What does hyper-converged infrastructure mean for the future of enterprise application delivery?

Hyper-convergence is an extension of a converged infrastructure, where compute, server, storage, networking resources and software are pooled together on commodity hardware. They are usually systems from separate companies but designed to work very well together.

Simplicity is central

The benefits of this include massively simplified management, which makes things faster, more agile and more efficient. It’s one of the foundations of virtualisation, but hyper-convergence allows for even greater abstraction of software and hardware, more centralised management and a greater emphasis on virtualisation capabilities.

This is a modular system that is designed to scale out; instead of adding a new single component, for example, a whole new module is added, giving the entire system a boost. It also offers support for additional features including Wide Area Network (WAN) optimisation, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technology and data deduplication.

The advantages of a hyper-converged infrastructure are that it allows all elements to be managed from a single point – this is the perfect way to simplify the virtualised environment.

Speed and scalability

This has positive repercussions for the future of enterprise application delivery. Hyper-convergence has incredible scale-out capabilities and can handle thousands of virtual applications simultaneously, ensuring applications are delivered exactly when they need to be, without any latency issues. Along with availability, speed is one of the key features of enterprise application delivery.

Application delivery is changing all the time – people are accessing applications from mobile devices, home PCs, virtualised desktop environments and many other places that sit outside the traditional perimeter. This means that application delivery services have to up their game and offer increased availability, speed, load balancing and many more aspects, without compromising security.

The times they are a changing

The move towards hyper-converged solutions has already begun. EVO:RAIL, a partnership between VMware and Dell, has been seen as a game changer in the way it offers a simplified, hyper-converged infrastructure.

In essence EVO:RAIL is a single, integrated rack designed to address the headaches often caused by virtual machine sprawl and heterogeneous hypervisor support – as well as providing the means by which expanding deployments can be accelerated. For example, virtual desktop delivery for a global enterprise.

Soon there will be more solutions of this kind as the virtualisation market continues to shift. However what is clear is that hyper-converged infrastructures are knocking down the silos that still inhibit legacy IT, where networking, servers and storage are all operated independently. It’s making IT quicker, more agile and more efficient.

Of course, what matters next is getting the application delivery right; it’s no good having a system that does all of the above if the end-users cannot then use the applications they need to do their jobs.

By Gary Newe, Technical Director, F5 Networks

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