros a much higher degree of confidence that the solution will achieve its intended purpose.
  2. Stronger Support: When you buy a converged infrastructure for a validated application, that solution has already been designated as a supported configuration, giving you a leg up when it comes to vendor-level tech support.
  3. Balanced Resources: A converged system brings with it the confidence that it has the appropriate level of compute, storage and network resources to support that application workload.  In contrast, a best-of-breed, create-your-own approach can result in over- or under-provisioning of a given resource and an out-of-balance system.  With a converged solution, the CIO can take full advantage of all the lab and engineering time the OEMs and software developers have spent cooperatively working to ensure every aspect of the system is in sync.
  4. Controlled, Repeatable Tests: An integrated system is greater than the sum of its parts; it’s pre-configured, pre-validated and pre-tested under controlled, repeatable factory conditions so you can be assured you’ll be up and running faster.
  5. Operational Efficiency: One of the fundamental steps in moving from reactive IT to proactive IT is standardization.  When you have standardization of resources – something a converged infrastructure offers – you’re able to take advantage of automation and orchestration tools, which in turn builds operational efficiencies so you can complete routine tasks faster, more consistently and more reliably.

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