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 …

  1. The Original Steve

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. The Original Steve

        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.

    2. stewey

      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.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    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 !

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      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.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      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.

    3. rnturn

      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.

  3. wyatt

    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.

  4. Roland6 Silver badge

    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...

    1. Julz

      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.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        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?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        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...

      3. Unoriginal Handle

        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.

    2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      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....

    3. Robert D Bank

      Re: The new mainframe?

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

  5. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Back to the middle and round again!

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

  6. Muppet Boss

    >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

  7. f11

    Do it yourself..not so much these days..

    In the US stores like Home Depot and Lowes are seeing a long term decline in the number of do it yourselfers..the same thing is happening in the computer industry. Nobody makes anything anymore..they prefer to have it served in a disposable box. It is leading to the dumbing down of IT and the growth of public cloud reinforces the trend. Aside from the increasingly few wiz kids who run the major public clouds there are simply going to be less skilled IT people. Possibly this is good for business because most businesses don't make money on IT unless it's strategic code. Infrastructure is boring to execs and is simply something they have wanted to get rid of for a long time. Enter HCI...most IT talent is not up to actually performance optimizing roll your own deployments. That's because it's hard.

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