Bringing any new technology into the data center means figuring out how to fit it into your data center along with all the technology that’s already there: unless you’re building a brand new data center from scratch and don’t have any existing applications, there’s always an integration challenge.
This is true even for hyperconverged platforms. Even though the hyperconverged platform is itself a self-contained, integrated device, it still needs to be integrated with your existing infrastructure. This means addressing these seven integration challenges:
1. Eliminating support silos
The main goal for many organizations in adopting hyperconverged platforms is to eliminate silos. By having compute, storage, network, and virtualization in a single box, you no longer need separate teams to manage your compute, storage, network, and virtualization resources. The arguments over who’s responsible for solving a particular problem go away. But now your team needs to be reorganized to support this new kind of device. Unless you reorganize carefully, the team can become a new kind of silo focused solely on supporting a single vendor’s products, with any other devices you use needing support from a different team.
2. Virtual machine integration
If you’ll be migrating your existing virtual machines to the new platform, you need to consider whether the hypervisor you’re currently using is supported on the new platform. Migration will be considerably easier if the new device supports your existing virtual machines. Some hyperconverged platforms, such as Nutanix, support multiple hypervisors and make this transition easier.
3. Storage integration
As with virtual machine integration, unless you’re starting completely from scratch, you’ll need to integrate your storage solutions, too. Your legacy systems may need to access hyperconverged storage, and your hyperconverged applications may need to access legacy storage.
4. Management integration
You don’t want to have to manage your new hyperconverged platforms independently from your existing devices; that would largely defeat the point. Make sure you’ll be able to get an overall picture of your data center to support management and performance tuning from a single point of view.
5. Disaster recovery integration
Resilience, backup, and recovery are built into the hyperconverged architecture. But that architecture by itself doesn’t eliminate the need for a business continuity strategy. It isn’t enough to say you’ve got DR built into the box; you need to understand how to use that capability and how it affects your recovery plans.
6. Data security
The security challenges in a hyperconverged platform aren’t because it’s difficult to achieve integration; they come about because the system is, by definition, so integrated. With compute and storage managed from one controller, and data and control planes adjacent, the concept of defense in depth has to change; there simply isn’t much depth. In some ways, the concept goes away, because if hackers find a hole anywhere, they’re in everywhere.
The integration challenges of scaling come about because scaling hyperconverged systems means that growing storage, compute, or network means growing storage, compute, and network. They’re built into one device, so they don’t grow independently.
These challenges don’t mean that hyperconverged platforms are difficult to use; indeed, the whole promise of them is that once you’ve transitioned, managing the data center becomes easier. It does mean that you need to think through your strategy carefully to make sure your transition successfully integrates with your existing data center.
If you’d like to learn more about how to overcome the challenges of hyperconverged platform integration to reap the benefits of hyperconverged architecture, contact dcVAST. Our professional services can help you analyze the impact of hyperconverged architecture on your data center and operations, and our managed Nutanix services can execute the migration and keep it running.