Data Center, Opinion

The Continuing Convergence of Infrastructure

As technology has evolved and our ideas around how IT infrastructure should be managed have matured, infrastructure has continued to converge. The main drivers for this convergence have been operational efficiency and predictability. When converged infrastructure was introduced, the provisioning and validation steps were removed from the turn up process and companies like VCE and NetApp did the heavy lifting by creating validated designs that could be dropped off on the loading dock already configured and ready to use. The converged infrastructure systems were still made of disparate systems, however.

Another step towards simplicity (a precursor to operational efficiency) was the introduction of hyperconverged infrastructure, where multiple infrastructure systems and software tools are incorporated into a single platform. In most instances, this looks like compute and storage in a unified hardware footprint, and additional services like SAN/NAS functionality, data protection, and WAN optimization built in to the product. One thing that is still lacking in the convergence of most infrastructures today is the inclusion of the network. At least, until now.

Introducing Superconvergence

In the Hyperconvergence MegaCast we organized at the end of March, our audience was introduced to Cloudistics and their brand new Ignite platform. Ignite takes the concept of convergence to the next level by including the network and all the relevant software in a single offering. While there are solutions out there that can be combined to do the same thing Cloudistics does with Ignite, the solution is unique in that it does everything in a single package. The Ignite platform includes:

  • Compute (hardware appliance)
  • Hypervisor
  • Storage virtualization
  • Network virtualization

For comparison, an organization might choose to either purchase a handful of servers and vSphere + VSAN + NSX from VMware, or they might choose to purchase a 5U Ignite appliance that covers the same bases.

An upcoming post will describe some of the differences between other storage and network virtualization options and what Cloudistics does, but as a whole package, the Ignite solution is very intriguing. Figure 1 shows what is included in an initial deployment, and thanks to the decoupled scaling capabilities, any component of this stack can be scaled up independent of the others.

Cloudistics-5U
Figure 1: The Ignite platform physical layout

Check out the below video interview with Cloudistics CTO and co-founder Srinidhi Varadarajan to learn more about what makes superconvergence appealing. If you’re interested in exploring further, you can also go to www.cloudistics.com/demo to see the solution in action!