Today’s data center requires the ultimate in business agility to support application demands while addressing issues of growing IT sprawl and rising operation costs. The historical models of business units and corresponding IT resources working in silos with infrastructure dedicated specifically to each unit or specific applications are no longer efficient nor effective, with a need for a paradigm shift.

Entering the concept of converged infrastructure, a total data center platform in which compute, storage and networking are combined into a self-provisioning pool of shared resources, managed by a single management pane and can be up and running, ready for applications within days or weeks of deployment to a data center location. Here is a quick cheat sheet on converged infrastructures:

What is Converged Infrastructure?

Converged infrastructure, (also known as integrated systems or unified computing), is an approach to data center management that integrates multiple IT components (such as storage, networking and compute) into a single, optimized computing solution. When these components are combined, including servers, data storage devices, networking equipment, etc., management of these resources is centralized and simplified, thus achieving better effectiveness and efficiency.

A key concept of the converged infrastructure is modularity. Rather than using purpose-built servers configured towards specific applications as is often the case in a traditional data center architecture, a converged infrastructure is made up of modular, near identical server platforms that are virtualized into a shared pool of server, storage and I/O resources that can be quickly and easily combined, allocated or repurposed for various application requirements. This model of architecture enables unprecedented IT agility to meet business demands and also increases overall utilization by dedicating resources to where they are actually needed, minimizing idle resources.

The ideal consumer of a converged infrastructure is any enterprise with limited IT staff or who wants to focus its IT resources on other core competencies (i.e. application development), or a large enterprise with a high mix of on-demand services who wants to consolidate its resources into a shared pool. These customer types will have the most need for better cost efficiency and streamlined service delivery out of their data center infrastructure while reducing complexity of management and maintenance with a prepackaged turnkey data center/cloud platform.

Benefits of Converged Infrastructure

An effective converged infrastructure solution consists of a single pool of resources, greatly reducing management complexities and improving overall IT efficiency. Several compelling benefits of converged infrastructure include:

  • IT agility and responsiveness
    • Ensure high availability of applications, services and essential data.
    • Easier integration of new technology without compatibility glitches.
    • Quickly spin up applications to leave no revenue behind
  • Resource efficiency
    • Manage open architecture best-of-breed technologies such as servers, storage, networking and application services centrally.
    • Balance processing power, bandwidth and capacity planning across application workloads.
  • Cost savings
    • Decrease hardware/software overhead.
    • Outsource logical IT services while maintaining control over mission-critical workloads.
    • When architected with Facebook-inspired Open Compute Project (OCP) hardware, significant power/cooling savings can be achieved

AMAX’s Converged Infrastructure Solution

AMAX offers our own version of a converged infrastructure solution. The CloudMaxTM Converged Cloud Infrastructure solution, recently named winner of Intel’s Server Innovation Award, is a turnkey cloud solution featuring integrated compute, storage and networking components that can be architected on both traditional and OCP platforms.

CloudMax Converged Infrastructure Solutions

AMAX’s CloudMax™ OpenStack software package gives you the control and flexibility you need for building a reliable IT infrastructure with complete virtualization of cloud, networking and storage components with automatic deployment and simple, streamlined management.

CloudMaxTM turnkey cloud platform can be integrated with open switch technology, featuring open switch OS technologies from Cumulus Networks or AMAX Open Networking OS (ONOS) w/SDN support which is based on Broadcom’s field-proven Fastpath technology with over 75+ million network ports deployed.

The converged cloud platform also serves as the infrastructure for IO Data Centers’ revolutionary IO.Cloud product, a secure and open foundation that delivers Data Center as a Service (DCaaS™) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities on any premises, anywhere in the world.  You can find the reference architecture here.

Is converged infrastructure the future of the data center? Given the evolution of cloud computing, big data analytics and storage requirements as well as the overall evolution of today’s information consumption including a near universal reliance on mobile devices and the expectation of IT availability anytime, anywhere, it seems only fitting that the infrastructure for these services must be centralized, powerful, nimble and virtually real-time responsive.

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