DCN August 2016 - Page 10

centre of attention BELIEVE THE HYPER HYPE Ian Shave of IBM assesses the real value of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure. I f you were to ask any group of IT managers, you would likely get agreement that too much time and too many resources are spent maintaining the separate hardware and software components that make up an IT system. In fact, according to IDC, companies spend roughly 70 per cent of their annual IT budgets on just keeping their systems running. That could change, however, in large part because of the growing popularity of pre-built and preintegrated systems known as converged infrastructure. The hefty price tag of IT maintenance will inevitably drop as companies move to 10 a more simplified IT system that can often work right out of the box. At the heart of the converged infrastructure boom are the very same forces that have made other technologies like cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) popular. But while cloud and SaaS have made the process of running IT systems more manageable, the trade-off with these technologies can be less control over the system. Converged infrastructure solutions aim to give back some of that control. Reinvesting in innovation and growth In an era of ever increasing data and devices, the simplified platform and centralised management of converged infrastructure can be a relief for businesses. An out-ofthe-box solution that is completely ready to run can mean less staff time and lower expenses focused on maintenance. Recent research with a sample of over 300 of our own customers revealed that companies that implemented an integrated infrastructure solution experienced on average a 30 per cent reduction in operating expenses. What’s more, a pre-integrated system can make for a more reliable IT environment. Businesses no longer need to struggle with the islands of IT and making sure that all the interconnections are optimised and are working properly. With converged infrastructure, a lot of the guesswork and the connecting of the elements together is already done. But for all the talk about saving money and improving systems performance, there are other less measurable, but no less important, benefits. For the IT staff whose days are filled with the tedious and highly repetitive tasks associated with IT maintenance, converged infrastructure offers a real opportunity to refocus their efforts on other, more creative ways to use technology and add business value. What’s more, for small to mid-sized companies with smaller teams, increasing productivity levels can be a necessity rather than a luxury. Solutions currently on the market can offer extraordinary levels of performance and efficiency and are suited to a myriad of workloads from cloud to Big Data analytics deployments, allowing IT departments to transform from a cost burden into an enabler of innovation and business growth. One company benefiting from just that is i-Virtualize. The managed services provider implemented the IBM VersaStack offering in partnership with Cisco, to help its