Moving from an era characterised by siloed legacy infrastructure and sprawl, the converged infrastructure couples multiple systems using software, to simplify design and management. Hyper-convergence takes this a step further by introducing modular systems that tightly integrate compute, storage, networking and virtualisation, are highly agile, scale out quickly and easily, and can be managed off a single pane of glass.

Crucially, convergence and hyper-convergence also help fast-track the move to the cloud. Gartner expects hyper-converged infrastructure to go from zero in 2012 to a $5 billion market by 2019, becoming the category leader by revenue in pre-integrated full-stack infrastructure products.

"As a way to more simply procure, implement and manage IT infrastructure over its lifetime, converged infrastructure has been a game-changer," says Tom O'Reilly, CTO at VCE EMEA.

Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, says in her white paper: ‘Converged Systems with Software-Defined Automation: A Path to Faster, Better and Cheaper Application Deployments': "To combine IT agility with new levels of business responsiveness rapidly, a leapfrog approach to new hardware configurations and the benefits of integrated software infrastructure may be necessary. IT departments in crisis should therefore consider the software-defined data centre (SDDC) model deployed on converged or hyper-converged infrastructures."

A Total Economic Impact Study, commissioned by VCE and carried out by Forrester Consulting, found the choices in the move to cloud include public cloud and the DIY approach to building an internal private cloud.

"Sitting in between these two extremes are converged infrastructure solutions such as VCE, which is another approach to creating private clouds," Forrester says. It adds a fully integrated solution from a vendor offering converged private cloud solutions and fast-tracks the journey-to-cloud from a technology standpoint.

In its study, Forrester surveyed organisations that moved infrastructure and data operations to a private cloud through an investment in VCE. Among the benefits, these organisations achieved:

  • A 25% increase in application developer productivity, thanks to faster provisioning and agility. Development teams also benefited from both improved system performance and reduced provisioning time.
  • A 20% improvement in cost avoidance, through avoided storage capital expenses, and reduced networking and software costs. Virtualisation technology through VCE converged infrastructure also reduced power costs, and the ability to pool and quickly provision IT resources reduced system administration costs associated with managing infrastructure and maintaining Web servers, middleware software, and systems.
  • A 30% increase in IT operations efficiency by overcoming highly complex and constrained data centres that were managed in silos. By supporting automated IT processes, VCE converged infrastructure private cloud computing simplified provisioning and scaling up and down resources through automation and easy-to-use Web consoles and APIs. Organisations estimated that over a three-year period, they saw overall time savings for their application owners and IT managers increase by 5% to 10%.
  • A 5% to 10% improvement in business productivity as a result of IT performance improvements, with overall business value benefits. IT's ability to respond faster to business requirements reduces the need for external resources. Business also benefited from having more reliable applications, faster time-to-market of new applications and projects, and reduced downtime.

Todd Pavone, executive VP, Product Strategy & Development at VCE, notes while the benefits are clear, "making the shift to hyper-converged platforms is as much about changing the IT culture as it is the technology. A well-designed hyper-converged architecture enables an IT organisation to make that cultural shift at its own pace and speed."