New Gartner Report Makes Case for Integrated Systems

Gartner has published a “Critical Capabilities for Integrated Systems” study identifying 15 critical capabilities for integrated systems when deployed across four types of use cases: Infrastructure Modernization; Infrastructure Consolidation; Infrastructure Agility; followed by Point Projects.

I’m pleased to report that converged Infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) systems from Dell EMC received the highest product scores in Infrastructure Modernization and Infrastructure Agility (two out of four use cases).

We think this is especially compelling news and feel that it highlights the fact that it takes a vendor with a broad CI/HCI portfolio to address all these use cases. As opposed to forcing IT organizations to engage multiple vendors to achieve that same level of flexibility, Dell EMC is uniquely committed to continuing to make the research and development investments needed to deliver a comprehensive set of offers across the converged continuum that flexibly address use cases involving multiple types of application workload requirements.

When it comes to application workloads these days there’s arguably never been more diversity. As such, it doesn’t make much sense to try and standardize on one class of IT infrastructure to serve every potential application workload requirement. In fact, it’s now become increasingly routine for IT organizations to simultaneously embrace CI systems alongside HCI systems.

Dell EMC Vblock VxRack and VxRail

The reason for this multi-faceted approach is that some workloads need to be able to scale compute, storage and networking independently of one another. In other scenarios, the workload lends itself to scaling out storage and compute using a foundational software defined storage technology in a hyper-converged architecture. The benefit of an HCI approach is that it reduces operational costs by unifying the management of storage and compute, while also lowering the total cost of acquisition in a way that makes HCI accessible to a larger number organizations. HCI architectures are evolving rapidly and the underlying software defined storage technologies do not address every workload requirement today. Because of this IT reality, the ability to mix and match HCI and CI platforms to the right workload as needed, is essential.

An IT organization may get started deploying HCI appliances in a branch office or to run a specific type of application workload such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software. But it’s only a matter of time before many of those HCI appliances also wind up being deployed as HCI Systems, embedding networking plus any relevant technology to support HCI in a centralized data center use case. We have already begun to see these HCI systems deployed alongside traditional CI systems (blocks) to run different classes of workloads inside the same data center.

This underscores the reason for Dell EMC’s portfolio approach to the CI market: Blocks (traditional CI), Racks (HCI systems) and Appliances (SDS + Server + Embedded Management = HCI appliance)

IT organizations should not be forced to deploy different infrastructure management frameworks to manage various instances of converged infrastructure. That only leads to higher operational costs and less efficiency throughout the IT organization. Customers may invest in different virtualization or IaaS management frameworks like VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or Linux Kernel-based virtual machine platforms. But, whenever possible IT organizations should ideally concentrate as many workloads as possible on a single virtualization or IaaS standard such as VMware vSphere that can be easily deployed and managed across many classes of IT infrastructure. Regardless of the virtualization standard employed, IT organizations should still be able to have all their IT infrastructure requirements met by a single vendor. That not only reduces the cost of acquiring those systems; it lowers the total cost of operating and supporting them as well.

IT organizations are clearly under more pressure than ever to both reduce costs while being able to respond to rapidly changing requirements. Thanks to the rise of agile development methodologies the rate at which new application workloads are moving into production is now both fast and furious. Add on top of that the emergence of container based micro-services architectures and it is obvious IT organizations will be managing a broad portfolio of new and legacy application workloads for a very long time to come. After all legacy applications rarely die or retire. They often simply live on and take years to fade away.

The challenge facing IT organizations today is finding the best way to meet all of an organizations diverse workload requirements. Organizations need a vendor they can count on for a short and long application workload haul involving multiple classes of CI and HCI systems. At Dell EMC we’ve already made the investments required to make it absolutely certain we will be able to stand by you today and tomorrow committed to the promise of being the essential infrastructure provider for the next industrial revolution.

1 Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Integrated Systems, November 2016

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About the Author: Trey Layton

Trey started his career in the US Military stationed at United States Central Command, MacDill AFB, FL. Trey served as an intelligence analyst focused on the Middle East and conducted support of missions in the first days of the war on terror. Following the military Trey joined Cisco where he served as an engineer for Data Center, IP Telephony and Security Technologies. Trey later joined the partner ecosystem where he modernized the practices of several national and regional partner organizations, helping them transform offerings to emerging technologies. Trey joined NetApp in 2004 where he contributed to the creation of best practices for Ethernet Storage and VMware integration. Trey contributed to the development of the architecture which became the basis for FlexPod. In 2010 Trey joined VCE, where he was promoted by Chairman & CEO, VCE, Michael Capellas to Chief Technology Officer, VCE. As CTO Trey was responsible for the product and technology strategy for Vblock, VxBlock, VxRack, Vscale and VxRail. During his tenure, VCE was recognized as one of the fastest technology companies to reach $1 Billion in revenues and one of the most successful joint ventures in IT history. The origional VCE products Trey has led strategy on continue to be leaders in their respective share categories around the world. In 2016 Trey was asked to lead from concept the development of an all Dell Technologies converged product. From that initial concept Trey led a global team of engineers to deliver Dell EMC PowerOne, the industry’s first autonomous infrastructure solution, embedding open source technologies which enable automated infrastructure integration based on declarative outcomes.