Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, consumers owned multiple electronic devices – a camera, an MP3 or CD player, a watch, a laptop, and a mobile phone. It was the norm to own all of these, because each performed a different purpose.
That all changed in June 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone.
Of course, phones had incorporated cameras, MP3 players, email, and the like before the iPhone. But the iPhone was the first device where an OS enabled all of these features to work on a single, always-on, internet-connected device and where functionality could be added by downloading first and third party software – all via a neatly packaged application, the ‘app’.
The iPhone’s intuitive user interface made things super simple to use and meant everything worked together seamlessly.
Now, a multi-cloud reality, and a change in the way software applications (apps) are developed and deployed is driving a major change in the way data centres are built and managed – much in the same way the iPhone changed the consumer electronics market.
Traditional vs Hyperconverged data centre
The traditional data centre consists of a server, a network and some form of storage. While that model was fit-for-purpose years ago, technologies have since converged while demands on businesses have changed – and continue to change ever more rapidly.
The pressure is for businesses to save costs and innovate faster, while also exercising more control over their technology and to scale up to accommodate growth.
Competing against rivals and succeeding in a tough economic climate requires infrastructure that is flexible, interoperable and easy to manage.
Much like consumers who over time came to see the benefits of streaming content, listening to MP3s and reading e-books, growing businesses are recognising that the benefits of cloud computing can help them to meet multiple demands from employees and consumers. With many different forms of cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) available, they’re taking a hybrid approach to adopting cloud into their businesses.
In fact, IDC found that 87% of all businesses are using or plan to use a hybrid environment and 94% plan to use multiple clouds. Businesses are therefore seeking to run any workload on any cloud and be able to easily scale up as required.
The challenges that come with the modern data centre
The appetite for cloud computing means the underlying infrastructure needs to accommodate any cloud, any workload and on any scale. This is difficult, because the same way the iPhone juggles the different requirements of MP3s, the internet, streaming, games, mobile data and phone connectivity, small businesses have to contend with different hypervisors, applications, operating systems and performance requirements. It can be a challenge to manage workloads and data that migrate across cloud and on-premise platforms.
Businesses contending with this issue are turning to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).
Because it brings compute, storage and network into a single appliance. This makes operational management much easier for a small business.
The advantages of a unified data centre approach
However, HCI companies have all taken a different approach to execution; while many smartphone manufacturers attempted to bring together consumer electronics in a compact unit in the past, the reason they weren’t successful wasn’t because the idea wasn’t right – it was because the execution was flawed.
Apple has been renowned for making sure its software and hardware work in tandem, and that played a huge part in the iPhone’s success.
A lot of the iPhone’s success can be attributed to the App Store, which enabled developers to get their applications out to the public – including other consumer tech companies. The ‘walled’ aspect of the App Store meant that Apple could maintain quality and protect its customers against malicious software.
Integration and partnership is a key part of Cisco HyperFlex. For example, luxury retailer Liberty London found HyperFlex plugs straight into VMware, which makes it easy to manage, while its VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) is accessible from any location and ties in with Microsoft Office 365 and Azure. Liberty London has also seen a huge difference in terms of performance: Instead of 30 minutes, it’s now 30 seconds to login on average.
Similarly, non-profit City Harvest selected HyperFlex to enable it to create hundreds of virtual desktops in minutes.It means it can easily scale as it grows to feed more people. If it has more employees it will connect another HyperFlex node, if it has more applications it can slide in another compute-only server.
Meanwhile, trading company Bellevue Group requires fast desktop performance, and chose HyperFlex for its simplicity and the fact it didn’t have to worry about connecting storage as it was in the same appliance.
The simplicity of the iPhone is now available for your data centre requirements.
Find out how our customers are changing the world with HyperFlex.
Meta: How data centre hyperconvergence helps growing organisations to scale more easily and respond to change in an agile way that keeps costs down.