Five Features To Look for When Choosing HCI

Technology seems to be converging as time goes on. For example, a few decades ago people mainly worked using computers that consisted of separate components such as a keyboard, mouse, CPU unit and maybe a webcam and speakers. Then came laptops and other devices that were smaller, more portable and able to consolidate different functionalities into one form factor.

We now even carry a “computer” in our pocket in the form of smartphones. With this single device, people are now able to text, call, surf the Internet, record videos, play music and much more. In essence, this provides simplicity, better efficiency and you don’t need to worry about having several devices to serve these different functions.

We can see a similar progression in the enterprise IT space. Traditionally, businesses relied on three main components in their data centre environment – storage, compute and networking. This three-tier architecture consists of separate proprietary software, expensive devices and purpose-built hardware. However, Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) has revolutionised how the IT infrastructure is consumed and managed in an increasingly hybrid world.
Essentially, HCI integrates all of the aforementioned elements of the traditional centre environment, all the while increasing scalability and decreasing complexity and costs. With HCI, organisations only need software and commodity servers, as it converges storage, compute and networking virtualisation along with advanced management capabilities and automation.

As the technology matures, there is now a greater choice and variety in the enterprise HCI market than ever before. So, how do you choose the right HCI platform for your business?

To help you get the most out of your investment, we suggest that you look for HCI solutions that are equipped with these important features:

  1. Simplicity: Now, you may think that HCI is already simple and easy enough to deploy and utilise but that is not always the case as not all HCI solutions are created equal. In getting the most from HCI, you should look for a platform that provides simplicity in terms of design and ease of use and deployment. It should come with a single operating system, installation, upgrade, as well as a single control panel or interface to monitor, control and manage your IT operations. One area that is often overlooked is support. Choose a solution that provides comprehensive, single-point-of-contact support for hardware, hypervisor and software. Your HCI solution should be able to provide all the different elements you need in a single, integrated platform.

  2. Intrinsic security and protection: The flexibility that HCI brings in the IT environment also means additional risks and vulnerabilities, as you are opening up new attack vectors. With HCI, your security should be integrated first thing and not as an afterthought. Choose an HCI platform that can offer one-click provisioning to your networking and security services, as well as features such as least privileges authorisation and data encryption, so you defend against lateral threats and breaches in whatever environment you have. Having data protection capabilities built-in is also highly valuable.

  3. Hybrid environment capabilities: With HCI, it is now easy to deploy hybrid cloud capabilities, since HCI servers can act as a private cloud on-premises and integrate with the public cloud. To enable this flexibility, you need a solution that is both hardware agnostic and cloud-agnostic, allowing you to deploy your applications where it makes the most sense for your business, whether it is on-prem or in any cloud and you can migrate between the different environments with minimal cost and complexity.

  4. Scalability: One main advantage of HCI is that it lets you scale your operations by just adding new nodes, instead of various hardware needed in the traditional setup. However, you should choose HCI solutions that do this in the right way. Look for HCI solutions that can deliver scalability even for the most mission-critical workloads.

  5. Flexibility and versatility to ensure consistent operations: If your company has operated for some time, it’s likely that your data centre will consist of not just HCI, but a range of different IT platforms and solutions accumulated over the years. A good HCI solution should be able to not only provide choice and flexibility to address diverse workload needs but also work well with the rest of IT to ensure that you can achieve consistent operations across your environments, be it on-premises, private or public cloud and even the edge. Consistency is something you will truly value as your IT environments continue to grow in size, variety and complexity.

As one of the leaders in enterprise IT, Dell Technologies is able to provide businesses with the simplicity, security, flexibility, scalability and the much-needed consistency in their data centres and beyond.

To give you an example, if you’re one of the millions of users who leverage VMware, the Dell EMC VxRail HCI appliance has been jointly engineered with VMware and optimised for VMware environments. Meanwhile, Dell EMC PowerStore was built to complement and extend your existing infrastructure investments, with comprehensive support for the VMware ecosystem. This enables you to integrate the bedrock of your data centre, which is your storage, efficiently and effectively with your HCI systems as well as the cloud.

Note that in terms of flexibility and breadth of portfolio, Dell Technologies has all the offerings, from HCI to next-gen storage, that can cater for and work seamlessly with different systems, hypervisors and clouds. The choice is with you on how you want to deploy your IT, as it should be.

Click here to find out more about the HCI options from Dell Technologies that enables you to drive agility and innovation, and you can download this pdf to learn how you can achieve new levels of agility and operational versatility with Dell EMC PowerStore.

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