When I talk to clients about the technology and systems challenges being faced within their organization, I tend to hear a wide variety of responses. Challenges within the data center seem to exist in just about every client discussion. These challenges revolve around a myriad of issues but most can be categorized into areas like efficiency, energy usage, management, agility and utilization.
There are many reasons for organizations to be worried about the data center and the challenges found within. We live in a world of data and that data has been growing exponentially and it will continue to grow in the coming years. Big data initiatives and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) are driving enormous growth in the amount of data collected and stored within organizations. Along with the increased storage capacity required to manage this data, an increase in processing power, and networking capabilities are required to manage and analyze these constantly growing data sets.
CIO’s and the IT group are now faced with the need to scale their data center’s capabilities. At the same time, they are being asked to lower energy costs and reduce spending across the data center. Additionally, many organizations are undergoing data center consolidation projects which can create even more challenges for the CIO to scale the processing, storage and networking capabilities within the data center.
These challenges are pushing organizations to look for new systems and technologies for helping reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), improve the return on investment (ROI) and to help scale the data center capabilities.
This is where convergence make the most sense. Converged systems are self-contained systems with computing, storage, networking and management systems combined in one platform. Using converged systems, organizations can quickly add new systems to the data center without adding a great deal more complexity.
These benefits have led many organizations to investigate and/or implement converged systems. In a recent survey conducted by IDG, it was found that a majority of respondents (72%) are planning to use converged systems or have already begun to implement converged systems. Of those organizations that have implemented converged systems, 43% claim that “50% or more of their organization’s applications are supported by converged systems”.
While converged systems appear to be a perfect fit for CIO’s looking to efficiently scale their data centers, there is some uncertainty among IT professionals about the ROI of converged systems. According to the IDG survey, 47% of respondents are unclear or uncertain about the ROI of converged systems.
In addition to the uncertainty of ROI, many CIO’s and IT managers are worried that they don’t have the skills to manage converged systems. This is highlighted in the IDG survey with 40% of respondents claiming that they are worried that they don’t have the right IT skill sets to manage converged systems.
While there may not be a clear cut agreement on the ROI of converged systems, there is plenty of agreement on the TCO of these systems. The ability to implement an ‘all-in-one’ platform to add scale definitely lowers costs in the short term and the long term for organizations.
Convergence may not be the answer to every problem in the data center, but it is a great answer to the problem of fast, efficient and effective implementation of processing power, storage and networking capabilities in a contained system that can be managed together.