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You’ve Implemented Hyperconverged Infrastructure. Now What?

For many organizations, deploying HCI is the start of a larger effort to transform and simplify the data center.


Often, I hear people talk about hyperconverged infrastructure as though it’s still an emerging, almost experimental solution. But the reality is that many organizations have deployed hyperconvergence — which combines storage, computing and networking into a single system — for years. As these organizations have learned, HCI can have a significant impact on their IT infrastructure by simplifying data center management and enabling hybrid cloud environments. But hyperconvergence doesn’t lead to some nirvana-like final state; rather, an HCI deployment often kicks off a period of further modernization, simplification and optimization for data center administrators.

Here are four next steps that organizations should tackle after implementing hyperconvergence:

1. Migration and Management

Most organizations that deploy HCI — especially larger enterprises — still maintain traditional three-tier infrastructure in their data centers. One of the first steps they must take after bringing in hyperconverged infrastructure is deciding which applications to migrate to HCI, and then managing that migration. CDW often assists organizations as they consolidate their environments. Recently, for example, one organization found that some of its applications could run only on legacy infrastructure. In other cases, software licensing and security issues can pop up when switching from legacy environments to hyperconvergence.

2. Simplification of Other Systems

After simplifying their production environments with HCI, data center administrators often realize just how much time and effort they’ve been pouring into other components of their ecosystem. One common example is backups, which are frequently relegated to older, more complicated infrastructure systems that require numerous management touchpoints (and are, generally, just a pain to update). As the cost of public cloud storage has come down, many data center administrators have started to reconsider their tape libraries and plan to move their backup data to the cloud. To do so in a cost-effective manner, though, they typically need to find ways to segregate archival data that can be housed in less expensive cloud environments.

3. Cloud-Native Applications

While many organizations increase their public cloud footprint after an HCI deployment, it’s typically not cost-effective for them to merely migrate their virtual machines to an Infrastructure as a Service provider. Rather, organizations will often benefit from rewriting their applications to be cloud-native. This simplifies management and optimizes the provisioning of resources.

4. Workload Optimization

One of the most challenging issues related to cloud migrations is the need to pull workloads that have been migrated to the public cloud back in-house due to unexpected circumstances, such as unanticipated monthly costs. Many workloads can be lifted and shifted to the public cloud in a cost-effective manner. But which ones?

We’ve helped many organizations use workload analysis tools to model the costs of hypothetical cloud workloads. While these tools can’t provide exact estimates, they can give data center administrators a realistic idea of which workloads are good candidates for the public cloud and which aren’t. One of the benefits of a hybrid cloud environment is that organizations can quickly and easily shut down public cloud workloads and bring them back inside the data center if costs get out of control.

Want to learn more about how hyperconverged infrastructure can help your organization? Download the CDW white paper “Hyperconvergence Goes Mainstream.”

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