Finding the right architecture which fulfils the actual and future needs of enterprises is more complex than it used to be. Today, IT has to be very responsive to new emerging business requirements in order to avoid shadow IT. Responsiveness, flexibility and scalability are top of mind for every CIO and Infrastructure VP. The question for them is, which infrastructure is the right one to run their mission-critical core workloads and also help their IT organization to innovate and support the growth and competitiveness of their business? Or in other words is there a single infrastructure, which can run both worlds, the traditional one (or as Gartner refers to it as Mode 1, in bi-modal IT) and the exploratory mode (Mode 2)?
In this blog, I want to show why a Converged Infrastructure like FlexPod is a perfect match for small and medium organizations that are embracing this transformation by looking at various case studies and use cases.
Mode 1 – Traditional
FlexPod is a perfect infrastructure for Mode 1 environments and here is why. In the last 6 years, the FlexPod Converged Infrastructure has helped many small and medium-sized customers consolidate and virtualize their mixed workloads on one single infrastructure. A good example is SWITCH in Switzerland, who reduced their number of servers by more than 60% without any loss of reliability and flexibility in the scalability of the different components of the system. Another good example is STW Group in Australia who built an agile, reliable and flexible technology foundation based on FlexPod.
Besides consolidation, also automation is a big focus for FlexPod. The orchestration and management tools have been enhanced in the last 2 years to help system integrators and customers deploy and manage the platform as one system. Today, thanks Cisco ACI and UCS Director customers can automate the provisioning of their infrastructure 83% faster as in the past, and help them save resources.
Consolidation and automation are key for optimizing the core infrastructure and ultimately reduce costs. These savings can also be used to run Mode 2 projects, such as an analytics proof of concept or a hybrid cloud deployment pilot, which helps the business to innovate and differentiate.
Mode 2 – Exploratory
The big advantage of an advanced Converged Infrastructure solution like FlexPod is that you can easily run both workloads concurrently and on the same hardware infrastructure.. . There is no need for building an isolated infrastructure, instead you leverage the same stack and isolate the CPU, Storage and Networking resources for your Mode 2 application, data and traffic, without any side-effect. This means that you are more flexible and can shift resources from one type of workload to the other in just minutes.
Let’s have a look at the different workloads what enterprise and service provider organizations are deploying to embrace Mode 2.
OpenStack and Containers
An OpenStack Validated Design has been published in 2015, and in the meantime many customers have already deployed this technology on FlexPod. One interesting use case is Virdata with its Internet of Experience (IoX) platform. This platform was initially deployed using Amazon Web Services, but Virdata wanted the flexibility to host its solution on other cloud providers as well.
Furthermore, NetApp announced the availability of OpenStack Platform 8 on FlexPod to speed up Cloud deployment and deploy micro-services in containers.
Today, FlexPod is used by many IT-organization for a smooth migration to the Cloud. Customer deploy this converged infrastructure platform to build their Private Cloud. A good example is Toyota Tsusho Africa, who built a Private Cloud with FlexPod and Microsoft to create a more responsive, customer-centric service organization.
Another good example of a FlexPod Private Cloud, built together with VMware, is the Institute of Technology Carlow in Ireland. IT Carlow now has an enterprise class systems infrastructure based on a FlexPod platform that can grow vertically and horizontally as the business dictates.
Analytics is another big investment area for enterprise organizations in the upcoming years. The main requirements for these deployments are scalability and flexibility with respect to capacity and performance. Analytics being very new, the majority of organizations do not know how much capacity will be needed to store all ingested data and only have vague ideas on the server and storage performance needs to analyse the hot data. FlexPod has the best scale-up and scale-out on the market and therefore many customers have already deployed their analytics application on it. NHS provides its health care analytics platform to clinicians as its number of patients grew by three times. Additionally, Aegis Media is using FlexPod as the foundation for big data analysis.
We were able to see that FlexPod builds the foundation of innovation for many organisations. FlexPod is a versatile solution which helps enterprises and service providers fulfil current consolidation needs and bring the agility and flexibility needed to explore Mode 2 applications.