Riverbed Hyper-converged Edge

Simplicity Pre HCI, a typical application delivery workflow required managing the network, storage and compute as separate entities each with their own management portals. The success and timeliness for the delivery of a new application depended upon the IT admin’s hope of all these segmented silos playing harmoniously with each other. Combining these made manageability of these components much simpler. A single pane of glass to manage all components of a service delivery stack meant less reliance on multiple groups and less chance of human error. Predictability From a business perspective, this model is a lot more predictable than any of its predecessors. Instead of over-provisioning...
Simplicity Pre HCI, a typical application delivery workflow required managing the network, storage and compute as separate entities each with their own management portals. The success and timeliness for the delivery of a new application depended upon the IT admin’s hope of all these segmented silos playing harmoniously with each other. Combining these made manageability of these components much simpler. A single pane of glass to manage all components of a service delivery stack meant less reliance on multiple groups and less chance of human error. Predictability From a business perspective, this model is a lot more predictable than any of its predecessors. Instead of over-provisioning scale-up architectures to account for 3-5 year growth, now one can design for what is required and grow as needed i.e. pay for what you need today. The “just in time sizing” makes budgeting decisions easier as admins can predict when further scale might be required based on organizational growth. From a technical perspective, it also provides linearity in both capacity and performance. Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions are built as equal lego pieces hence stacking more of these provides a linear and predictable amount of all resources. Consolidation with Convergence HCI’s align really well with not only the software defined next generation data centers but also with the CIO initiatives of consolidation. Consolidation has always been a primary point of focus since the beginning of the first branch office. It gives you greater control and governance of your intellectual property. It gives you better bang for your buck for a particular resource. Take storage as an example, almost 50% of all storage is unused. Combining multiple buckets of storage means less number of half empty buckets. Consolidation with convergence of functions gives you the ultimate bang for your buck. Instead of just consolidating your storage tier, convergence gives you the same business benefits for your entire IT infrastructure stack. Remote Office Dilemma We have seen that as IT administrators, Hyperconverged Infrastructures can provide a great mechanism for architecting and delivering services because they are inherently simple, scalable, and predictable. But now let’s shift focus to the consumers of these services - our customers. © 2015 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. Majority of the revenue-generating workforce resides outside the data center at remote office branches. If we design a remote office’s IT from a user’s point of view, we find ourselves at a paradox as it conflicts with all the benefits mentioned above. Let’s take a look at some of these. Performance Dilemma Performance equals productivity. Nowadays, performance and experience are two of the biggest factors in retaining a customer—internal or external. If we are not giving LAN speed performance to our users, they cannot function and hence productivity suffers. If we put a conventional HCI at these locations to solve the performance challenge, we forgo the simplicity and ease of centralized management, data protection, governance and support WAN Dependency Dilemma Many IT decision makers that end up consolidating everything, try to balance the scales by provisioning additional bandwidth and sometimes using traditional WAN optimization solutions. These work for numerous use cases and applications, however, as a user I am still WAN dependent. My experience becomes unpredictable depending upon the time of day and consumption of services, not to mention WAN outages that can completely inhibit my ability to get my work done. Stateful Branch Inflation Dilemma As IT admins, usually stuck between a rock and a hard place, we have to balance the consolidation-distributed service delivery mechanism based on individual applications. Some services do not work well over the WAN, also certain applications are mission critical and require near 100% up-time with no dependency on WAN or data center infrastructure. These normally end up at the branch. Once there is infrastructure to support stateful applications in the branch, they tend to grow and inflate beyond control. You start with one service, and with every user complaint, you end up placing more stateful apps in the branch, resulting in more and more unmanaged and unprotected data at these locations. Hence completely losing the control and consolidation benefits of traditional HCI. Looking side by side from both the deliverer (admin) and the consumers (user’s) perspective, we can see this catch-22 3 Table 1 Pros, cons and tradeoffs of traditional HCI at Data Center & Remote Branch Office Solution • Traditional HCI ONLY at the Data Center, nothing at the Branch Service Deliverer (Admin in DC) • Good Admin experience • Consolidation. Simplicity Service Consumer (User in Branch) • Poor User Experience, Poor Performance, Poor Productivity • Control • Zero risk of data loss • Traditional HCI at Data Center and at the Branch • Poor Admin experience • Distributed management • Data at risk • Stateful Branch take longer to provision and recover Hyper-converged Architecture By now, we see the advantages and disadvantages of conventional HCI solutions. It clearly favors the admin and the data center, but is not best suited for the users in the remote offices. Before we re-architect the solution specifically for the branch, let’s take a look at what a typical HCI architecture looks like and what architectural benefits it provides. • Good user experience, performance and productivity • Data Protection issues. High risk of loss of user data. Figure 2 Multiple Application Stack Virtualization logically abstracted individual units of compute and gave us a horizontal compute layer. Making the stack looking like this. If we look at a typical application stack, it looks something like the following: Figure 1 Single Application Stack And architecturally, multiple applications, would look something like this. Figure 3 Virtualization In Application Stack Storage and software defined networking vendors did the same for the other two layers. © 2015 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 4
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