Guidelines to Prepare Data Center for HCI Appliance

By CIOReview | Friday, March 1, 2019

Organizations are deploying hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) as their virtualization framework as it allows them to utilize the hardware resources optimally. Before making the shift enterprises must confirm that their data center’s network and server racks support the new infrastructure. Deploying HCI requires proper planning even though HCI vendors tout their products as easy to implement and operate. HCI deployment complexity mostly depends on network and hypervisor management that must be planned before the deployment.

Evaluation of Need

Initially, HCI was introduced for a virtual desktop environment which later on got adopted for various virtualized workloads resulting in mission-critical applications. HCI clusters storage, networking, and compute into a homogenous system. This sometimes may lead to deteriorated processing power. Therefore, enterprises might require upgrading their hardware to meet the processing speed. Additionally, applications that need to be virtualized must be decided before so that proper estimation can be made and resources required can be determined.

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Upgrading The Network

The network is the key to a successful HCI with robust performance. To manage the workload effectively a minimum of 10 Gbps network is required. Further, the WAN connectivity to remote locations such as backup data center should be adequate to deliver seamless data transmission. Active and passive failover systems are kept synchronized through a combination of database replication and batch backups, which are reliant on the presence of low-latency and highly-reliable networks. An easier alternative to establishing own connectivity between data centers would be to leverage existing solutions, saving time and cost of deployment.

Another, issue to be addressed with the network is of security. Securing sensitive data is utmost important. Therefore, network traffic isolation is necessary for secure user access and optimal network performance. For isolation either VLANs configured over physical and virtual switches can be used. Else, vendors providing routing and firewall services can be chosen over others.

Scaling of Power

HCI appliances consist of many components that draw significantly more power than traditional rack systems. Organizations must make sure that the data center is capable of managing power requirement, not just at deployment stage but also in the future.

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