With any technology, the right know-how can make all the difference. It can be one comment from another IT manager, or a tip from a vendor, that takes you from an uneasy balance to a perfect fit.
With a focus on building strong, cost-effective foundations for going digital, hyperconvergence is attracting the interest of many organisations. We talked to HPE hyperconvergence expert Brendan Sit about how to get the most from moving to a hyperconverged environment.
Some of the most important things, said Brendan, are also the simplest.
‘Believe it or not, I’ve seen deployments from multiple different vendors hit the rocks because the pre-installation checklists and instructions were not followed. Network configuration problems such as IP address conflicts can add a lot of time to what should be a 30 to 60-minute process.”
Managing backups is, said Brendan, the most common cause of headaches for customers he’s encountered, and he gave us three tips that will make management of your hyperconverged environment simpler:
- Pay close attention to the hardware resources allocated for your backup server, so it isn’t the bottleneck that holds up your backups. Backup resources matter.
- Be smart about backup scheduling. Most customers backup overnight, to avoid overloading compute and storage resources. Nowadays, with the recent increase in ransomware, most would prefer to backup throughout the day to minimise impact. This is a very good time to weigh up the considerations and find the balance you can live with. HPE partners like Brennan IT have access to tools and expert support to help you get the right level of business continuity.
- While snapshots are handy for short-term backups of VMs, for example when administrators must handle patches, relying on them as a primary form of backup is not a solid strategy. Snapshots can lead to capacity shortages. Full logical backups are better – and administrators should diligently monitor snapshots for size, age and growth rate.
With HPE SimpliVity Data Virtualisation Platform (DVP), Brendan said the pitfalls mentioned above are eliminated. Its integrated backup capability prevents backups from causing performance bottlenecks, meaning they can be performed throughout the day. Snapshots are no longer necessary because DVP provides full logical backups at the speed of snapshots, without the drawbacks. It is all easily managed within the product’s vCenter.
The hyperconverged environment is proving easier to work with than customers expected, and, Brendan said, they are enjoying the ability to manage VMs and scale effortlessly.
‘It really is everything they expected.’
The most common resistance to adopting hyperconvergence is fear that the ability to scale compute and storage independently of each other will be lost. While a typical hyperconverged appliance provides a building block of pre-defined compute, memory and storage footprint, HPE listened to customer feedback.
‘We built into SimpliVity the option of compute-only nodes and storage-only nodes, so customers get more flexibility, and escape the more rigid scaling options of earlier hyperconvergence solutions,’ said Brendan.
While Brendan has guided solutions for all sorts of customers, he said that organisations with a lot of branch offices have found the technology a particularly good fit. The pre-configuration possible with SimpliVity means that it can arrive on site ready to put in the rack, switch on and go.
‘Having an expert on-site is impractical for some organisation, and would make project costs high. This really doesn’t require a high level of expertise once it is configured, so a retailer or a school district can prepare everything at the central IT department, or have it done by their technology partner,’ said Brendan.
Hyperconvergence is not suited for every purpose, of course. The technology is right for virtualised workloads, so those with non-virtualised workloads should consider carefully.
‘You must make sure you have a plan to support all workloads,’ said Brendan.
‘To get the best results, run everything you can on hyperconvergence.’
And those results are hard to ignore. The Simplivity.com website keeps a running tally of customer results, with the current tally showing a 38:1 median data efficiency ratio from actual customer results with the 6000 plus products shipped worldwide. For the right customer, ‘backed by a partner with solid, long-term knowledge’, said Brendan, hyperconvergence has the power to transform business outcomes.