This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent industry perspective, Converged Infrastructure: Putting Public Sector IT Ahead of the Curve. Download the full resource here.
To keep IT resources under control, more and more of government is turning away from a hodgepodge of enterprise expansion to the more manageable strategy of converged infrastructure, or CI. With this approach, numerous IT components are combined into a single, optimized solution. Network infrastructure and capacity are shared among all lines of an agency, with a single vendor providing a point of contact for all IT-related issues. The IT infrastructure grows organically and seamlessly as needed.
Once a CI infrastructure is in place, growth can happen efficiently from that core. Devices can serve more than one group or location within an organization, which allows capacity to more closely match needs, without money being spent on unused capabilities. Older equipment can also be phased out in favor of newer resources.
CI More Widely Accepted
In a recent survey of over 400 IT professionals, an astounding 92 percent of organizations with over 5,000 employees had already implemented some form of CI, or were considering implementing it. This is a significant rise from just 18 months before. Clearly, more and more organizations are becoming serious about more dynamic control of their IT.
According to the survey, the most common projects driving the need for CI are those for big data, infrastructure as a service, unified communications and custom application development. These are heavy-hitting tasks that a network administrator could not hope to implement with a traditional IT setup, not without prohibitive use of resources like worker hours.
CI Still Not Well-Managed
The same survey noted that, of the organizations that have CI implementations, a full 63 percent say they manage their deployments by repurposing the tools they were using to manage their traditional infrastructure. And one quarter of them are dealing with seven or more tools to keep it working.
Using outdated tools to manage a state-of-the-art CI system is kind of like using standard “fraction of an inch” wrenches on a metric nut and bolt. It isn’t quite right for the job, and unless you are on top of things all the time, the tool may slip. This is most evident in the increased challenges in provisioning the infrastructure using outdated tools.
With traditional tools you may need to perform any number of extra steps, such as making sure drivers are updated, configuring the BIOS or even setting up credentials so the different components can even talk to one another. Tools that are designed for the infrastructure would automatically take care of these minutia.
In order to effectively and efficiently manage a CI system, the appropriate tools need to be utilized in that area as well. Whereas a more traditional network monitoring suites would send an alert if a certain static threshold were exceeded, it may not be enough to keep up. The more proactive the monitoring application is, the more it uses analytics to help head off problems before they start and the fewer alerts there will be that staff needs to actively pursue.