Gartner’s take on hyperconvergence: Simplify the midmarket data center

Every IT leader feels the pressure to reduce data center costs. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than for IT professionals managing infrastructure for midmarket businesses, especially for those managing multiple virtualization initiatives.

Midmarket IT shops usually consist of a few staffers, or perhaps a solo IT professional entrusted with managing the performance of the environment. Midmarket business needs haven’t changed – it’s a top priority to do more with less. In these already lean environments, it can be hard to justify high costs, especially when the time comes to replace outdated hardware and update your system. Gartner recently stated that by 2018, 40 percent of midmarket businesses will replace their data centers and storage with integrated systems.

Midmarket organizations need to be open to thinking differently about the challenges at hand. One popular approach to solve this quandary is a movement towards hyperconvergence.

Hyperconvergence is a popular buzzword among vendors who sell hardware and software for traditional IT infrastructures. It’s a new term for an old trend – economizing by combining systems and software for simplification and cost savings. Simply defined, hyperconvergence refers to an infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization in an “off the shelf” piece of hardware.

shutterstock_153067424In spite of this “convergence” and the resulting promised savings, this approach can cause its own disruptions as IT teams adjust. Gartner analysts Mike Cisek and Jeffrey Hewitt recently covered the challenges of hyperconvergence and outlined new options in their recent report, “Simplify the Midmarket Data Center with Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solutions.” This report does a nice job of outlining the tradeoffs of hyperconvergence trend, but the part I find most interesting is the trend of consolidating infrastructure functions.

One thing midmarket IT professionals understand is that hyperconverged systems will consolidate functions historically siloed from one other. A great example of such a function is security – probably the most important element in today’s IT infrastructure – however, few definitions of hyperconvergence take security into account at all. To see the maximum return on investment (ROI) out of hyperconverged solutions and resolve the disconnect between major technology functions, storage and IT teams need to get proactive about security and compliance.

As I noted in a blog post back in May, “In the race to more megabits per second (MBPS) and input/output operations per second (IOPS), no one wins if security is compromised in exchange for faster speeds. Increasing storage performance won’t bring real value to your company if you’re harboring dark data and in turn, exposing personally identifiable information.” It is imperative that midmarket IT professionals find integrated solutions that support data security and storage.

If you’re a midmarket IT professional considering meeting the seemingly competing goals of saving funds and consolidating hardware and software through hyperconvergence, you should do the following:

Consider your IT goals.
shutterstock_255283351Security is a top concern for every IT organization – ESG recently reported that cybersecurity was the top spending priority for IT teams across verticals in 2015. Before making a decision about a new platform, ask yourself and your team: Will this platform help manage and protect our sensitive data? If not, you may be setting your business up for a data breach.

Consult your channel partners.
If you’re looking to improve your security posture as you adopt a new technology platform, make sure your partner network is on board. Data-aware storage can curb security risks by increasing visibility at the point of storage, while complementary endpoint security and networking tools can help ensure you always know what’s in your data and you’re ahead of any risks that may plague your system. Channel professionals face security questions daily, and they are adept at carefully choosing partner technologies that bring the most value to your system. No matter the size of your business, the advice you get from your partners is one of the most valuable parts of your IT environment.

Learn more about the value of data-aware platforms for the midmarket

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Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm was the vice president of marketing at DataGravity for 2 years. Jeff brought more than 20 years of experience with a rare combination of marketing skills, organizational leadership and technical background to DataGravity, having shaped the BI and search markets working for industry pioneers and disrupters.