One of the most common questions organizations have regarding hyperconverged infrastructure is how it affects the bottom line. With hyperconverged infrastructure, you combine storage, computing, and networking capabilities into a single device. The streamlined architecture, simplicity of management, and capacity to more easily scale data centers to support future technologies are all selling points.
However, IT managers are often left with key questions about what hyperconvergence looks like financially. How much does it cost to achieve? What does this new investment mean for legacy equipment? And what kind of ROI can you expect to help justify the move to hyperconvergence? Let’s take a closer look at some common considerations and bottom line benefits that can help put hyperconverged infrastructure into a financial context.
Understanding the Cost Drivers Behind Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Building a hyperconverged data center infrastructure flips traditional approaches to purchasing IT equipment on their heads. As Hyperconverged.org notes, “A traditional infrastructure has many moving parts to consider. Separate siloes for compute, storage, and networking are involved; they can be misconfigured or underestimated, making the whole infrastructure very complicated and expensive. By going with a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), you’re bundling the compute, storage, and memory siloes into a singular form factor.”
On one level, IT managers can assess costs and savings from the perspective of purchasing one form factor that does everything, versus all the individual components needed to build a data center. Configuration and management also come into play, both with immediate setup and over the long term. Yet the reality is that the savings and benefits go far beyond this one-dimensional view.
The ROI and Savings Benefits of Hyperconvergence
For many organizations, the immediate investment in hyperconverged infrastructure is significant. In order to understand how this affects the company’s long-term financial perspective, it’s helpful to understand that the financial benefits of hyperconvergence are more significant than an immediate savings on hardware. Here are some additional financial benefits of a hyperconverged infrastructure:
Reduced hardware and configuration costs—Hyperconverged infrastructure brings together networking, servers, storage, and virtualization into one single solution. Moving in this direction can reduce the costs associated with hardware purchases. In addition, the deployment and configuration of a hyperconverged asset can be more efficient. Traditionally, new purchases need to be integrated into an IT landscape that can include components from many different vendors. Streamlining communications, ensuring security standards are holding true, and maximizing productivity can get expensive. With hyperconverged infrastructure, deployment is streamlined and cost effective.
Decreased cost per workload—According to Hyperconverged.org, Moore’s law suggests that as technology advances and workloads become more complex, the associated costs increase. In a business landscape where new technologies and higher demands for capacity are scaling at never before seen rates, that can begin to look concerning from a cost perspective. Hyperconvergence, the author notes, can flip that perspective: “As HCI technology advances, compute, storage, and memory efficiency goes up, while the cost of HCI goes down. In essence, the cost per workload decreases.”
Shortened admin time—When your IT team is managing a variety of different functions—including networking, virtualization, storage, and more—the range of skills and staff needed to manage a data center can get expensive. As TechTarget notes, “…interviews with CIOs and other industry executives suggest that the primary benefits of hyperconverged architecture may be found in administrative cost reduction and in the technology’s smaller data center footprint.” Relying on administrative software ensures that routine processes are automated, freeing up your team to focus on high-value activities and reducing the associated staff costs with administration time.
Physical space management—In a recent piece, TechTarget stated one underappreciated benefit: “The key advantages HCI delivered are linked to the reduced physical size of the hardware. That smaller size translated into money saved.” Organizations can see savings in a variety of ways, starting with being able to integrate hyperconverged equipment into their current environment and eliminating the need to move, de-rack, and re-rack equipment. At the same time, a smaller footprint can help reduce costs of leasing space, cooling and securing data center areas, and even overhead costs such as cleaning.
Streamlined team needs—Over time, moving toward a model of hyperconverged infrastructure can affect your staffing needs. A traditional data center requires storage, compute, and networking specialists. With a hyperconverged infrastructure, a smaller team can be trained to handle specific equipment. Over the long term, this can help reduce the overall costs of your IT team, as well as the costs associated with completing specific tasks.
Improved collaboration—The benefits to the bottom line aren’t just about reducing your IT team’s needs. It’s also about capturing the benefits of a more streamlined and effective collaboration between assets and teams. TechTarget notes that at a recent conference, “CIOs and admins talked about how adopting a hyperconverged infrastructure architecture reduces the need for specialization, streamlines costs, eliminates blame between teams, and allows them to better deploy staff.”
Hyperconverged infrastructure offers organizations a range of bottom-line benefits. While making the move to a hyperconverged model requires an upfront investment, it can yield savings across the organization—from staffing to cost per workload. To make the most of your infrastructure upgrades in 2019, work with a knowledgeable partner that can assess your needs, design a custom solution, and support an efficient rollout across your data centers.