How hyper-converged systems change IT management

Easier management among the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure

The case for adopting hyper-converged infrastructure will be more compelling for some IT organizations than for others. Thinking through the decision will involve any number of variables, but one that deserves particular attention is the management aspect.

One of the primary benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is how an integrated product simplifies how a data center is managed. Still, that doesn't mean there isn't work to be done. Duties will need to be shuffled, and traditional roles will change. Implementing a single vendor's product for compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources runs counter to decades of IT reality, and that means that changes -- perhaps big ones -- are inevitable.

So how should an organization plan for life after the arrival of hyper-converged infrastructure? What needs to be actively managed, and what will be handled by the product itself? This guide looks at these issues, offering specific advice on setting policies, planning for upgrades and growth, and adjusting administrators' duties.

Data center consultant Alastair Cooke leads the way in this discussion. He writes about the importance of a policy-based management approach. With hyper-converged infrastructure, it's essential that an IT team invest the necessary time to define precise policies for availability, data protection, performance and other critical functions. That way, Cooke writes, those policies can be applied to each new VM in a standardized, efficient manner.

Also included is advice on how to think about capacity planning, gigabit Ethernet and other matters that will change either slightly or significantly once you've implemented HCI.

Data center management will become easier, and simplification is one the biggest benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure. Even so, you'll still be managing networks, hosts and VMs. The management tasks will be different, but they won't entirely go away.