Federal agencies are under pressure to consolidate and modernize their data centers. The Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI), begun in the summer of 2016 by the Obama administration, is pushing agencies to close at least 25 percent of their tiered data centers (the large data center facilities) and 60 percent of their nontiered data centers (such as server rooms) by Sept. 30, 2018.
DCOI also is designed to spur virtualization. It says that agencies “shall continue to principally reduce application, system, and database inventories to essential enterprise levels by increasing the use of virtualization to enable pooling of storage, network and computer resources, and dynamic allocation on-demand.”
Hyperconverged platforms can help in this regard, because they combine computing, storage, networking and virtualization capabilities into a single appliance, all preintegrated and controlled by one management layer.
Why could such platforms help federal IT leaders? For one, the rise of Big Data, consumerization of technology and explosion of network-enabled Internet of Things devices create a need for data centers that can both handle the increased data load and respond dynamically to changing demands.
A few years ago, reconfiguring data centers for new needs required substantial planning, lead time to order appropriate equipment and careful architectural design. Today, the advent of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) means data centers can be flexible and scalable, allowing for rapid reconfiguration of equipment at a cost-effective price.
For federal CIOs and their staffs, HCI also makes financial sense. Agencies can purchase the core building blocks — compute, storage and networking — in modular units and take advantage of hyperconvergence software to reallocate those resources as needed.
Essentially, hyperconvergence brings the scalability and simplicity of the cloud to enterprise data centers without requiring siloed technical expertise to configure and manage different layers of the technology stack. This technology makes the software-defined data center a practical reality.
Why Feds Should Adopt Hyperconverged Infrastructure
HCI offers seven key benefits to agencies seeking to modernize their data centers.
- Scalability and flexibility: With hyperconvergence, technology teams can meet dynamically changing business requirements by shifting resources between workloads on a just-in-time basis. The IT infrastructure scales in a flexible manner that matches the needs of organizations, rather than expecting them to adapt to the capacity of the technology platform.
- Quick deployment: In addition to rapidly reallocating resources between applications, the use of commodity hardware in HCI environments lets organizations rapidly deploy additional storage and computing capacity in the proportions demanded by business workloads.
- Data protection: Consolidating storage within the HCI platform lets organizations rethink their data protection solutions and manage data protection across the entire infrastructure, rather than server by server.
- Workload mobility: The dynamic nature of HCI facilitates the easy migration of IT applications and workloads across platforms as needs change and capacity fluctuates.
- High availability: HCI allows organizations to improve fault tolerance by adding a layer of high availability. In addition to managing availability at the application layer, organizations can leverage redundancy in their HCI platforms to isolate workloads from the impact of failed computing nodes and storage devices.
- Data efficiency: HCI delivers greater performance in a smaller form factor, improving the efficiency of storage solutions. HCI platforms can integrate traditional spinning disks and solid-state drives and shift data between storage media to efficiently balance performance and cost.
- Cost-efficiency: HCI eliminates the need for dramatic overprovisioning, allowing organizations to purchase additional capacity when it is needed and to share capacity among workloads to meet peak demand, without having storage and compute resources sitting idle. These benefits form the core argument for the use of HCI as the foundation of on-premises enterprise data centers. As agencies shift greater proportions of their workloads to HCI, they will achieve corresponding increases in efficiency, flexibility and mobility while decreasing their capital infrastructure expenditures.
For more on the benefits of hyperconvergence, check out this CDW white paper.