Enterprise IT has been struggling to truly evolve. Despite the cloud and mobile devices, there has been no huge reason to make drastic changes to the structure of IT departments, the way they procure new technologies or how co-workers interact. IT professionals and business leaders probably think that if enterprise IT isn’t broken, why fix it?
Hyperconverged infrastructure, however, could shake up this status quo. These new data center solutions are essentially all-in-one appliances that combine compute capabilities, storage systems and networking equipment. Much like the cloud, hyperconverged infrastructure virtualizes its resources and is supposedly easily scalable – IT teams just need to add more appliances, but whether that translates to scale is still up for debate. Additionally, these solutions introduce operational efficiencies, as the out-of-the-box nature of these systems demands that little setup is required, and in the long run, the benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure help reduce IT costs.
“54% of organizations will adopt hyperconverged infrastructure in the near future.”
Rising adoption rates
If hyperconverged infrastructure sounds intriguing as you read this, you aren’t the only professional who feels that way. According to a report from ActualTech Media, only 25 percent of businesses leverage these systems right now, but the general consensus is that a majority – 54 percent – of organizations will adopt hyperconverged infrastructure in the near future. The source found that 41 percent of large corporations with upward of 5,000 employees plan to implement these data center solutions within the next 36 months, while 36 percent of midsize enterprises and 23 percent of small companies indicated that they have a similar adoption strategy.
Simply put, hyperconverged infrastructure is set to become the next big stepping stone for enterprise IT. Making the transition to a hyperconverged IT model won’t be easy, however, as it will certainly impact the roles of today’s IT professionals and the daily tasks of IT departments.
A shift in responsibilities
There are essentially two main tenets of hyperconverged infrastructure. First is that IT teams will have a single piece of hardware that meets their compute, storage and networking needs right out of the box. Second, these systems virtualize assets, sharing them similarly to the cloud, and effectively making storage area networks old hat and reducing the need for certain data center components. While off the bat, this development might seem like new roles are required, in reality, it calls for a shift in some roles’ responsibilities.
An eye on virtualization
TechTarget provided examples of a couple of oft-referenced positions that must learn new skills and adapt their jobs to manage hyperconverged infrastructure: storage and networking. The source asserted that these solutions will impact where storage exists, and IT professionals who achieve “an 80/20 split between enterprise class storage and a converged platform” will be able to reduce their need for zoning and SAN administration, among other tasks. The best advice overall for storage professional would be to learn more about virtualization and how to maintain high availability.
Meanwhile, networking teams have their own handful of changes to deal with. TechTarget explained that these roles will become very familiar to software-defined networking and micro-network segmentation. In brief, networking will be about configurations and rules with hyperconverged infrastructure, not managing physical equipment.
Roles that might vanish
Then there are infrastructure architects and the shift of responsibilities in that regard. Traditionally, these IT professionals are consulted during the tech procurement process, as they design and tinker with infrastructure. Obviously, with hyperconverged infrastructure, there is not much that an infrastructure architect could do. Tech Republic asserted that these individuals will remain relevant, however, because business and IT teams still need to understand technical requirements before purchasing and deploying new systems.
“Hyperconverged infrastructure will impact how IT roles interact.”
Roles that will stay the same
For the sake of the discussion, programmers and developers will have the same role at businesses leveraging hyperconverged infrastructure. However, they must consider the differences when developing in virtual environments. After all, virtualization and hyperconverged systems look a lot like cloud environments. So, software developers should be aware that their jobs are about to get a lot more efficient, as Simplivity explained that accessing resources will be much simpler – a frequently touted benefit of infrastructure as a service.
Demand for cohesion
Hyperconverged infrastructure will also impact how IT roles interact. Hyperconverged.com contributor and vExpert James Green recommended that businesses “remove the silos” from their IT departments. This is a great way for companies to get a handle on virtualization, and by breaking down barriers, IT teams can become more efficient and solve problems or outages much quicker, Green asserted. In this regard, IT professionals’ roles will become more business-oriented the longer that a company uses hyperconverged infrastructure, which stressed a need for solid collaboration skills.
Love it or hate it, enterprise IT is slowly opening the door for conversations about convergence, simplicity and virtualization – all components of hyperconverged infrastructure strategies. Implementing this technology might seem difficult, but IT professionals must accept that the industry will change every now and then, and that isn’t necessarily a negative.