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Interest among NOREX members in the deployment of a “hyperconverged infrastructure” is growing, according to discussion during a recent WebForum.

Topic: Converged vs. hyperconverged infrastructure

Let’s talk about convergence and hyperconvergence. I was wondering what the difference was so I looked this up. This may be common knowledge to most of you but I think it is a good way to make sure we are all on the same page.

Converged Infrastructure

  •  3 separate appliances for compute, storage and network

 Hyperconverged Infrastructure

  • 1 appliance for compute, storage and network

 Topic: Hyperconvergence use-cases

  • Virtual desktops—Hyperconverged systems easily scale out as additional users are added, and the software-defined environment is ideal for this sort of virtualization. Analysts say that hyperconverged infrastructure that includes SSDs with built-in deduplication are often particularly beneficial for VDI.
  • Remote office/branch office — Remote locations often don't have on-site IT staff, so easy-to-deploy and easy-to-manage systems are highly desirable in these settings.
  • Hybrid cloud – Because of concerns about compliance, security or other issues, organizations may need to host some workloads in private clouds in their data centers. Hyperconvergence's agility, scalability and support for virtualization make it a very good fit.

 Moderator: Let take this poll to find out who has a hyperconverged system in place.

Chris M.: I got into hyperconvergence about two years ago, the latter half of 2015. Basically by the September of that year I was asked to, we had to, do an upgrade on our Citrix environment due to our ERP upgrade and our current environment wouldn’t be able to handle the upgrade.

So I had an opportunity to get a new platform and that allowed me to move everything out of my corporate data center down to a co-lo which we had some equipment already for our phone system and some other minor systems.

By doing that it allowed me to leverage my corporate as our DR site. So it really, that server density that comes with hyperconvergence really kind of enabled me to not only get a new production environment but make our DR environment much more robust. So it was kind of a win for me in that respect.

What we went with was Atlantis Computing. I just happened to, earlier in that year, do a proof of concept with Atlantis Computing. I was going to do more of a bake off between them and some of the other vendors but that is when I had to make a rush decision. I was fortunate though. I work with a resource that sells Nutanix and Atlantis Computing and then were pulling for Atlantis computing plus because of the proof of concept.  It was fairly new to the market.

At that time I got some very aggressive pricing. There were some incentives there from a cost perspective there for me to get into it. A little bit of a gamble on my part but it has paid off. We have been on for a couple of years here. We launched it in production actually January 2016 so over a year now. We run our Citrix environment. We run pretty much all of our critical servers including SQL on it. It has been handling the load quite well. It does have onboard SSDs with de-dup.

We just recently purchased another one because we needed more storage and more compute so it kind of worked out that way. We were planning on buying an additional one, probably a year and a half into it anyway just because we wanted, with our hardware refresh, we wanted to kind of be ahead of the game and not let the whole fleet get old at the same rate.

Overall it has really been a good product for us to leverage and it has been easy to manage. I think with Atlantis Computing for us we have had no major problems. The times we have called support they have been very responsive. When we call the first person on the phone is the person that you talk to. So like I said I had some cost advantages there.

Moderator: Thanks Chris. That is a great overview. The pros and cons cited earlier were kind of heavy on not using this for critical systems because of performance concerns but it doesn’t sound like that has been an issue for you at all.

Chris M.: No, I think the only thing that you have to watch out for is the size of the VMs because the storage is limited. You are not going to be able to attach, unless you are attaching another appliance. You are not going to be able to attach additional storage. So you have to be mindful of that. So anything with a heavy load, something that can grow exponentially like a file share or whatever you have got to be careful there. Just be mindful of it.

Topic: Hyperconvergence vendors

Let talk about the various vendor options. I had not heard of Atlantis Computing and it didn’t come up as one of the market leaders in my research. The ones you most often read and hear about, and this might be a function of Gartner and Forrester playing up the biggies, Nutanix and SimpliVity.

Moderator: Chris, when you made your decision you mentioned Nutanix. Did you look at any others?

Chris M.: I read about others. Nutanix specifically was one I was looking at. We were going to do a POC with them but like I said I ran out of time.

Based on conversations with folks that I knew and trusted we decided to go the Atlantis route. The thing is where I actually purchased this from they also sell Nutanix and at the time they would have been quite a price difference. So that kind of helped make it an easier decision for us.

Moderator: Was the price difference based on the brand name Nutanix or was there some significant difference?

Chris M.: I think that was part of it because Nutanix was playing in the space for much longer where Atlantis just entered two years ago.

Moderator: That makes sense. Well as you can see from the poll the majority are either using or are considering Nutanix. Other input on the options? A few folks selected other. I imagine Atlantis computing is one of them. Are there others that I missed?

Chad B.: There is Dell EMC, Cisco Hyperflex. Dell EMC is more the VF ____, VX rack.

Moderator: Have you looked into those? Anything you can share?

Chad B.: We are starting to look at them so Dell EMC and Cisco are a couple of our key vendors so we have been having some conversations with them and gathering some requirements from hyperconverged. To your pros and cons and use cases we are right on with what we have talked about and thought through up to this point. We have some meetings coming up over the next couple of months with those vendors to look at this a little further.

Moderator: Are you going to look at Nutanix and maybe SimpliVity?

Chad B.: I believe we will look at SimpliVity and then like I said Dell EMC and Cisco.

Moderator: Thanks for that Chad. I am forwarding a chat out from Ricky looking at HP HC380 hyperconverged device. What do you know about it, Ricky?

Ricky Y.: We are basically engaging with a vendor, looking to do a co-lo for our existing VMware. That is out blade servers, we have an HP and we have a SAN. For this co-lo move they are recommending a hyperconverged device. So they came up with theHC380 as a fiber solution to do a four node for us to move our seven blades down to four nodes.

Then they wrapped up the storage to match our existing SAN storage that we have to the device. We are looking at it and it should arrive in about a week or so to experiment  us on. So I wanted to see if anybody else is currently using it. I know that Nutanix is more popular and I just wanted to see. I know that there is a big cost difference between Nutanix being the leader verses the other brands out there.

Members may download the Hyperconvergence transcript at any time. For more information, please contact NOREX.