The way that you store your data is just as important as the type of data that you store. Without a modernized data center, you risk overpaying for your storage, prematurely degrading your hardware and losing efficiency. You can assume that your data storage needs will only continue to grow as your business grows and takes on new customers and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at the growth of one of the most effective strategies for data storage helping companies across the globe.
The Hyper Converged Infrastructure
Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) is the largest scale change in data storage since the concept of virtualization. HCI allows for a higher scale of storage even as the hardware that is storing the data shrinks physically. Within these smaller hardware components, more functions are seen — networking, computing power and storage are now occupying the same space. In general, HCI is a full vertical for everything that a company would need to store data.
However, there are some skeptics who still believe that HCI is not ready for the big time.
Current Uses of HCI
HCI was first put into operation as a support system for VDI. HCI performed so well there that its scope was quickly expanded. The VDI environment is now a pseudo testing ground for HCI. Comparable storage methods such as iSCSI or Fibre Channel are either more complex to operate or more expensive. As HCI continues to provide cost benefits for companies at all scales, IT pros are starting to respect it as the preferred way to do business rather than just an alternative.
There are very real concerns about the performance of storage networks without the level of connectivity that HCI has. Local storage networks that function across several hosts cannot fully replace traditional enterprise storage needs, at least in the immediate future. They may be able to supplement your current data inventory capacity and provide for your middle tier needs, but why would anyone invest in a technology that is clearly trending to be less effective than HCI? This is the equivalent of paying more for a short term solution with foreknowledge that it would need to be replaced — all with a viable, less expensive long term solution right there in front of you.
Why Companies Continue to Choose HCI
Companies in all industries need faster data access speed. The hyperconverged nature of HCI allows for the optimal speed through hardware components, ensuring that a business gets the best response time. Latency is much less of a concern with HCI than it is with an FC network or any of the data storage alternatives mentioned above.
HCI also lends itself to being much more customizable. Traditional infrastructure comes in many preprogrammed pieces, which is fine for traditional operations. If a business needs anything outside of the box, however, these traditional structures quickly begin to lose their luster.
The HCI structure is easier to move. HCI hyperconverges storage, software and servers to move as a single unit. Companies that can cluster these functionalities and improve them all at once will experience a much faster jump in productivity when upgrading. This upgrade costs less money and is less difficult to implement as well.
The Future of HCI
Leaders in business expect HCI to slowly but surely account for more storage operations around the world. The technology is currently a relatively minor player, but is trending upwards more quickly than any of its rivals. Mid range enterprise storage functionality is the next target for HCI, and some experts believe that HCI will account for up to 30% of enterprise servers in 10 years. Because mid range storage needs currently comprise just over 50 percent of the entire External Enterprise Storage market, HCI would become around 15 percent of the market during that time.
HCI is also beginning to rival cloud storage technology in the public eye as well as in backroom performance. In most cases, HCI brings better performance to the table, but cloud tech is the sexier topic, earning more blogger ink. Once people are made aware of the advantages of HCI over the media darling concept of cloud storage, the business world can likely expect an even faster transition to the more productive system.