To meet application demands and cope with IT sprawl and rising operation costs, converged infrastructure is a total data-centre platform in which compute, storage and networking are combined into a self-provisioning pool of shared resources
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Today’s data centre requires the ultimate in business agility to support application demands while addressing issues of growing IT sprawl and rising operation costs. The historical models of business units and corresponding IT resources working in silos with infrastructure dedicated specifically to each unit or specific applications are no longer efficient or effective, with a need for a paradigm shift.

Enter the concept of converged infrastructure, a total data-centre platform in which compute, storage and networking are combined into a self-provisioning pool of shared resources. This can be managed by a single management pane and can be up and running, ready for applications, within days or weeks of deployment to a data-centre location. This article offers a quick ‘cheat sheet’ on converged infrastructures.

What is converged infrastructure?


Converged infrastructure, also known as integrated systems or unified computing, is an approach to data-centre management that integrates multiple IT components (such as storage, networking and compute) into a single, optimised computing solution. When these components are combined – including servers, data storage devices, networking equipment, etc – management of these resources is centralised and simplified, thus achieving better effectiveness and efficiency.

A key concept of the converged infrastructure is modularity. Rather than using purpose-built servers configured towards specific applications (as is often the case in a traditional data-centre architecture), a converged infrastructure is made up of modular, near-identical server platforms that are virtualised into a shared pool of server, storage and input/output resources that can be quickly and easily combined, allocated or repurposed for various application requirements.

This model of architecture enables unprecedented IT agility to meet business demands and also increases overall utilisation by dedicating resources to where they are actually needed, thus minimising idle resources.

The ideal consumer of a converged infrastructure is any enterprise with limited IT staff, an enterprise that wants to focus its IT resources on other core competencies (i.e. application development), or a large enterprise with a high mix of on-demand services that wants to consolidate its resources into a shared pool.

These customer types will have the most need for better cost efficiency and streamlined service delivery out of their data-centre infrastructure, while also reducing complexity of management and maintenance with a prepackaged turnkey data centre/cloud platform.

Benefits of converged infrastructure


An effective converged infrastructure solution consists of a single pool of resources, greatly reducing management complexities and improving overall IT efficiency. Several compelling benefits of converged infrastructure include:

IT agility and responsiveness

  • Ensure high availability of applications, services and essential data;
  • Easier integration of new technology without compatibility glitches;
  • Quickly spin up applications to leave no revenue behind.

Resource efficiency

  • Manage open architecture best-of-breed technologies such as servers, storage, networking and application services centrally;
  • Balance processing power, bandwidth and capacity planning across application workloads.

Cost savings

  • Decrease hardware/software overhead;
  • Outsource logical IT services while maintaining control over mission-critical workloads;
  • When architected with Facebook-inspired Open Compute Project (OCP) hardware, significant power/cooling savings can be achieved.

AMAX’s converged infrastructure solution


AMAX offers its own version of a converged infrastructure solution. The CloudMax Converged Cloud Infrastructure solution, which was recently named as the winner of Intel’s Server Innovation Award, is a turnkey cloud solution featuring integrated compute, storage and networking components that can be architected on both traditional and OCP platforms.

New Picture

AMAX’s CloudMax™ OpenStack software package gives users the control and flexibility that they need for building a reliable IT infrastructure with complete virtualisation of cloud, networking and storage components with automatic deployment and simple, streamlined management.

This turnkey cloud platform can be integrated with open switch technology, featuring open switch OS technologies from AMAX Open Networking OS (ONOS) w/SDN support, which is based on Broadcom’s field-proven Fastpath technology with over 75+ million network ports deployed.

The converged cloud platform also serves as the infrastructure for IO Data Centers’ IO.Cloud product, which is a secure and open foundation that delivers Data Centre as a Service (DCaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities on any premises, anywhere in the world. You can find the reference architecture here.

Is converged infrastructure the future of the data centre? Given the evolution of cloud computing, big data analytics and storage requirements in recent times, as well as the overall evolution of today’s information consumption (including a near universal reliance on mobile devices and the expectation of IT availability anytime, anywhere), it seems only fitting that the infrastructure for these services must be centralised, powerful, nimble and virtually real-time responsive.

http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Data-centre-2-1024x717.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Data-centre-2-300x300.jpgDavid O'RiordanTechcloud,data,software
  Today’s data centre requires the ultimate in business agility to support application demands while addressing issues of growing IT sprawl and rising operation costs. The historical models of business units and corresponding IT resources working in silos with infrastructure dedicated specifically to each unit or specific applications are no...