By IDG Online Staff
Australian businesses have long been recognised as leaders in the adoption of cloud services and the migration of core infrastructure to cloud platforms.
Yet as ambitious ‘cloud-first’ programs are executed, performance and complexity issues have led many organisations to embrace the middle ground – a hybrid IT solution combining public cloud and on-premises infrastructure.
Hybrid IT relies on distributing infrastructure and applications across public cloud and self-managed data centre infrastructure. For information strategists charged with delivering this strategy, that architecture can pose challenges because the applications most likely to be kept off of the public cloud are generally the most secure, performance-sensitive and business-critical systems that are currently in place.
On-premises architecture must therefore offer the same modern, virtualisation-based architecture as public-cloud platforms – while delivering similar high-availability, high-reliability and high-scalability performance characteristics.
Fast-growing hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms are increasingly being recognised as an ideal enabler for this strategy, with a software-based design that combines robust computing infrastructure with a high degree of centralisation, integration, flexibility, and analytics-based monitoring and manageability.
Redefining enterprise architecture
HCI has proven to be a perfect match for businesses such as the global spirits manufacturer, Beam Suntory.
The company’s aging Wonderware manufacturing execution system, on which its 47 offices and 27 manufacturing plants rely to manufacture more than 70 brands including Jim Beam, Laphroaig, Hornitos, Midori and Courvoisier, presented a business risk from the chance of unplanned downtime. Even an hour of lost production could cause losses totalling millions of dollars, so the company considered options for modernising its infrastructure.
An application like Wonderware is still unsuitable for cloud platforms, but Beam Suntory needed a platform that could deliver the same degree of performance, scalability, and reliability.
Wonderware was moved onto two Lenovo HX3310 hyperconverged clusters which combine the industry-leading performance of Lenovo hardware with Nutanix, the most widely-used HCI platform.
The integrated solution was tested, certified, and supported by Lenovo’s expert team, ensuring that Beam Suntory had a robust and modern application platform backed by a responsive team of HCI experts.
The HCI solution cut rack usage from 15U to 3U, simplified administration and monitoring of resources, and is predicted to cut ongoing costs by up to 35 per cent. And with power usage tipped to halve, the platform has become the new corporate standard for Wonderware.
“We’ve been so impressed with the Lenovo-Nutanix solution that we are rolling out the Lenovo HX Series across other locations worldwide,” Director Digital Technologies, Beam Suntory, Sanjay Kirtikar, said, while noting the HCI solution had “enjoyed consistent, uninterrupted performance since the implementation.”
On-premises infrastructure for the cloud world
In an era where cloud applications are characterised by flexibility and performance, conventional application infrastructures have fallen behind the curve. Companies are struggling with challenges including high capital costs; the long time to deployment for new applications and services; unplanned application outages; challenges providing or testing disaster recovery capabilities; and low infrastructure utilisation rates due to ‘islands’ of computing infrastructure.
These and other issues are key reasons businesses have become so enthusiastic about public-cloud offerings. Yet public-cloud platforms have their own challenges: one recent AMR-Rackspace surveythat, in hindsight, 97 per cent of Australian C-level executives would have made different strategic decisions during their first cloud migration. And 71 per cent said business risks around the new platform were not addressed seriously enough.
HCI offers an alternative by taking awith a completely software-defined platform that integrates compute, memory, storage, and virtualisation into a single platform. This allows enterprises to extend the life of their investments and modernise their data-centre architectures without losing control of their applications.
Increasing appreciation of the rock-solid reliability of HCI solutions is driving strong sales of the platforms which, according to market analysts, IDC,to $US3.5 billion in the second quarter of 2018.
Just like Beam Suntory, major enterprises around the world are discovering the way the software-based, virtualised design of HCI platforms can improve application flexibility, disaster recovery and centralised management.
Resources are allocated in software, which allows them to be shifted between storage, compute, and other resources as necessary.
Automation becomes easier, allowing companies to focus less on operating their infrastructure and more on operating their business.
And by facilitating integration with legacy and cloud platforms, HCI links on-premises applications with both the past and the future – all with the peace of mind that a global support network like Lenovo’s can provide.
Cloud computing will certainly be important in the future, but it is not the only option for businesses that need highly-scalable, highly-reliable infrastructure for their mission-critical processes. By combining the best of both worlds, they can move to a robust, virtualised infrastructure that will keep essential applications accessible and running long into the future.
To learn more about the way an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure can help you build the right infrastructure for the future,to download our free Hyperconverged Infrastructure eBook Guide for the Enterprise.