The Rise of Hyperconvergence

Increasing demands from the business and the need for flexibility and agility have changed IT over the last few years. Cloud computing has emerged as an increasingly popular IT delivery method that enables on-demand and pay-for-what-you-use models; however, not all companies can migrate to cloud overnight. Cloud computing requires new technology and takes time to implement. Lenovo understands that it’s not easy to change the delivery of IT services and supports clients using new IT techniques to adopt cloud functionality easier. New IT techniques deliver new insights, and IT vendors use these insights to come up with new solutions. What will 2016 bring? One thing is for sure, it will be different than 2015.

Legacy Infrastructure

Legacy infrastructure leveraged the best of all breeds. Choosing the IT components in the data center separately enabled IT departments to purchase the best servers, the best storage and other equipment needed. All these components came with their own management software. Integration into an existing data center required extensive knowledge and often took a lot of time. Major IT organizations were pillared, which didn’t exactly contribute to the decisiveness of the IT department.

Convergence 1.0

IT vendors realized that integration was the bottleneck in modern IT. The business demanded faster and more agile solutions and the legacy approach was not adequate enough to fulfill the changing business demands. Then, the first integrated solutions appeared on the market. The basis for these solutions was pre-installation and pre-integration of server, storage and networking to speed up installation and deployment. While the concept was great, the innovation in the integrated solutions was limited and vendors often re-used existing IT components. Because IT departments were forced to replace the complete stack (server, storage and networking), integrated solutions increased total cost of ownership (TCO). Another challenge for integrated solutions was that the IT organization lost the flexibility to choose vendors, and the parts of integrated solutions were often limited. Backup and disaster recovery solutions still relied on legacy solutions using expensive Fibre Channel infrastructure and techniques such as replication and cloning to secure data. Despite all these limitations, the increasing demand for speed and flexibility of the business motivated IT to take this first step towards convergence.

Convergence 2.0

The next step into convergence was to optimize these integrated solutions and use innovation to further enhance their usage, flexibility and manageability. By introducing the software-defined strategy, the underlying hardware became less relevant, and instead of using high-end servers and complex storage solutions, more standard components were used to build pre-defined and pre-installed IT solutions. By sharing resources more adequately, pooling of servers and storage enabled scalability. If you needed more IT resources, you just expanded the pool by adding additional hardware. Backup and disaster recovery techniques were enhanced and expensive infrastructure based on dedicated Fibre Channel infrastructure was no longer needed. The introduction of 10Gb Ethernet and replication based on IP eliminated the need for Fibre Channel. Ethernet became the standard in high-end infrastructures.

Convergence 3.0

Now it’s time for the next step. Lenovo is teaming with industry leaders to enable hyperconvergence. These solutions are completely software-defined with the underlying hardware standardized on building blocks based on the Lenovo x3650 M5 server. The choice is small, medium or large, and scalability is key in these solutions. Just seamlessly add building blocks and let the software automate the integration to increase your IT resources.

One of these vendors is Nutanix. Their message is "invisible infrastructure". Completely hide the complexity of the IT components and only offer a console were you can perform tasks needed to manage and maintain the hyperconverged solution. It is a bit like my BMW. I have been driving it for two years now and I am in complete control of the car, but I have never opened the hood.

In November 2015, Lenovo formed a partnership with Nutanix and will offer a complete hyperconverged stack based on the Nutanix product, which will be available January 19. There will be three models of the Lenovo-Nutanix appliance that can be tailored to application infrastructure:

  1. Lenovo Converged HX3500 is optimized for VDI and smaller virtualization workloads including email, file & print, web server, middleware, light database and remote/branch office environments.
  2. Lenovo Converged HX5500 is optimized for server virtualization workloads with larger capacity requirements including Hadoop big data, file servers, on-cluster backups, Splunk and centralized disaster recovery for remote/branch office environments.
  3. Lenovo Converged HX7500 is optimized for databases and other I/O-intensive workloads, including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Oracle RAC environments.

Make sure you jump on that train!