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The Challenge of Increasing Cloud Agility While Maintaining Your Existing Systems

Colin Gallagher Colin Gallagher
Vice President, Digital Infrastructure Product Marketing, Hitachi Vantara

September 23, 2020

When we think of change, it tends to involve progressing from one state to another. But in technology, change is more often than not additive. This creates considerable challenges for IT professionals.

Data centers have evolved significantly over the last 30 years, as new technologies and practices have entered the scene. Generally, these have not been wholesale replacements, but instead, have been additions to what’s currently managed. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is the latest addition that must be incorporated and managed alongside other technologies.

Software development practices have been advancing since its beginnings about a half-century ago, with methods changing according to new software techniques and new requirements from customers. The latest DevOps deployment methodology enhances collaboration between the responsible sectors for different segments of the development life cycle. For example, architecture has moved from monolithic to microservices, and deployment has gone from bare metal, to virtual machines, and now, to containerized workloads.

These alone are not singular outcomes for success – they are additive. It’s not about deploying one solution, but about how you can support a multitude of architectures and processes.
New systems of innovation must also coexist with the existing systems of record, delivering core business application with scale-up requirements.

This is the challenge of data center evolution – how do you support existing platforms while also adopting new revolutionary solutions, like HCI? There are finite hours in the day, and staff and budgets aren’t growing significantly. How can we free up time and resources to support the new systems of innovation?

Best practices that we’ve heard from customers include focusing on eliminating your steps from day zero to production and bringing in automation to improve time to production and reduce human errors. With HCI, abstracting the management complexity across converged infrastructure, hyperconverged infrastructure, and VMware Cloud Foundation allows you to operate a more focused team using less software, reducing management complexity, and improving productivity. Delivering management capability throughout the stack, from VMs down to the hardware components, allows you to make informed decisions based on the health of your entire platform.

This provides a modular approach best suited for the hybrid cloud deployments. But it’s not just infrastructure – it’s the workload service-level objectives across your multi-cloud platform with seamless mobility across traditional storage, HCI, and public cloud. This enables you to place the workload in the optimum environment that fits the profile for performance, availability, cost, and security needs.

Changes in data center infrastructure are incremental, which allows businesses to balance and maximize existing investments. Traditional SAN and modern hyperconverged infrastructure support varying business requirements on agility, scale, cost, and availability. While traditional three-tier and converged infrastructure provide the flexibility of best-of-breed components, HCI increases business agility with its compact design and scale-as-you-grow flexibility.

Although HCI is suited for hybrid cloud deployments due to its modular approach, data locality, and server-side economics, it presents the risk of creating another silo if careful evaluation of IT strategy is not done. While making HCI the first-class citizen, you must ensure that it interoperates with the rest of the data center, or else you’ll be trading one issue for the other.

Co-designed with industry leaders VMware and Intel, Hitachi Unified Compute Platform HC (UCP HC) delivers high-performance, scale, and VM density to support business-critical apps. SAP certified Hitachi HCI for running production SAP HANA app to accelerate business insights and modernize the SAP HANA deployments.

Unlike many unidirectional HCI vendors, Hitachi’s HCI seamlessly integrates with existing external SAN and provides the fastest path to the hybrid cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation. The flexibility to deploy hybrid cloud with UCP RS and external SAN enables businesses to maximize storage investments and choose the most optimal platform to deploy workloads that meet SLO needs.

The value of a seamless architecture of SAN, HCI, and public cloud is greater than the sum total of the individual solutions because of consistency, flexibility, and agility. The powerful integrated design creates a network effect, where having more users in the ecosystem generates additional value with reduced costs and the ability to deliver insight-led innovations.

The utility of an integrated design consisting of traditional converged infrastructure and HCI is greatly enhanced with unified management software that’s a single pane of glass for provisioning, configuration, inventory, firmware upgrades, operational analytics, and troubleshooting for the entire data center, including IP and SAN network switches.

Dutch multinational banking and financial services provider Rabobank, which has deployed Hitachi hyperconverged and converged solutions, shares its experience with UCP Advisor management software:

“With UCP Advisor, we can reduce the time it takes to provision a new physical server down to just seven or eight minutes. Those time savings mean we’re able to scale without adding a single new member to our team.” – Colin Chatelier, Manager of Storage and Compute, Rabobank

To learn more, please visit or contact your Hitachi or partner representative.

Colin Gallagher

Colin Gallagher

Colin leads product marketing for storage systems and software, and converged/hyper-converged solutions. He has 25-years’ storage marketing and product management and has a passion for telling stories about technical products that help customers solve business challenges.