E-Handbook:

A converged infrastructure strategy requires a when as well as a why

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Optimization among the key benefits of converged infrastructure

One of the benefits of converged infrastructure is that these pre-configured platforms arrive ready for action. In fact, since the vendor has done the integration work already, converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure products come closer to flip-the-switch projects than almost anything else in IT.

Converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) are seen by many as far superior to the heterogeneous structure of most data centers. In the traditional process, infrastructure requires configuration work whenever something is added or changed, and the management duties never seem to let up. But when a product's subsystems are tested and optimized beforehand, complexity is all but eliminated.

Despite some clear benefits of converged infrastructure, adoption is a significant change for an IT organization, and one that deserves careful consideration. Not only is CI a different way of running a data center, it's a costly investment.

This handbook offers guidance to those evaluating the opportunity and helps them assess the benefits of converged infrastructure as well as the drawbacks. Data center expert Clive Longbottom details those points and also discusses how to determine at what point a move to CI makes sense.­

In addition, virtualization consultant Alastair Cooke examines how the implementation of CI does -- and doesn't -- change the structure of an IT team. A converged system is supposed to eliminate barriers between server, storage, networking and virtualization teams. But that won't happen, Cooke argues, without important changes to IT management practices.

Lastly, TechTarget's Robert Gates writes about how IT professionals view CI in comparison to HCI. While spending on hyper-converged systems is growing more quickly, CI is considered a more stable and agile operating environment, Gates reports.