Many businesses are replacing their traditional IT server infrastructure with a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). Why? HCI makes it easier for IT teams to manage and deploy resources, reduce hardware and maintenance costs, speed up app development, enhance security, and improve scalability and flexibility.
But what is HCI exactly? This article will answer that question and then go over some of the challenges you might face in implementing it in your business.
What is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure. It combines computing, networking, and storage resources into one virtualized system. All are integrated through a single software platform, making it easy to deploy, manage, and scale data resources.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global hyper-converged infrastructure market is projected to grow from $6.79 billion in 2021 to $32.19 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.9% during that period. Needless to say, HCI is a popular new way for businesses to structure their data networks.
However, transitioning from traditional IT infrastructure to HCI can be challenging. Here are some potential challenges you may run into:
1. Covering the high cost
Though HCI can save you money in the long run, it can have high upfront costs, especially for large enterprises. HCIs are a bit like cars. The base model may have one price, but by the time you add on the cost of all the extra features, it can be more than you expected.
To determine what your budget is and then shop for an HCI solution that fits your budget. Don’t forget about the costs of licensing any bundled software in the HCI virtualization stack, the cost of extra data storage, and other miscellaneous costs.
Read the fine print of the deal so you aren’t caught by surprise.
2. Transitioning smoothly
Transitioning to HCI is a major undertaking. To ensure everything runs smoothly, you must maintain open communication between your in-house IT team and vendors.
For example, breaking down data silos too fast can cause confusion among your data center staff. All of a sudden, it may not be clear who is responsible for what.
In addition, while it is designed to simplify data structures, HCI can be complex to manage across multiple sites, especially when scaling a business up or down. So take your time when implementing changes.
3. Overcoming compatibility issues
Unfortunately, an HCI solution may not always be compatible with your existing applications. As a result, adopting HCI may require a significant amount of IT restructuring. So take this into account when choosing an HCI vendor.
4. Working with multiple suppliers
Most of the time, adopting an HCI virtualization stack requires working with multiple vendors. This can be tricky as each provider has their own ways of doing things and you must coordinate their efforts.
For example, you may get frustrated by the complexity of getting support and find that vendors who are responsible for only a portion of your HCI display a buck-passing mentality, referring you to other vendors to fix problems. However, reputable HCI vendors will work with you to solve any issues.
5. Filling staff needs
Running an HCI may require specialized skills that are in short supply, which can make it difficult to find qualified staff. For example, your HCI may require staff that knows how to support an EOSL hyper-converged infrastructure appliance. Without the right skills to operate an HCI, having an HCI will do you little good.
6. Avoiding vendor lock-in
Lastly, when you choose to work with an HCI provider, you risk getting stuck with them. Why? HCI usually requires proprietary hardware and software. So if you later choose to move to another solution or upgrade, you’ll have to undo a lot of your IT infrastructure. This can tie you to a specific vendor and make it harder to innovate.
One alternative is to use open-source HCI. It’s more customizable. However, it’s also usually more complex to use and will require more effort to adapt on your part, which may defeat the point of pivoting to a simpler solution.
Ultimately, the decision to adopt HCI is up to you. Do your research and avoid misjudging your network needs. If you decide to implement HCI, choose a reputable provider to work with. That’ll make all the difference in ensuring you experience a smooth transition.