As the workhorse of a business, the data centre is a critical piece of infrastructure – the heart, lungs and brain combination that ensures all other systems can function. However in many businesses, the data centre has become a sprawling, unplanned stack of equipment, added to over time to manage the increasing demands of the business, as they happen. As the data centre grows, so too do the solutions required to monitor, manage and secure it. This often results in a system that is complex, inefficient and cumbersome. Fortunately, data centre managers looking to stay on the front foot are strategising and turning to new solutions that are helping them optimise their data centre’s, bringing increased efficiency and agility.
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) simplifies the data centre, allowing it to operate more efficiently, with less complexity. HCI offers a single, centrally managed unit that uses software-defined compute, network and storage that is easier to deploy, manage and scale than traditional stack gear.
Cisco HyperFlex, for example, fully integrates network, compute and storage in a platform fully engineered to scale resources independently whilst delivering consistently high performance. HyperFlex ensures the optimal use of storage, without adversely affecting VM (platform virtualisation software) performance, with native inline deduplication and compression, which is easily managed and analysed from the same dashboard, making it very user friendly for the whole IT department. Data is securely distributed across all servers and storage to reduce data-jams. Management is also consolidated and monitored centrally, combining the usually separate silos for compute and storage. HyperFlex can also independently scale, compute and store data. When servers and drives are added or removed, data is automatically rebalanced, providing the right resources for different application needs. This saves the IT department the time and effort usually taken up with managing performance.
HyperFlex is fast and easy to deploy – it really is a plug in and power solution. Cisco UCS service profiles handle node configuration and connection, with deployment times being typically under an hour. Changes in hardware configuration are also handled automatically: integrated management detects any component plugged in to the system, meaning nodes can be added from the loading dock simply by plugging in network and power cables. So simple.
HyperFlex underwent third-party testing by Enterprise Strategy Group, which found that the HyperFlex all-flash and hybrid systems delivered higher, more consistent performance than other similarly configured HCI solutions using simulated OLTP and SQL workloads. The report also found that for hybrid clusters, HyperFlex maintained this high performance whilst also consistently outpacing the other models in terms of higher IOPS (input/output operations per second) and lower latency, all while supporting more than twice the number of VMs than both software-based and engineered proprietary systems. The HyperFlex all-flash cluster meanwhile, outperformed the competitors even without data reduction capability turned on. Importantly, HyperFlex all-flash performance was also consistent across all VMs in the cluster. This could not be said of the comparison models, which shows widely varying IOPS. With options for 10Gbs or 40Gbs as part of the integrated network solution Cisco Hyperflex offers increased connectivity throughput which adds to the performance improvements.
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