Delivering on the promise of HCI
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) has become an attractive option for organisations looking to simplify the increasing complexity of managing their IT and data in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. This can at least partly be attributed to the pandemic and resultant lockdown conditions around the world. Remote working has become part of the fabric of society, and HCI is a critical enabler to help facilitate this.
“For HCI to be effective, it must combine cloudlike features and services while delivering them on an integrated application that takes care of any data management challenge. This is especially critical given the evolving regulatory requirements and changes in the operational dynamics of business across Africa,” says Anthony Njoroge, Product Manager at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.
NetApp, a vendor that is one of the key partners in the Westcon-Comstor Inspire Africa programme, has architected for hybrid cloud requirements long before it was popular to do so. For them, it is not a case of retrofitting existing technology to deliver full HCI value. Instead, it is about leveraging its HCI systems to help customers build their on-premise and hybrid cloud environments.
Focusing on the user
But beyond the technology, HCI must be able to deliver a streamlined user experience to make day-to-day operations easier. In the case of NetApp Hybrid Cloud Control, the lifecycle manager of NetApp HCI and SolidFire, people can easily upgrade and manage installations with an intuitive API and user interface.
“It also features an integrated dashboard that lets companies monitor utilisation and performance. This sees handy comparisons between CPU and memory utilisation alongside storage performance and capacity. APIs can be used to build custom monitoring tools, and dashboards based on the insights gained," adds Anthony.
And in true cloud fashion, NetApp notifies the business of compatible upgrades for the management services, storage nodes, and firmware on the compute nodes. These can be commenced from either the user interface or the API if it should be automated.
Of course, HCI has seen the realisation of disaggregated architectures. With this, mixed workloads can be run at scale, further contributing to an increase in end-user compute and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. One of the key benefits of such a software-defined approach is that customers have more freedom to run their workloads on the services or cloud environments of their choice.
“NetApp provides complete control of HCI environments. This empowers organisations with a digitally-led environment that is up to the availability and scalability requirements of a digital age. Using NetApp, businesses across the continent get access to complete application portability that can work as effectively in an on-premise system as it does in the cloud. Moreover, it is about gaining access to cloud-led, data-centric software innovation that delivers the full power of the cloud to decision-makers to effectively manage data irrespective of where their employees are working from,” concludes Anthony.