back to article Your pal in IT quits. Her last words: 'Converged infrastructure...' What does it all mean? We think we can explain

IT infrastructure has become more complex as virtualization and private clouds have added more cream and sponge to the technology layer cake within businesses. Tech budgets, meanwhile, are tightening, and the number of staff with skills to manage specialized areas such as networking and storage appears to be falling. This has …

Roll your own

When you said roll your own, I was hopeful of an article on how Windows Server 2016/2019 Storage Spaces Direct and Hyper-V on Supermicro tin (or Dell/HPE if you have 20% unused budget that needs spending) is a very compelling offering.

Made our own Nutanix style offering for our clients which scales well and is about 1/3 the cost of traditional HCI boxes from the big vendors.

I'm sure Linux has an equally good offering too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Roll your own

"Made our own Nutanix style offering for our clients which scales well and is about 1/3 the cost of traditional HCI boxes from the big vendors.

I'm sure Linux has an equally good offering too."

Totally agree that there's many ways of skinning the HCI cat. We've found very similar savings running our own using OpenStack + Ceph on SuperMicro kit and it takes a lot less work to deploy and maintain than the HCI vendors would have you believe.

Storage Spaces Direct looks pretty compelling these days too.

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Re: Roll your own

The cost of these HCI "appliances" from Dell, HPE, Cisco and Nutanix are eye watering.

Plus complexities of a new interface and managment stack coupled with vendor lock in make it seem to me like a terrible idea.

X86 tin with a common as muck OS that has virtual SAN, SDN and VMs sounds like a much cheaper proposition to me. Not sure why ElReg keep banging on about HCI being appliance based. VMWare, Microsoft and the OSS community all have their own HCI take built into the tools we all know. Coupled with cheap and entirely compatible X86 tin and it's a no brainer to me.

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Re: Roll your own

Roll your own is how we've been doing it forever. There's nothing wrong with that. However, there is a scale at which rolling your own becomes more expensive. It's not just about the acquisition costs, but the overall life-cycle costs of delivery/management/retirement that large organizations have to consider.

If you have plenty of admin/people talent and that's not going to change, then maybe roll your own is the best way. If you're constrained on admin/people talent, you may want to consider some of these HCI solutions.

The vendor I work with want's to provide the solution that works best for me. If you're sales team doesn't recognize that, you need to ask for a new sales team.

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Holmes

I think I get it now

I've been wondering how people can honestly put their crown jewel data into someone else's server, and now I think I get it :

1) Make sure technical network expertise gets rare by making training more expensive

2) Complicate everything by introducing new technology and make sure to constantly repeat that it is important

3) Companies go to The Cloud en masse

4) Profit !

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Re: I think I get it now @Pascal

I think you need to change point 2. I think it should be:

2) Complicate everything by giving existing technology a new incomprehensible name and make sure to constantly repeat that it is different and important.

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Re: I think I get it now

5) Hire consultants like Clive Longbottom to buzzword you into how it's all so great and you should "get onboard" and because you're a buzzword addict but secretly don't understand any of them, you just agree with the purchase despite everyone warning you against it.

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Re: I think I get it now

> 1) Make sure technical network expertise gets rare by making training more expensive

That process started years ago when products began shipping without manuals, especially the "programmer's" manual. No manual? No problem. The vendor offers expensive (not just for the class but also requiring travel to some of the highest cost-of-living cities in the country), week-long (try convincing the boss you'll be out-of-town for a week) classes to cover a small fraction of the material that could have been covered in a well-written piece of documentation. It's a racket.

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We've seen the training requirements to be certified on a manufacturers system increase from 2 courses to a base of 4 then 2 extra for specific integrations. At £2k a course, certification is silly money but required to raise support cases with them.

As little changes between versions, to have to re-certify each time is becoming prohibitive.

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The new mainframe?

"Taking the converged approach to its logical conclusion is Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI), where everything is integrated into a single, highly virtualized appliance-like node, and storage is provided by pooling the direct attached resources across a cluster of these nodes. "

Sounds suspiciously like a mainframe being described in current lingo...

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Re: The new mainframe?

Yep, but without all of the high priests preening and primping it into glorious life.

Just a continuation of the inexorable raising of the level of the presented interfaces in all hardware and software systems over time. Thus reducing in the skills and the number of people required to get any given system to perform anything like what might be required. In other words, reducing the cost of providing those systems by reducing the required skills and numbers of people needed to implement them. Or just Capitalism doing it's thing.

Perhaps Thomas J Watson legendary quote, "I think there is a world market for about five computers" may not be too far out.

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Re: The new mainframe?

I'm guessing your down-voter works selling these solutions and is desperate for the emperors new clothes to remain unnoticed....

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Re: The new mainframe?

yep, pretty much describes a Sysplex to a T, something that's been around for what..20 something years now?

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Re: The new mainframe?

"Yep, but without all of the high priests preening and primping it into glorious life."

Given the "I think I get it now" thread are you sure of that?

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Re: The new mainframe?

>Yep, but without all of the high priests preening and primping it into glorious life.

Once you start running Unix, Windows or Linux at datacenter scale, you'll discover they also have their own priesthoods...

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Re: The new mainframe?

"Just a continuation of the inexorable raising of the level of the presented interfaces in all hardware and software systems over time"

Yep, while underneath the complexities are very real. How many folks can use a browser to buy something over the Internet, compared with how many understand the interactions end to end which achieve that result? And the skills to understand that are few and far between.

It's what caught RBS out some years ago - no-one understood the whole picture in detail so each bit worked but the whole didn't.

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Back to the middle and round again!

Did you reckon the Boss knew there was a limit to VLANS. #buyakettle

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>The vendor I work with want's to provide the solution that works best for me. If you're sales team doesn't recognize that, you need to ask for a new sales team.

I thought the vendor's sales team goal is to meet their sales targets. And when the customer is finally locked in, they can have a grand party

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