The benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) include lower costs, greater agility, and simpler management. If you’ve made the decision to move to hyperconverged infrastructure, simplify your transition with these tips.
1. Choose the right hyperconverged infrastructure vendor.
Be sure you understand what your business goals are from using HCI as well as your technical requirements. If the product doesn’t support your current hypervisor, this will complicate your migration. If you are currently using multiple hypervisors, make sure the product will support them. Understand how the hardware can grow to meet your capacity needs, including whether you must purchase from the HCI vendor or if you can add commodity servers.
2. Create space for the hyperconverged infrastructure.
Whether or not you start with a small pilot project, make sure your physical space includes room for the HCI to grow. Because of the ease of expanding HCI capacity, you don’t need to install large amounts of spare capacity in advance, but you don’t want to cause delays in adding capacity when it’s needed because you lack room in the data center. Evaluate racks to make sure you have enough airflow and network ports.
3. Prepare your virtual machines for migration.
Decide which workloads to move to the new infrastructure. Resource-intensive applications may not be a good fit for HCI, which provide balanced network, storage, and compute capabilities. Virtual desktop infrastructure and test and development environments make good use of the HCI resources.
Once you’ve determined the kinds of workloads to migrate, review your virtual machine (VM) inventory. Pay special attention to inactive VMs to assess whether they should be migrated or deleted. Make sure the VM storage devices can be accessed by both the current servers and the HCI system.
4. Prepare your staff to support the new infrastructure.
HCI changes the way IT resources are delivered and supported; the responsibilities of your staff will change as well. The separation between storage management, compute management, and network management breaks down, as the hyperconverged nodes encapsulate all three.
There’s a particularly big impact on storage management, as there’s no more need to manage RAID; storage management is folded into VM storage policies. Your backup and disaster recovery strategies will also likely need review, as HCI is often bundled with backup software, replication capability, and high availability. Capacity management can change focus from planning for far off, estimated needs to a process that implements on demand expansion to support growth as it happens.
Your security team may also find their responsibilities and workload change, as HCI allows you to associate security policies at the application level. Because these policies remain attached to the application even if its VM is relocated, the security team doesn’t need to constantly keep up with changes like that.
5. Plan for infrastructure management changes.
Because HCI comes as a pretested configuration, you can simplify your processes for deploying and testing new equipment in your data center. Architectural decisions become easier, and configuration management is also reduced in complexity.
Make the Transition Easier
After you’ve thought through all these changes, it’s a good idea to do a pilot project and verify that your new equipment, new organization, and new procedures work effectively. It’s also a good idea to get expert support. dcVAST is experienced with hyperconverged infrastructure from multiple vendors including Nutanix, Simplivity, and Pivot3. With our insight, we design, deploy and provide managed services to help clients get the most benefit from their hyperconverged infrastructure. Contact us to learn more about preparing for a successful transition to HCI.