Getting Hyper about Converged Infrastructure, Part 2

Did you like the title? Probably not as much as I do, because I love it! So much, I’ve decided to make this a series of posts.

Last time out, I opened with a discussion around converged infrastructure and the key considerations were:

  • Single vendor solutions from Oracle, HP, etc.
  • Choose your storage, with Cisco UCS-based solutions
  • Introducing an alternative with Hyper-Convergence
  • In this post (and the next) I want to focus on the last point, namely the Hyper-Converged solutions provided by Nutanix and SimpliVity, among others.

I make no secret that my experience to-date has certainly been with Converged Infrastructure, namely VCE Vblock, that means a high-end, pre-configured, tightly-coupled, potentially multi-million dollar solution with branded components from industry big-hitters, Cisco, EMC, HP, IBM, etc.

What I have discovered is that in recent years Converged Infrastructure advocates have looked down on the upstart Hyper-Converged vendors, so let’s explore three of the arguments put forward.

  • Enterprise Solutions need Big-SAN Storage
  • “Spaghetti Wiring” – how do I connect all those little boxes together?
  • Still need an expensive 10GbE infrastructure to make it truly scalable?

Enterprise Solutions need Big-SAN Storage

This is simply no longer true, I have been a big fan of the inline data services that Flash-technology has enabled vendors, such as in EMC with XtremIO, to implement in their high-end Flash-based storage offerings. That said, only last week VMware added deduplication and compression to their VSAN product, others such as DataCore SANsymphony-V have had these features and more for some years.

“Spaghetti Wiring” – how do I connect all those little boxes together?

CauVVQkW4AA1veII recently Tweeted a jokey comment about “Spaghetti Wiring” and how the 10s, 100s or even 1000s of these new hyper-converged boxes are connected together! Very pleased to share with you this photo, provided by Nutanix’ Webscale Webster (@vcdxnz001), showing that wiring is no more complicated than old-style integrated infrastructure. You have to admire the Nutanix color-coordination in that cabling!

 

 

Still need an expensive 10GbE infrastructure to make it truly scalable?

This last point I am leaving until my next post to explore in more detail, I need to get a little deeper into the network infrastructure needed to make Hyper-Converged Infrastructure as easy to implement as both Nutanix and SimpliVity claim. I did see this in a recent Principled Technologies Reference Architecture paper, commissioned by Dell;

“The Dell Networking S4048-ON 10/40 GbE top-of-rack Open Networking switch, Dell’s latest datacenter networking solution, is built to optimize performance, efficiency, flexibility, and availability in the modern datacenter. According to Dell, it offers a range of benefits, including: Low latency, High density, and Flexibility in the datacenter.”

As I’ve been looking more closely at Nutanix and Simplivity, I found two papers that provide the DeepDive analysis and testing that I have come to expect from both The Enterprise Strategy Group and Principled Technologies. Both are great resources and I recommend reading them;

Dell XC630-10 Nutanix on VMware ESXi, A Principled Technologies Reference Architecture

SimpliVity Hyperconverged Infrastructure, An ESG Lab Validation Report

To finish up this time, anyone with any interest in Hyper-Converged Infrastructure will want to tune in on Tuesday and see the latest on what EMC has to say about all this; The X Force in Hyper-Converged.

Before then, you can read two articles by The Register for background;

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As always, constructive comments/feedback welcome!

Yours, DBAStorage

 

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