We’ve all heard the expression “Teamwork makes the dream work.” That’s as true in the office as it is on the field, and it’s especially true with your technology infrastructure.
Imagine the benefits of an environment in which all of the components are designed to seamlessly work together, eliminating costly hiccups and headaches. That’s not a dream — it’s converged infrastructure.
What is Converged Infrastructure?
Converged infrastructure is all about teamwork. It’s a unified combination of your three technology MVPs: networking, data storage, and compute (or servers). With converged infrastructure, all the players on the team are aligned toward achieving the same goal. Many of the world’s largest, most respected technology manufacturers have collaborated to specifically design and validate the three individual components — networking, data storage, and compute — to ensure they all work together. This cooperative effort among manufacturers results in one giant benefit for you: streamlined infrastructure.
Why is Converged Infrastructure a Benefit for Government?
Budget and staffing are a double whammy of major IT challenges for government. Government budgets are shrinking, just as they are in the private sector. Though unlike the private sector, government’s structure and processes make it much more difficult to hire IT personnel. In many cases, this results in government becoming understaffed in IT, which leads to other issues like inefficiency and slow adoption of new technology.
Converged infrastructure helps solve both budget and staffing challenges by:
- Making it easier and faster to repair any infrastructure issues.
- Making it easier and faster to find the root cause of infrastructure problems.
- Streamlining the design process, because design is already predefined — there are very specific instructions for set-up.
- Providing a more reliable infrastructure solution, in which all components — networking, data storage, and compute — are designed to work together.
- Maximizing affordability over the life of devices, because the investment is up front.
- Reducing the number of staff needed to for set-up and maintenance.
- Empowering rapid deployment with a decreased time to production, because it takes less time to go from install and configure to launch.
The bottom line? A converged infrastructure system can be deployed quicker, with fewer staff, fewer problems, and an easier path to problem resolution, saving you both time and money — short-term as well as long-term.
Here’s a real-life scenario: Imagine an online driver’s license renewal process goes down. Without a converged infrastructure in place, a finger-pointing game begins as staff search out the root cause of the problem. Is it networking issue? Did the software crash on the compute? Is the storage corrupt? This process can take valuable time, all while pressure to fix it builds, and users’ impatience grows. With a converged infrastructure, the diagnosis is faster and easier, so you can get things back up and running in less time.
Why Don’t Agencies Switch to Converged Infrastructure?
The biggest reason government agencies don’t switch to converged infrastructure is the refresh cycles for each of the components — networking, data storage, and compute — are out of sync, and they can’t afford a simultaneous change. For example, when brand-new compute is paired with outdated storage and network, all from different manufacturers, many times there’s just not enough budget to replace all three at once.
There is a solution! Companies like NWN address the refresh cycle problem by creating multi-year plans that result in a converged infrastructure environment within 3 to 5 years. So if you can’t go all-in to replace your infrastructure, you can achieve it longer term with a step-by-step plan designed by experts and tailored to your specific needs and challenges. It’s definitely an end result worth waiting for.
One final thought: Hyperconverged infrastructure environments — which have fewer physical pieces and feature servers with one physical location — are even easier to maintain than converged infrastructure environments. In the long term, hyperconverged is also more affordable than converged. However, hyperconverged does require a simultaneous replacement of the three components, and cannot be phased in a multi-year plan.
To find out whether converged infrastructure — or hyperconverged infrastructure — is the right move for you and your team, get a free NWN assessment today. We’ll evaluate your current configuration and make recommendations based on your budget, timeline, and needs.