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SURVEY: HCI adoption in its early stages in SA

Just over a third of local firms have implemented a hyper-converged infrastructure solution, a recent survey revealed.

Read time 3min 30sec

With just over a third (33%) of local firms having implemented a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution, adoption rate is still in the early stages in SA.

This is according to an online survey conducted by ITWeb in partnership with IT services firm First Technology IT Group. The survey aimed at examining how well versed South African businesses are about HCI solutions and captured input from ITWeb's IT professional and decision-maker community in November last year. HCI can be defined as a software-defined infrastructure that combines compute, storage, and data services in a single solution.

When asked about their understanding of HCI, most respondents opted for "easy to manage solution that brings cloud-like simplicity on-premises' or "a data centre solution supported by one vendor, allowing you to manage everything as a single system through a common toolset."

While the concept of hyper-converged infrastructure is increasingly gaining traction globally, the survey reveals that the majority of local firms have not embraced it yet.

Almost 40% of survey respondents said they have no plans to adopt HCI, while 30% are considering adoption.

The primary reasons cited for adopting HCI were ease of scalability, and high availability, followed by cost management and ability to manage entire infrastructure through a common interface.

Gerhard Olivier, manager of solution consulting at First Technology IT, says organisations can derive much needed value by deploying a hyper-converged solution, resulting in simplified management of workloads and scalability.

"HCI plays a significant role in enabling IT agility and flexibility within an organisation, allowing workload mobility and providing efficient scaling of application performance and capacity. Because HCI appliances are designed to support multiple types of workloads, IT can now spend less time on managing and monitoring the infrastructure," he explains.

Of those who had no intention to implement HCI, almost a half (47%) said they were satisfied with their current infrastructure solution. Another 22% said they do not see a clear benefit of HCI to the business and 13% cited budget constraints or implementation costs.

However, over a third of respondents said more than 70% of their infrastructure is already virtualised; a further 19% have between 50% and 70% virtualised infrastructure.

Olivier points out that during the tough economic times, HCI appliances make the purchase decision easier for business leaders as there's a tangible cost saving.

"IT departments can save costs by no longer having to purchase servers, storage and third party software separately for future workload requirements. Organisations can implement a HCI system by starting small and scale in incremental units later, according to business requirements."

Migration challenges

First Technology advises organisations to conduct thorough planning before adopting a HCI system.

"Proper planning and testing of the correct HCI solution needs to happen, and the new solution has to be architected correctly. This means choosing the correct HCI solution that will meet all the business and IT requirements, as well as understanding the customer's applications and workloads."

According to the survey, 'possible downtime' emerged as the respondent's biggest concern when migrating from a legacy system to a new solution, while 'application processing' came in second and 'user continuity' was the third biggest concern.

Who responded?

The 2019 Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) Survey, in partnership with First Technology IT Group, was run online on ITWeb for a period of two weeks to gain valuable insight into the HCI strategies of SA organisations.

A total of 170 responses were received for the HCI Survey.

29% of respondents are CEOs or MDs and 35% middle management.

25% of survey respondents are from fairly large companies with between 501-5000 employees and 12% are from multinationals with over 10 000 employees.

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