Technology Refresh

Technology Refresh

In a world that’s evolving at breakneck speed, your business needs to join the digital transformation. Is the periodic replacement of IT equipment to ensure continuous reliability, sustainable and agile Data Center infrastructure is in place that addresses improved density, performance and scalability. Unlock the Data Center’s legacy constraints, containment, its demands on the environment and impact on space, natural resources and your business.

Technology Refresh Cycle

Greening of Technology

The greening of our technology replacement must provide the most efficient, effective, most optimized low carbon footprint that can be achieved without sacrificing the business… getting more with less!

HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure) is the latest wave of technology refresh. The movement from traditional legacy and converged infrastructure to the cloud is underway.

But wait… what hardware does your cloud provider place you on to run your business? How can you be sure that they are no retracing steps of utilizing the cheapest hardware, the reclaimed hardware, legacy or converged infrastructure.

Things to Consider Selecting a HCI Solution

While iStormCloud is the only TRUE HCI solution. HCI is an emerging technology and every day we observe breakthrough innovation in solutions offered by multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). OEMs use component parts bought from other organizations to make devices. Before determining which HCI solution is best for your business, it is important to work through the key factors and features important for your unique environment. I’ve outlined some of the key features and common requirements to help you get started.

Downsizing: The most important component of a HCI solution is the ability to downsize the data center, maximize each rack deployed, eliminate cable sprawl.

Flexibility: The last thing anyone wants is to add another silo or layer of complexity to their infrastructure. When assessing HCI platforms also assess its flexibility. Can you add compute only nodes, storage, GPUs with ease? Does the software layer require add-on 3rd party elements like backup, replication, security, etc.? These are critical for specialized applications like ELK or different databases, VDI, ML or AI. The ability to support multiple hypervisors and containerized applications is also critical for modern data centers. The iPulse OS on iStormCloud allows for products like Nutanix or VMWare to ride on top of the appliance as a “guest”. Finally, ensure  compute nodes can be shared across HCI applications, non-hyperconverged nodes can connect to storage, and that there is support for mounting external storage on an HCI node.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Total cost of ownership (TCO): The IRR is the net rate of return which equals the Net Present Value (NPV) of the cash flows to zero. Z-IMPACT iStormCloud Ecosystem is would recover the total businesses current CAPEX and OPEX investment each year of operation. IRR Payback of reclaiming the current infrastructure (land, building, internal equipment) starting in the 1st year and actual return an amazing surplus over a 5-year investment, providing infrastructure agility and free up millions… as a positive cash flow to allocate to other business refinements. Then there is the … TCO it is important to estimate total cost of ownership for any solution you intend to purchase. Two critical points of consideration are pricing and licencing. Be wary of opting for a cheap upfront solution, only to discover the high cost of additional features support and continued support for year two and year three. Look for solution completeness and effective pricing with support over three to five years.

Management: A distributed data center can be complex ecosystem to manage.  Z-IMPACT’s iMesh Agility allows for seamless provisioning of Core workloads will no longer be static to your data center, cloud services will come from multiple sources, and the growth of edge computing driven by IoT and mobile workloads can drive management complexity on vendors other than Z-IMPACT, beyond what is possible from current IT staffing levels. The result is that enterprises often end up with multiple management solutions for different data center infrastructure needs. This not only complicates management, monitoring, and troubleshooting capabilities but adds up to significant costs. Z-IMPACT eliminates this confusion via iCanvas AI and cloud-based tool mean technologists can deploy the right infrastructure solution for each workload while managing them from anywhere. This ensures connected support, automation of core time consuming tasks, and consistency across data centers. The business benefits are twofold: less time spent managing infrastructure and reduced costs as applications are run in their ideal environment, on-premises or in the cloud.

Performance: Look for consistency, VM density, low latency, and scalability supported by HCI solutions. Z-IMPACT iStormCloud is typically 30x the performance of comparable solutions. Carefully size when comparing solutions as some OEMs often need significantly more hardware for the same workload as they do not have effective compression and dedupe features in their solutions. A common mistake is ignoring network performance – a high performance network offering low latency and high bandwidth is one of the critical factors for success in an HCI deployment. This is due to the large amounts of network traffic generated by an HCI system.

Resiliency: Enhanced resiliency ensures business application operational availability and continuity, even in event of node, disk, site, and software failures. Look for zero RPO and near-zero RTO high-availability for business-critical applications. Also important is a full set of enterprise data management features such as snapshots, thin provisioning, replication for disaster recovery and backup, data encryption, integration, instant and space-efficient cloning. A claim of 100% availability means 100%, built-in to the HCI ecosystem. Many other HCI systems need many 3rd party tools and site vendor complexity.

Scalability: Can it scale compute independently from storage and mix and match compute-only nodes? To have true scalability, you need not only an advanced scaling solution, you need replication software, DR/BCP capabilities and infrastructure agility that is native to Z-IMPACT software, to ensure you can scale not only across a physical solution we need to scale across regions or countries or theaters of operation as well in geographic synchronicity, interconnected as a single-pane-of-glass whether you are on-premise, in the cloud (private or public) or utilize a hybrid cloud.

Is there a difference between HCI vendors? 

Definitely. Many analyst reports are trying hard to create a HCI market with players that barely meet the standards of HCI and how they all stack up.

The biggest concern is the scalable of the infrastructure. All the current players in every analyst report cannot scale in the enterprise due to cable sprawl, ethernet reliability and the SAN fabric. Oddly enough Z-IMPACT has conquered these constraints and challenges. Our HCI is scalable regardless of the geographic location, scope, or scale of your deployment. Reliability over geography in edge computing must be considered as part of the fabric of scalability.

Our iStormCloud HCI ecosystem systems can each stand on their own independently, in a clustered vault or dispersed geographically and each synchronized. Our Hybrid Cloud offering builds increased reliability and scale as on-premise enterprise ecosystems become part of the overall ecology as the appliances scales out. Applications connected from the edge, regional business offices, subsidiaries, corporate offices all interconnect and share the resource pool to provide business continuity and disaster recovery for the overall business applications. Whether they’re homegrown, custom applications or independent software vendors applications.

Competitive Landscape Differentiation

Looking under the hood of the HCI vendor claims what can we expect to find? We found several claims to be manipulated and adjusted, they use the HCI term and verbiage but really sell you converged – Cisco, Dell-EMC, HPE and others.

Cisco HyperFlex

Cisco claims HCI, however in their definition the call it a platform (an aged definition since changed). HyperFlex indicates a stretched cluster capability (cluster of three components – cannot stand on their own); their HyperFlex Edge ROBO are compute and converged compute/storage nodes. Customers indicate other areas of needed improvement are Cisco backup and disaster recovery are areas for improvement. Therefore it is converged. But is the closest enterprise solution on the market contained within in a tightly coupled cluster, but under the hood all the underlying hardware is all converged.

Dell #GetModern Campaign November 2018

Powered by VMware vSAN and Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, VxRail requires a larger footprint, higher acquisition costs, more OPEX expense and just a more costly TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Typical HCI manages all scaled deployments, VxRail Manager cannot manage multiple clusters – not scalable. VMWare is listed as one of the top contenders but oddly enough VMWare just brings a piece of HCI not a solution unless connected to Dell or Z-IMPACT appliances. Another major flaw is VxRack Flex foundation is based upon ScaleIO which lacks key enterprise features: replication, deduplication and native compression. Dell relies purchased 3rd Party Software to deliver functionality at a price. Again just pieces not a complete functional, scalable solution – yes the need to get modern they are converged!

HPE Acquired SimpliVity to get into the HCI market

HPE SimpliVity is a low-end solution running on HPE ProLiant DL380 (converged), is not Enterprise grade,  and has limits on scalability – caps 8 cluster-nodes and 16 network nodes. HPE OmniStack compression and deduplication require a Accelerator Card (cost) to virtualize workloads not SDx. Backup is also based on old technology snapshot and cloning. Their definition they also call it a platform (an aged definition since changed). While HPE has some HCI characteristics the underbelly of the solution is converged.

Claimed HCI Hardware Players…

Download (PDF, 186KB)

Nutanix claims to have an HCI solution

Nutanix is not part of a tightly integrated solution. They list themselves as a SDS (Software-Defined Storage). Its software clearly can run on OEMed hardware Dell-EMC(Nutanix XC), IBM (Nutanix CS), Lenovo(Nutanix HC) and Nutanix can even run as a “GUEST SERVICE” on Z-IMPACT iStormCloud HCI ecosystem.  But, Nutanix is not HCI, it does not meet the above definition paired or unpaired on other hardware – unless it runs on Z-IMPACT Appliances. At the end of the day Nutanix uses some HCI technology, but an incomplete solution and runs on 3rd party hardware that proclaims HCI but is converged – therefore they are converged.

Additionally, these 3rd Party vendors also have their own proclaimed HCI solution and will sell this over Nutanix as recently cited as of November 15, 2018 in a DCIG Pocket Analyst Report were Dell-EMC VxRail claims advantages over Nutanix NX.

Since Nutanix is quite different than the hardware vendors listed and is a pure partial HCI software play, let’s break it down…

Download (PDF, 120KB)

In Summary the current HCI Industry and Analyst Coverage 

It appears to me that the proclaimed Hyperconverged Solution Providers like Nutanix, Dell-EMC, HPE Simplify, Cisco and IBM and a host of others claim that their solution are a “Hyperconverged” seem a bit of a stretch.

Only Complete “True HCI Solution”

Based on this definition it is believed that Z-IMPACT is the only complete, “True HCI Solution” that offers a Hyperconverged ecosystem on the market today. iStormCloud is tightly integrated with “Compute, Memory, Storage, Network and Virtualization”, in such neither can function without the other per the true definition of HCI above – it’s an HCI Ecosystem Appliance.

Due to our tightly integrated iStormCloud HCI Ecosystem we offer clients true Enterprise scalability, unmatched density, unmatched ease of provisioning, unmatched hardened Operating System with security built-in and software services to meet or exceed GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation), Hi-Trust HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), PCI (Payment Card Industry ), etc….

Z-IMPACT offers an incredible Cloud engine that not only can provide you with Hybrid Cloud, we use the same Cloud Engine in the iStormCloud E7000 in our cloud to ensure you have sync, async and host based replication solutions to ensure your business survivability, not just in the four walls of a data center, or a region, we give you a true global resilience and presence – global synchronicity of all deployed ecosystems!

Cutting Planned Downtime to Zero

Planned downtime is a period of time during which IT operations are restricted in order to implement upgrades, repairs and other changes. Unlike in more catastrophic types of downtime, planned downtime occurs when planners have set aside a particular time period to shut down or restrict operations.

Z-IMPACT signature migration services, iDCMP – Data Center Migration Program. Z-IMPACT has a World-Class ‘Gold Standard’ Migration Services Program and iDAMS – Data Center Application Migration Service. Allows a smooth migration in getting a timely GOLIVE of  Z-IMPACT’s iStormCloud HCI Appliances.

Once Z-IMPACT iStormCloud HCI Ecosystem is in place and the applications, data and processes are transformed to the new technology the technology refresh has been completed.  It is recommended that each on-premise deployment also purchase a 2nd redundant BCP (Business Continuity Planning) | DR (Disaster Recovery) location or select the Z-IMPACT iCloud Hybrid Cloud  as the 2nd or 3rd redundant location to guarantee the 100% availability.

Z-IMPACT Software, iPulseTM OS v2 IronRock (OS 17.02) is Operational Technology (OT) software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical hardware devices, processes and events on-demand in the enterprise. It takes over and the users will never experience any planned downtime outages only a great customer experience! With 100% availability we mean 100% – no planned or unplanned outages once migrated! This includes future new Z-IMPACT hardware expansions – new hardware in old hardware out Zero IMPACT.

Z-IMPACT Service puts in place an advanced iDRACS (Disaster Recovery & Continuity Solutions) to install our iMesh XaaS Agile Platform, iMesh Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), Advanced Firewall Security & Encryption solution, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Geographic Synchronicity.