Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI): Scalability and QoS

By Force 3

For federal agencies, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) offers scalability, quality of service.

Federal agencies today face extensive pressure to move faster. Nowhere is this truer than in the IT realm, where teams are expected not only drive operational efficiency and reduce costs, but to accomplish both while maintaining consistently optimal quality of service. ​

To solve these challenges, IT organizations are increasingly adopting hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions that create a more agile environment. More than 40 percent of enterprises now use HCI, and analysts predict these numbers will continue to rapidly rise.

HCI: The Beginning

The first generation of HCI, unfortunately, came with a range of limitations and challenges: HCI 1.0 was heavily siloed, inflexible, unpredictable and lacked the ability to consolidate workloads. Meanwhile, if you wanted to handle heavier workloads, you had to simultaneously scale your compute and storage — even if you only needed one or the other. This forced organizations to buy and manage resources they didn’t need.

Prior versions of HCI also demanded application-specific environments for each workload. If, for example, you added desktops for end-user computing, you also had to build separate environments to host them. Failure to do this resulted in those desktops bogging down systems and draining resources during heavy usage periods. The consequence? Performance disruptions, crashed systems and poor quality of service (QoS).

Fast-Forward: HCI 2.0

Fortunately, the newest generation of hyper-converged infrastructure solutions no longer requires choosing between scaling and QoS. With the latest versions of enterprise-scale HCI, you can put disparate workloads on the same platform without decreasing your QoS. Meanwhile, it also addresses some of the limitations of today’s data center. Here’s what you can expect from the most recent generation of HCI:

  1. Better Application Control.

With today’s hyper-converged infrastructure, you can consolidate all your workloads on a single platform without worrying about performance issues. Better QoS means better control of every application, and, in turn, increased operational efficiency and maximum resource utilization.

How? In addition to containing your workloads, next-generation HCI allows you to define their minimum and maximum performance requirements. Apps that eat resources can be tapped out so that they don’t steal from other systems. This guarantees predictable performance across the board.

By controlling these parameters, you can take creative steps to maximize performance. For example, you can increase your desktops’ QoS during the day, when people are in the office. You can then reduce their performance at night and dedicate those resources to nightly backups. As a result, backups that usually take eight hours can be reduced to just 20 minutes.

  1. Greater scalability, lower costs.

Hyper-converged infrastructure today offers a flexible, all-flash design that lets you independently scale storage and compute resources. If you want to handle heavier workloads, you can do so on-demand, without adding compute resources, thus reducing your total cost of ownership.

Next generation HCI also consolidates workloads into a smaller footprint while delivering high-performance storage. You can add resources, such as CPU and memory, with minimal storage nodes. This is particularly beneficial in multi-tenancy environments where test, DevOps and quality assurance groups use their own systems. With HCI 2.0, you can keep your multi-tenancy environments small while removing barriers when you scale.  

A future-ready infrastructure.

In the past, you needed to pick a ratio of compute and storage and then maintain it when you scaled. With today’s HCI platform, however, you can invest in what you need right now and then quickly adjust it in the future. In other words, you can add storage and compute resources as you need them, without impacting your QoS.

For example, based on multiple installations, NetApp HCI takes less than 45 minutes to deploy and lowers your operating costs with simplified deployment and ongoing system automation.

Today, embracing hyper-converged infrastructure no longer requires you to struggle with solutions that cannot consolidate workloads, or to scale in ways that drain or strand resources and throttle application performance. HCI 2.0 ​allows you to run multiple applications with predictable performance, so you can confidently deploy cloud infrastructure across your entire data center.

Maximize your resources and reduce your data center footprint. Contact us and find out Force 3 and Netapp can help consolidate your workloads, lower your costs, and simplify your infrastructure with netapp HCI.