Hyperconverged infrastructure offers the promise of making your data center easier to manage, but achieving that promise requires selecting a hyperconverged solution that fits in with your existing technical infrastructure and meets your business needs. Here are six questions to ask to help you select the right infrastructure for your environment.
1. How easy is it to scale the solution?
One of the major premises of hyperconverged solutions is that they're easy to scale. Probe this point by investigating exactly what's required to add resources. Some products have wizards that will automatically discover new resources and add them to their resource pools.
2. Can the solution deliver the performance you require?
Your business has unique performance requirements; make sure the hyperconverged platform will deliver the service quality—in terms of both performance and uptime—for your workloads. They need to handle your peak processing demands as well as standard volumes.
3. How easy is the solution to manage?
Look for a single console with an easy-to-understand graphical user interface for managing your systems. An ideal solution will be able to manage all your virtual machines from a single console. Routine VM management tasks, such as creating backups or moving VMs to other hosts, should require only a few clicks to complete. If the solution can be integrated with your existing management tools, through APIs or other methods, that's also beneficial.
4. How much flexibility does the hyperconverged platform offer?
Hyperconverged solutions are "all-in-one," but they aren't the only tool you use. Getting the most benefit requires these products to work with all your other products. We mentioned integrating with your existing management tools above, but that's not the only integration you need. You're not likely to be building an entirely new data center, so you've got legacy hardware. You've likely got multiple hypervisors running. Ideally, your hyperconverged solution supports multiple hypervisors as well as moving data between different platforms. You should also look for flexibility in designing your clusters, including the ability to mix storage and compute capabilities. Because storage and compute requirements don't grow in unison, look for the ability to increase capacity separately.
5. What data protection and disaster recovery features are included?
Every hyperconverged solution is likely to protect against simple hardware failure with the ability to automatically bring VMs up on another node, but some solutions offer additional protection through mirroring or replication within a single site or across multiple sites. There may be varying levels of automation support for recovery procedures, and different products will take more or less time to recover.
6. How will this solution save money?
The goal of simpler management of the data center often has a corresponding goal of saving money. Investigate how the solution will impact the total cost of ownership. The cost of training your staff to support the new product may be offset by a reduction in the amount of manual work required to support production systems.