5 Reasons for Businesses to Move to a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Information technology is evolving with each passing year, and only the forward-looking companies will catch up on promising innovations and integrate them into their operations early. One of these breakthrough technologies is the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), also known as hyperconvergence. In a nutshell, hyperconvergence is a virtualized IT architecture that combines crucial data components into a single, unified software platform, including backup, networking, storage, computing, protection, and more.

Although the concept is still to gain the traction and recognition it deserves, the technology is expected to rise in popularity in the years to come due to the numerous benefits it brings to enterprises. Let’s take a look at what hyperconvergence brings to the table, and how it can help you run your company from a highly-sophisticated and centralized piece of software.

Consolidating cross-department workflow

The first major benefit of a hyper-converged infrastructure is the ability to bring various functionality features such as compute, storage, and networking under a single virtual architecture. This means that you can consolidate wide area networks, eliminate duplicates, and manage backup storage from a centralized location, and with a great deal of automation and efficiency to boot.

With a streamlined workflow architecture such as this, you can easily transfer virtual machines between entire data centers in your company, and of course, different HCI appliances. What this means for your company as a whole is that back-office applications such as inventory, HR, accounting, reporting, quality control, and CRM systems can all be managed in the virtual realm.

Increased data protection

Data protection is one of the most important elements of a high-functioning and effective IT infrastructure. Hyperconvergence is a grand step forward for data protection and infrastructure resilience, as it offers a complete data recovery toolkit to keep your business safe. The software additionally allows you to back up your data on a public cloud storage platform if need be.

Another vital advantage of a hyper-converged infrastructure lies in higher infrastructure resilience. Given the fact that the data is not stored in a single location, but rather scattered across multiple nodes and even entire data centers in different locations, there is no way for the entire system to give out at any given point. If an entire HCI appliance goes offline, other data centers and nodes will ensure that you maintain performance and retain control of the data at all times.

Flexible and scalable growth

Traditional IT infrastructures based on manual computing and decentralized architectures are notoriously difficult to scale, especially in a rapidly growing environment. The innate lack of flexibility of these systems requires you to provision, configure, and finally implement computing power and storage capacity. On the other hand, innovative cloud computing platforms that are both hardware and software-based are built on hyper-converged infrastructure and offer easy and intuitive scalability through automatic capacity expansion.

You can simply attach a new HCI appliance into the hyper-converged infrastructure to achieve this, all without having to go through money-wasting downtime as you would with a legacy system. Instead of spreading compute and storage capacity across multiple separate functions, every HCI appliance is a self-sustained environment you can easily upgrade in small increments – effectively maximizing efficiency and accurately scaling your infrastructure.

A cost-effective solution

Increased revenue is not the only measure of success in the modern business world, as cutting operational costs and minimizing financial leaks are also vital elements of long-term solvency. Unlike traditional infrastructures, hyper-converged architectures have a low entry cost because of their streamlined requirements for equipment. Complemented with high virtualization on all fronts, the cost-effective nature of this solution becomes clear.

While legacy infrastructures required the components to be physically replaced in order to give way to new, more powerful hardware, hyperconvergence allows the business to add new features seamlessly and limit on-site IT for better cost reduction and higher long-term sustainability. Nevertheless, some form of on-premises oversight will remain for the foreseeable future.

Automation at its finest

Automation within traditional infrastructures has always been wishful thinking rather than a possibility, especially in complex enterprise systems entailing the use of multiple systems and various hardware. However, hyperconvergence is a software-defined data center, which means that all of the essential services and features such as storage, compute, and servers are managed within a virtualized infrastructure. This high level of centralization makes the automation of certain tasks a distinct possibility for the first time.

Before the creation of the hyper-converged infrastructure, IT needed to procure and integrate hardware from different sources – a problem that hyperconvergence eliminates by creating a cohesive computing environment. This directly influences the efficiency of the infrastructure, allowing you to automate tasks and cut upkeep costs significantly over the long run.

In conclusion

The hyper-converged infrastructure is the way of the future, and it’s rapidly weaving itself into the modern business world. By integrating hyperconvergence into your business structure and eliminating legacy systems, you can achieve higher efficiency and performance while elevating data protection and ensuring responsive scalability that will aid the further expansion of your business.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Starting a Product-Based Business? How to Save Money on Shipping Costs

If you’ve got products you need to ship, you can save a lot of money by doing things the right way. Shipping can be one of the biggest costs of your business so learn how to save money shipping things.

Calculate it Right

Make sure you always calculate the shipping price right. Make sure you charge your customers the right price for shipping so you can get an accurate idea of what you need to ship things the right way. Never offer free shipping unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t lose money on it.

Ship it Yourself

If you think about used trucks from places like Arrow Truck Sales, you can actually save money on shipping. If you have a big business and are selling a lot of products, it might make more sense to ship the products yourself and then have them go to a distribution center. This may not be the best idea for very small companies, but purchasing a used truck can really make a huge difference for the growth of your business.

Consider Shipping Services

There are many shipping services that might help you. Things like Fulfillment by Amazon may help you save money on shipping. You’ll have to pay to ship your products to the center, of course, but you can save money shipping it to your customers. If you’re selling on a platform, always find out if they offer fulfillment services. This is usually the easiest way for you to save money on shipping costs so you can make sure you’re doing everything the right way and doing things that make it easier on your business.

Compare the Prices of Shipping

Always compare the costs of shipping with different companies if you plan on using a shipping company to get your goods out. If you’re going to help people see the things you have and if you’re going to ship directly to everyone, you need to compare your costs. Choose the company that not only has the lowest price but also has the best service for you to try and use.

There are many ways you can get your products to your customers. Think of all the different ways and don’t be afraid to get creative with the ideas for shipping. Always consider all your options and think about combining some of them to help yourself get more from the options you have. It’ll help you treat your customers better while also growing your business.

What To “Tech Away”? To Build Or Buy Your Computer Infrastructure?

When pushing forward as a dynamic entrepreneur, there are so many different aspects to keep a handle on. For most of us, technology is quite an alien concept, and, because there is such an importance on having the right server package, as well as an inappropriate IT infrastructure in place, it can seem like quite a big expense. So, either the topic of outsourcing comes to mind, or, whether you can harness the appropriate balance in house and build your own IT infrastructure. This is something that lots of people now do to build your own, or is it better, and cheaper, to buy?

To build…

Building your own IT infrastructure, whether it’s a server or a vast system, requires a lot more prior knowledge, of course. But in building your own server, there are many different things you have control over. In terms of how you are building the system, you will have the final say over every aspect of the system. From the circuit board design, all the way up to the data capacity, which is great in terms of wanting to save money. Building every little aspect of the system does require the best people on board. If you have limited assistance at your disposal, you will have to put more money into finding the best people for the job. This can be an expense upfront, but it can be worth it further down the line. In addition to this, by having the appropriate staff members on board that have this finite knowledge, you can utilize their unique skills when you want to expand the business. This does sound quite complex as a startup opportunity, but this is why so many of them outsource to external companies…

To buy…

To buy the server, or even to outsource to an external company, means that you have, to an extent, relinquished control over your IT infrastructure. While so many IT support companies make their living supporting startup companies, this means that you are in capable hands. Lots of these companies provide servers that are scalable depending on the success of your business. They can also provide 24-hour help, which might not be possible if you decide to build a server in-house. And while you are paying for this service, lots of these providers can charge through the nose, but some are cheap, depending on what you want out of your IT infrastructure. This begs the question, what do you want from your server? You have to crunch the numbers, especially if you are after considerable results from your tech.

But, in conclusion, this is why so many businesses decide to outsource in the first place. It’s simply, a solution that they don’t have to deal with in house. But, this does mean relinquishing your control to an extent. If you are an entrepreneur that has the overall vision of everything under one roof, this can be a fly in the ointment. So, you need to ask yourself if you can make sacrifices now to make room for this  infrastructure that is purpose built, or if you need to get the business up to a certain level and so, outsourcing becomes the only option. Budget is always the big takeaway from these issues, and you need to check the figures first.

Cloud Taking on Traditional Data Center Storage Systems

cloud_compWith cloud technology rapidly becoming the standard in data storage and retrieval, many traditional data storage companies are embracing the cloud, providing a list of benefits for clients.

Traditional data storage generally utilizes off-site, physical storage for documents.

In some cases, a data storage center might also retrieve physical storage media, such as DVDs and data tapes.

Still, in other cases, a data storage provider may allow a company to send and receive digital information to and from off-site servers that the storage provider maintains.

Why the Switch?

In any of the above-listed, services, the provider must be accessible to the company, but this comes with limitations if the provider is physically closed for the day.

Also, even if digital retrieval is possible, it’s usually made possible through proprietary software that can only accessed from the office.

This means that people needing to access data at home or on the go must wait for someone back at the office to access the data and then email it. If this isn’t possible due to size limitations, then the employee on the go may be out of luck.

Using cloud technology, data storage centers can offer access on a variety of devices; including smartphones and tablets, from almost anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Cloud Reduces Infrastructure

In the article, “Traditional Data Center Storage Systems are Moved to the Cloud,” it’s pointed out that traditional data storage providers are also moving to cloud-based technologies because it allows them to eliminate costly infrastructure, thus they can pass along savings to customers.

This makes the provider more attractive to potential clients as well. In a sense, a traditional data storage and retrieval provider can now be thought of as a middle man when the cloud is involved.

The provider still handles the actual routing of the data so that the client can focus on getting work done.

But, in this scenario, the service provider no longer has to maintain expensive services, install software updates, and complete other tasks that are required for hosting data.

The cloud services provider handles that part, so the data storage company now acts as a manager of sorts.

It’s important to note that traditional data storage is not dead.

Many companies will continue to host a copy of client data on their own servers as a precautionary backup up measure.

Also, most clients of these companies will continue to keep important data on-site for themselves as another backup measure.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include cloud technology and data storage.