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How to Choose a Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solution

Level 11

Running a traditional data center infrastructure for years can put your company in a rut, especially when it’s time to pick a new solution. When electing to trade out your traditional infrastructure for a sleek new hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), it can be a difficult paradigm to shift. So many questions can arise in selecting, and many HCI vendors are willing to answer those questions, which doesn’t necessarily make it easier. When deciding to switch to an HCI solution, it’s important to take stock of your current situation and assess why you’re searching for a new solution. Here are some things to think about when choosing an HCI solution.

Do You Have Experienced Staff?

Having staff on-hand to manage an HCI solution should be the main concern when choosing a solution. Traditional server infrastructures generally rely on several siloed teams to manage different technologies. When there are storage, networking, server, and security personnel, it’s important to decide if an all-in-one HCI solution is a possibility. Is there enough time to get your team spun up on the latest HCI solution and all the nuances it brings? Take a good look at your staff and take stock of their skillset and level of experience before diving headfirst into a brand-new HCI solution.

Support, Support, Support

Support is only considered expensive until it isn’t. When your new HCI solution isn’t working as planned or your team is having trouble configuring something, a support call can come in very handy. If the HCI solution you’re looking into doesn’t have the level of support to meet your needs, forget about it. It does no good to pay for support you can’t rely on when it all comes crashing down, which it can from time to time. Ensure the vendor’s support provides coverage for both hardware and software and offers support coverage hours suited to your needs. If you’re a government entity, does the vendor provide a U.S.-citizen-only support team? These are all important questions to ask of prospective vendors.

How Will the HCI Solution Be Used?

First things first, how will you be using the HCI solution? If your plan is to employ a new HCI solution to host your organization’s new VDI implementation, specific questions need to be addressed. What are the configuration maximums for CPU and memory, and how much flash memory can be configured? VDI is a very resource-intensive project, and going into the deployment without the right amount of resources in the new HCI solution can put your organization in a bad spot. If the idea of HCI procurement is coming specifically from an SMB/ROBO situation, it’s extremely important to get the sizing right and ensure the process of scaling out is simple and fast.

Don't Get Pressured Into Choosing

Your decision needs to come when your organization is ready, not a vendor’s schedule or pressure to commit. Purchasing a new HCI solution is not a small decision and it can come with some sticker shock, so it’s important to choose wisely and choose what’s right for your organization. Take stock of the items I listed above and decide how to proceed with all the vendor calls, which will flood your phones once you decide you’re looking for a new HCI solution.

6 Comments
MVP
MVP

Is there a breakpoint between traditional and HCI for example ten servers or is it more complicated than that?

We are in the process of deploying traditional servers for a VDI project based on advice from suppliers.

MVP
MVP

Thanks for the article.

Level 14

Thanks for the article. 

Level 16

Thanks for the write up

Level 12

Pete asked an excellent question. There must be a point or region where there's a break-even, on one side the cost of HCI is worthwhile and on the other side the cost is greater than the benefit. Anyone have the experience to identify where this point is?

Level 12

thanks for the post