2013 is the year of… Converged Infrastructure?

I attended the SDDC roadshow in March and VMware announced that 2013 would be the year of VDI and Software defined Data Center but I heard Tikiri Wanduragala (IBM) saying it would be the year of converged infrastructure and my first response was: “2013 is going to be a busy year…”

Apparantly the trend is to virtualize everything in our datacenter so we get a Software defined datacenter, we’re already doing server (and desktop) virtualization for years with obvious reasons of ease of use/time to market and more technical; efficiency, lowering power consumption, less racks etc etc.

But more recently we started with Software Defined Networking (SDN) to redefine the way we do networking in our modern day datacenter. With SDN we can abstract the intelligence of networking from the physical layer and thereby simplifying network infrastructures.

And now the concept of SDN is getting a grasp we got introduced with software defined datacenter on which other people already did a great job by writing a blog on SDDC and what it’s all about.

Brian Gracely did a short video on this topic:

The most recent developments are based on software defined storage on which for examlple EMC, VMware, Nutanix and Nexenta are focusing.

When I googled on the definition of converged infrastructure I found the following definition:

Converged infrastructure packages multiple information technology (IT) components into a single, optimized computing solution. Components of a converged infrastructure solution include servers, data storage devices, networking equipment and software for IT infrastructure management, automation and orchestration.
Converged infrastructure is used by IT organizations to centralize the management of IT resources, consolidate systems, increase resource utilization rates, and lower costs. These objectives are enabled by the creation of pools of computers, storage and networking resources that can be shared by multiple applications and managed in a collective manner using policy driven processes.
IT vendors and industry analysts use various terms to describe the concept of a converged infrastructure. These include converged system, unified computing, fabric-based computing, and dynamic infrastructure.

After some analysis I found that all of the major players in the infrastructure market came to market with a (somehow) converged infrastructure:

conv_infra

 

VCE vBlock

vBlock is based on the following compositional elements:

  • EMC provides storage and provisioning
  • Cisco provides compute and networking
  • VMware provides virtualization

Cisco/NetApp FlexPod

FlexPod is based on the following components:

  • NetApp provides storage and provisioning
  • Cisco provides compute and networking
  • VMware/Citrix/Microsoft can provide virtualization

There’s an ExpressPod for SMB since a while but this is scaled on environments under 500 users.

Dell vStart

vStart is based on the following components:

  • Dell provides storage and provisioning
  • Dell provides compute and networking
  • VMware/Microsoft can provide virtualization
Nutanix

Nutanix is based on the following components:

  • Nutanix provides storage and provisioning
  • Nutanix provides compute
  • VMware/KVM can provide virtualization
 IBM PureSystems

PureSystems is based on the following components:

  • IBM provides storage and provisioning
  • IBM provides compute and networking
  • PowerVM, KVM, VMware, or Microsoft can provide virtualization

I didn’t incorporate the IBM PureSystems because the original image is from Nutanix. As far as I can see all hardware solutions are traditional hardware components but optimized to run as converged infrastructure with one exception: Nutanix. They use the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS) and by using NDFS they eliminate the need of a SAN because they deliver distributed storage (or SDS if you may) so this solution is radically different from other vendors.

nutanix-intro-4

What does stand out is that all major players in this particular line of business are betting on this one horse and I guess I know why and I’m quoting Barry Schiffer on this one:

“IT is overcomplexing things. We tend to find a solution for a problem and that ‘solution’ is causing it’s own problem again and so on and so on…”

..and that’s excactly what’s happening,we’re adding more and more layers while over complexing things and this new way of approach can simplify designs, reduces the number of ‘moving components’ and makes it easy to understand for all sys admins, consultants and architects (even sales!!) so will this be the year of converged infra? I don’t know but what I do know is that this will need a different approach on how we look at infrastructures and this could be the way to do this.

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Kees Baggerman

Kees Baggerman is a Staff Solutions Architect for End User Computing at Nutanix. Kees has driven numerous Microsoft and Citrix, and RES infrastructures functional/technical designs, migrations, implementations engagements over the years.

2 comments

  1. […] I attended the SDDC roadshow in March and VMware announced that 2013 would be the year of VDI and Software defined Data Center but I heard Tikiri Wanduragala (IBM) saying it would be the year of converged infrastructure…  […]

  2. […] “ I attended the SDDC roadshow in March and VMware announced that 2013 would be the year of VDI and Software defined Data Center but I heard Tikiri Wanduragala (IBM) saying it would be the year of converged infrastructure…”  […]

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