While HCI offers several impressive benefits related to simplicity, manageability, scalability, and cost savings, challenges still exist. ESG asked over 200 IT pros who have implemented HCI what their top challenges are since implementing HCI in their organization and the most commonly cited challenge was difficulty finding the root cause of issues. And when you think about it, it makes sense.
In a traditional 3-tier architecture where IT administrators have their core area of focus (storage, compute, networking, or virtualization), it's siloed from both a component and management standpoint, but when an issue arises and the finger pointing of whose components caused the problem is over, the administrator of that component causing the issue can properly address it. Going from that legacy siloed approach to HCI, which converges all those components into a single, integrated package, makes management easier in the sense that you can view all the components through a single interface, but what happens when something goes wrong?
With HCI and infrastructure management, IT administrators are empowered to do more outside of their area of component expertise. For example, the virtualization administrator can view and adjust something related to storage or compute. While this is appealing at first, when an issue occurs, not only can it have a greater impact on the entire infrastructure because everything is consolidated and integrated, but relying on an IT administrator who is not an expert on a specific component and is about to make an adjustment on that component is far from appealing. Especially since that change could have massive ramifications on other components and therefore applications relying on the shared infrastructure.
So what are HCI vendors doing to address this challenge? Intuitive interfaces, comprehensive visibility into all the interconnected components, and real-time performance monitoring are just the start. While these characteristics help to visualize a trail and pinpoint where an issue may be occurring, taking proper action to mitigate the issue is where organizations need help. This paves the way for the next wave of manageability improvements in HCI environments: improving the ability to effectively find and, more importantly, address the root cause of an issue. This opens the door for a more pervasive use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. And in some cases ML and AI are used today, but we’ve only scratched the surface. The ability to detect an issue and trace it back to the root cause is available. Even recommending the action to take is available from some vendors. But what organizations require is a level deeper. They need prediction. And from that prediction, they need proactive action to be taken automatically before an issue even occurs.
With organizations embracing technology that continues to improve operational efficiency, what is your HCI vendor doing to help? How are they addressing the root cause analysis challenge? Are they leveraging ML and AI to predict an issue? Recommend a fix? What about automatically fixing it?