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What is Converged Infrastructure?

Converged infrastructure (CI) is a storage environment built for high-performance and optimized capacity. Available in all-flash, hard disk, and hybrid arrays, CI consolidates platforms while making it easier to add new components. It combines computing and storage into one appliance that can be networked through a hypervisor. Small and powerful, these dynamic platforms can integrate with other architecture, save time and money on deployment, and unify data center management.

Converged infrastructure (CI) is referred to by some industry pundits by many other names, including dynamic infrastructure, fabric-based computing, unified computing system, integrated system and component bundle. Regardless of how we refer to CI, the end goal remains the same: to make the procurement and management of IT components easier and more efficient by placing them in a single bundle.

How does CI work in cloud and data centers?

Within private or enterprise clouds and data centers, CI monitors the capacity of your data center infrastructure through data recognition. It helps your IT team see and understand exactly how much storage, memory, networking, and computing resources are available at any given moment in real time. 

CI, in many ways, is the natural progression of the data storage virtualization movement, in that it allows for even more compact consolidation within the data center. CI allows for pre-configuration, so each unique enterprise can choose for itself which features to prioritize. As a relatively new offering, for new ventures that do not have the issue of trying to manage legacy storage or hybrid cloud environments, CI makes it possible to save space, avoid servers entirely, and configure their enterprise for the types of workloads they focus on very narrowly.

Are CI systems made for the distinctive needs of my enterprise?

Because they are built to meet the needs of your specific infrastructure, your CI system will already know how to handle the workloads you throw at it. That makes this type of storage and computing extraordinarily reliable, and what it produces for your enterprise far more predictable than many other infrastructure types. Built around a blueprint created by your internal IT team (or IT consultant for your firm), your CI will make hyper-efficiency an everyday part of business operations and development. CI works exceedingly well as an environment for software development and information technology operations (DevOps) because they allow developers to scale applications up and down within seconds rather than minutes. CI systems are also able to automatically provision resources so IT teams won't have to manually configure at any point during cloud deployment.

A more stable and enduring enterprise data environment

Converged platforms and networks within enterprise can handle highly complex data security operations and offer better protection through improved continuity at every level of virtual and physical storage environments. With CI structures, every component of the infrastructure is housed within one bundled box. That means you’re only using one resource for storage—regardless of how many applications you’re running, or how many departments you’re running them through. With the eradication of multiple or duplicate physical storage components, you’ll be putting an end to redundancy and under-utilized arrays within your data center.

How do I manage my CI system?

CI systems don't use the same type of management that storage area networks (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) systems use. CI management software usually includes a user interface (UI) that can be administrated from a single monitor. The combination of CI and management software will allow the enterprise to deploy infrastructure faster, enhance productivity, automate workflow operations, and streamline lifecycle operations. For ventures interested in running CI alongside other storage, software and other components, Tintri VMstack Converged Infrastructure is an ideal choice.

What does the future hold for converged infrastructure?  

Right now, CI systems are concentrated on data centers loaded with virtual machines (VMs)—but the upcoming use of bolt-on CI nodes will allow for more efficient scalability. In a future that makes CI even easier to use and potentially even more affordable than it is today, it will no doubt become more attractive to small and medium-sized business owners who don’t have the financial resources for in-house IT staff. On the other hand, CI systems of the future will also likely be used by small teams within large enterprise organizations, as this will allow them to work on individual projects “off the grid” from the private cloud used by the rest of the company.

Tintri VMstack Converged Infrastructure

Oftentimes, enterprises want to take advantage of solutions offered by CI systems but opt out because they fear there won't be choices for other storage or computing options later. Just as Tintri offers solutions and software for enterprise environments and hybrid clouds, we also deliver a way to manage converged infrastructure—without having to make a choice you don't want to make.

With Tintri VMstack Converged Infrastructure, you can manage changing workloads without changing stacks. If your business is expanding, evolving or even downsizing, the modular structure of VMstack allows you to modify as needed without operational interruptions. Tintri’s VMstack installs quickly and easily so you can configure storage, network and compute within minutes. You can automate CI management at the VM-level to troubleshoot across your entire infrastructure so IT and development teams can work together or help one another with issues interchangeably. Unlike traditional storage built on logical unit numbers (LUNs) and volumes, Tintri's stack is VM-aware and operates on the VM-level—perfect for virtual storage, since VMs are the currency of cloud.

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