In this ESG360 Video, ESG's Mike Leone and Mark Peters discuss current issues and trends in the world of Converged Infrastructure.
Read the related ESG Blog: Talking Converged Architectures
Announcer: The following is an ESG 360 video.
Mark: Today's IT world is enormous and we're all concentrating so much on the outcomes that sometimes it's important to look back at the individual components and realize both what's happening there and also the implications of changes in those areas. Today I'm joined by Mike Leone. Now Mike covers a whole range of things but for today, Mike, we're gonna concentrate on we'll call it the converged area, which, of course, converged encompasses multiple things. Let's start there. What does that encompass?
Mike: Absolutely. So I work under the infrastructure segment here, focusing on converged, hyperconverged infrastructure. So really everything around integrated computing.
Mark: Okay and integrated computing means? For the uninitiated.
Mike: Think of it as the consolidation of a traditional siloed infrastructure. Things like networking, compute and storage, all in an easily consumable...let's call it in some cases an X86 server. A simple box.
Mark: Okay. Well we'll come back to that simplicity in just a second. I mean for now what I'd like to ask you is just a couple of things that are going on. So for someone who perhaps concentrates either in a different area or specialization within IT or who concentrates on the big picture and they just hear about this hyperconverged stuff or HCI or even just converged infrastructure. What are a couple of things that are going on? Could be from a technical perspective. It could be from a vendor perspective. It could be some outside influence but a couple of things that someone should know so that they're au fait with this part of the industry.
Mike: Yeah, sure. So I mean, really, a lot of this is all around operational efficiency. Right? You want to be able to do more with less but you want to make sure that what you're doing more of benefits the organization. So as we look at some of these big meta trends, things like IOT, SmartEdge there are a lot of ideal implementations using hyperconverged infrastructure, for example, that can help fill the need to be, let's say, footprint efficient. Be able to quickly and easily deploy something that can live on the edge, do a lot of fun, cool things there for you and then have it be somewhat automated. Easy to consume, easy to manage, etc. So this concept of IOT that we're gonna see pushing out more and more and more, hyperconverged specifically at the edges, I think gonna be a very big, big play.
Mark: Is that what's motivating people? I mean is it the simplicity? Is it about managing it or deployment? Those are two very different things. Or is it, again, that easy scalability? I mean or all of the above?
Mike: Yeah, it's really all of the above. I mean the big angle there, a lot of organizations they want to consolidate. They want to digitally transform. They want to have...to understand that Cloud consumption model and they want to do it on prem first. Right? And the ability of converged and to a greater extent hyperconverged to be able to offer that simplicity, that Cloud-like consumption model, the ability to scale easily and effectively, and, again, do it all cost-effectively, that whole area is just ripe. Every organization out there wants something like that. It fits their needs. Now it's a little bit a matter of what work loads do you want to put on hyperconverged infrastructure? Do you want to leave it on converged? Do you want to move it to the Cloud? And there's going to be a balance. There's still a learning process. What applications are best fit for hyperconverged, Cloud, etc?
Going back to your initial question, another angle that we're starting to see a lot more time and effort dedicated to from a lot of the HCI vendors is around Cloud integration. That ability to take what you've learned on prem and your Cloud-like infrastructure and put it in the Cloud, and move it back and forth and go between Clouds. Multi-Cloud. That's gonna be another push on top of the IoT that I just mentioned that I think you're gonna see a lot more of, especially as trade show season starts coming into play. Definitely pay attention to what people are talking about in terms of Cloud integration.
Mark: Is there anything from a technical perspective, and I don't need to go into the weeds here, but is the market you covered really all about adoption, deployment, learning new things that we can do with these growing range of offers?
Mike: Yeah, I mean I think it starts there and I think that's the case with a lot of new technologies. Right? What's easy to go after first? In IT it's complex. It's siloed and we need a better way to do it, right? So that's fine and a lot of the early benefits that the early adopters and even the people who are still adopting now, they're going after it for the consolidation benefits and the price point of being able to get there and scalability and easy deployment. All those kinds of things, right. But the next level, the next feature set, the next thing that people are gonna start doing it's more about putting multiple workloads on a single, scalable infrastructure. It's more than that.
It's "Okay, now how am I going to be able to do machine learning and artificial intelligence? And apply things like that to my data that's living on there? How am I going to be able to address challenges that people are having related to hyperconverged on things like root cause analysis?" That happens to be the number one challenge that people are dealing with when it comes to hyperconverged infrastructures, right? So being able to combine that machine learning, artificial intelligence angle to address that challenge and other challenges, for that matter. Where's the best place for my workload to live?
Mark: You raised an interesting point which I'm just going to reflect on. I mean that root cause analysis is really interesting. So I mean hyperconvergence clearly has many benefits but you don't...you can't, sort of, get rid of the rules of physics if you like. I mean you've got simplicity, you've got scale, and easier management and so on but yeah, when you have problems there are still problems within the component parts.
Mike: Exactly and because all those components are integrated now, right, you can see most of them from the same management interface, what happens when something goes wrong? Whose fault is it?
Mark: So that helps. Well that leads me, okay, to where I wanted to get the conversation and this is, you know, the last thing we'll cover today but a lot of what goes on in the various, if you like, component areas within what constitutes IT, a lot of it is focused on making what we already do better. Is that the sole focus of hyperconvergence or is there some way in which if you do hyperconvergence well, can that improve business results at the end of the day? Is there some way? What do you think to that?
Mike: Absolutely. So, I mean, a big thing that we're seeing now is it's up time. Reliability. Right? So how do we do that? Going back to the root cause analysis it's, "Okay, wouldn't it be great if I had something that can predict a failure before it occurred?" Sure, absolutely. Everybody wants something like that, right? But how does that impact the business? Well, more up time means happier end users. Happier end users means better reviews. More likely to come back and do business again. All of which comes back to better outcomes for the business. More revenue, right? And on top of that, as you're starting to weave in those data-driven initiatives that are also part of the digital transformation journey, now it's more end users, more data, better decisions from faster insights, etc.
And you can start seeing how the concept of hyperconverged and data platforms are actually starting to blend a little bit together, and now this goes to the SmartEdge that I mentioned earlier. Well, great, now I'm getting all of this data in a nice consolidated infrastructure at the edge. Now I'm gonna bring it back to the core where I may also have a hyperconverged infrastructure that's a little larger, or a converged infrastructure for that matter. Right? And now I'm taking that data, I'm bringing it all together into a core area that I can do my analytics on. And that, I think, is gonna start being the next big driver. It's doing analytics on the data across different locations on a consolidated infrastructure.
Mark: I'm gonna stop you there because I'm gonna hold the analytics conversation for another day, but...no, no. But I think that really helps. I think what we often find in IT is that if things are just about improving what we already do, eh, they're interesting but they're not...when I say not long for this world, they get very subsumed and they just become part of the day-to-day plumbing. When something has value as you've just described beyond that, in terms of actually helping the business, so it shows that HCI clearly has a longevity in terms of value because it can help an organization. Rather than just help the organization's IT department. Mike, thank you very much indeed.