Converged Infrastructure Solutions: Economically Efficient or Ineffective?

Converged Infrastructure Solutions: Economically Efficient or Ineffective?

More and more, the brain trust seems to think that IT is incapable of cost effectively architecting and managing IT Infrastructure.

Being a storage admin for most of my career, I believe in allowing talented engineers on your staff architect and deploy IT infrastructure solutions specific to your business goals and objectives. But you cannot ignore the business value of self-contained, pre-configured and pre-integrated converged infrastructure solutions.

Converged infrastructure solutions have a wide range of combined elements but they typically contain software and/or hardware from different vendors integrated into a single product. Although the combined components can handle varying services, it is sold as a single product.

The idea of combining and integrating components from multiple vendors is not new. Heck, IT folks do it every day. It usually involves talent from multiple groups (i.e. Facilities, Storage, Networking, Computing and Applications) from within your organization to be responsible to collaborate and integrate the various components involved in the solution.

Companies have tried to sell similar integrated canned solutions in the past. When I was with Veritas’ Support Team we had an Oracle/Sun/Veritas (stack) product offering. One SKU, one phone number to call when things went wrong, qualified, tuned and configured before it hits the floor—sounds great!

Well, not so great. The first attempt at canned IT infrastructure solutions never took hold. Exactly why they didn’t is another discussion but I can certainly recall the challenges of coordinating and effectively resolving multi-vendor support issues. Perhaps the lack of success with those offerings was that the support processes, partnerships and technology was not mature enough at that time. But whatever the case, here they come once again. There seems to be another push/offering from most of the major vendors for canned IT infrastructure solutions. Riding the “IT as a Service” cloud, it once again makes perfect business sense.

Or does it?

Did we as an IT engineering community drop the ball by unsuccessfully managing our IT infrastructures? Or is this really an economic efficiency evolution? The ones who gain to benefit from converged infrastructure solutions are the owners of the services and products. But we shouldn’t ignore the potential of measurable cost savings to our organization.

Is it truly more cost effective, flexible and scalable to go with pre-configured converged IT infrastructure solutions? It really comes down to each organization evaluating their cost structures in combination with their service value: What is the business value of your IT service to your organization and at what operational margin? Explore these new canned IT solutions to understand what they are really all about.

I must point out the almost certain development from Oracle. What happens when you own the entire converged stack? Oracle Database, Oracle OS & Oracle Storage… virtualization can’t be far behind.

Thanks for reading. Below are some links for your reference.

HP BladeSystem Matrix
IBM CloudBurst on Power Systems

EMC – Vblock

ODA – Oracle Database Appliance

NetApp FlexPod

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