Potential Gremlin of the Cloud Enabled Converged Infrastructure
We have certainly seen a lot of industry buzz centric around the improved efficiencies and cost saving afforded through the use of a Cloud enabled Converged Infrastructure in the data center, and while there is no question that a such a solution can reduce the cost and complexity in deploying your organizations cloud strategy, there exists a potential gremlin that can quickly rob you of any savings in terms of cost and labor if not properly managed.
What is this efficiency robbing gremlin that I’m referring to? It is the potential for solution lock-in associated with the use of proprietary, single vendor software management solutions that are often bundled with Converged Infrastructure products. Use of these software components is beneficial in that no other software offering will have better integration and support, however use of these components can potentially create a vendor lock-in scenario that will quickly eliminate any potential savings during future tech refresh cycles involving other vendor’s products and solutions.
It is critical for you and your business to analyze the potential cost savings of a single vendor Cloud Enabled Converged Infrastructure and to calculate its long term TCO for your organization. On one hand, there is the benefit of engineered design, simplified deployment, reduced cable complexity and integrated systems, network and storage, that will save your staff countless man-hours and result in improved efficiencies at both the staff and datacenter levels. The potential cost saving will vary greatly from organization to organization, however it is very important to calculate and understand so that the cost of vendor lock-in can be compared and contrasted against the potential cost savings.
On way to help reduce vendor lock-in is through the use of 3rd party Cloud Infrastructure Management Tools that support a wide variety of Converged Infrastructure as well as Hypervisors. When evaluating potential solutions, pay particular attention to any included or purchased management software from the Converged Infrastructure vendor that can potentially cause vendor lock-in and increase TCO, for it is the management software and not the hardware that is typically the source of vendor lock-in issues.
Since organizations seldom rip and replace the entire infrastructure all at once, use of the 3rd party Cloud Infrastructure Management Tools may also help transition and leverage the legacy equipment during the initial deployment of the Cloud Enabled Converged Infrastructure in addition to providing migration pathways to other vendor’s solutions in future tech refresh cycles.
With careful review and analysis of all the variables, components and solutions involved in designing a long term cloud enablement strategy, it is possible to achieve and hold onto the improved efficiencies and cost savings that such an infrastructure can provide, while at the same time avoiding potential vendor lock-in issues that can impede future growth due to complex and costly transitions involved in changes to the infrastructure after the sale.