Dell EMC enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. In an interaction with Rajesh Ramnani, Regional Director, CPSD, Dell EMC India about the hyper convergence solutions and its future prospects.
What are the latest developments on hyper convergence solutions the Dell EMC is offering?
Dell EMC’s hyper-converged solutions for the infrastructure requirements are basically software-defined. In general, there are two type of these IT infra solutions: one type is hardware-based and the other software-based. We started rolling out these solutions in 2014 and today our solutions are of fourth generation with latest enhancements both on the hardware front and software front. On hardware front, the enhancements involve incorporation of processor of Intel, which is 3 times superior to earlier generation systems in terms of performance, scalability and availability. On the software front, we have incorporated features provided by VMware (which is part of Dell) and these hyper converged solutions allow scalability by two times and also allow using hardware capability to the complete extent. Our latest solutions will help even a user with limited knowledge to operate the systems easily due to high level of ease-of-use. The systems are so simplified, a customer working in a data center with minimum knowledge about the infrastructure management can use our latest solutions. Now we have launched a 2U system with four nodes which brings down the cost of management, power consumption, cooling, etc.
For which type of customers these hyper converged solutions are more suitable?
Instead of installing each thing in parts (on ala carte) basis at the customer site, we develop an integrated hyper converged solution at our factory according to the customer’s requirement and then install an integrated solution. Dell EMC has a wide range of mature hyper-converged solutions for different needs of the users. The customers with large data centers who require higher performance and availability are looking towards hyper converged systems as profitable alternatives. SMEs usually need solutions somewhere between converged and hyper converged systems. For a user who wants to shift from the traditional set-up to hyper converged system, the migration is very easy and many are doing that.
There are multiple reasons why it is beneficial to shift to hyper converged systems. India is a cost-sensitive country. The hyper converged software-defined systems hardware dependency is minimized and software is used to achieve most of the functions. The aspects like storage, networking, etc in traditional systems are hardware-defined and so are more expensive. In software defined converged systems, minimizing of hardware dependency, ensures significant reductions.
For example, there are a lot of social and mobile applications which people do not want to put on costly hardware because in addition being costly hardware systems also need a lot of power, cooling systems, space, etc. Next, hardware-based infrastructure, besides being costly has a shorter life span and higher obsolescence, adding most costs in the long run. Further, in hyper converged systems which offer a high degree of ease-of-use, instead of several people managing different aspects like storage, networking, server, etc, one or two persons can manage all the aspects using automated environment. Ease-of-use also ensures that there is no need of complex kits to configure or manage the system. All these factors make sure that shifting to hyper converged system considerably brings down the total cost of ownership and operation, besides making future upgrades easy.
What are the security threats these hyper converged systems can face?
In infrastructure systems, security threats mainly come from the apps, not from hardware or software infra. If the apps are not fine-tuned and not protected, security can be compromised. So a data center should have security firewalls at the perimeter level. In Dell EMC hyper converged systems, security aspects have been taken special care with the help of VMware solutions. Also usually there are a lot security threats from within the organization (in addition to outside threats), which needs to be effectively checked. For this, security is needed at the virtual machine level. Our VMware-based NSS solution ensures inbuilt security solution for software-defined storage, software-defined computing and software-defined networking. Also security issues often occur due to lack of compatibility between these three components, particularly when these three components are procured from different vendors. To overcome this issue, we have compatibility patch that can resolve the incompatibilities. For networking and storage, we have VMware software-defined hypervisor (stack) that takes care of incompatibility issues. Similarly, we have another stack based on Microsoft. The third solution we have to incompatibilities is a mixed stack. Another security issue comes due to scale of operations–as the scale increases, many nodes have to be connected to a network switch. For this, we have hyper-converged complete rack to secure integration.
What are the costs envolved in Switching from traditional to hyper converged set up?
To meet the changing needs, we have two designs of hyper converged solutions, which are built to meet the customers’ current needs and also to help the upscale to his projected needs up to 3 years into future, if and when he needs. A customer has two ways he can upgrade his system—scale-up and scale-out. When we improve the capacity utilization within the existing system without adding extra hardware, we call it scale-up; and if the system is enhanced by adding extra hardware, we call it scale-out. At the beginning, we configure the solution to the extent a customer’s current requirement on the existing hardware in terms of CPU, memory, networking, etc, which he can scale up if and when he needs. When the existing hardware reaches its capacity, he can add another node to enhance his system (which is called scale out).
On the software front, our solutions come bundled with all the licenses required along with the option to scale up and scale out, as and when he needs. Users can add more nodes and the software solutions automatically integrate the enhancements and new nodes; even if the nodes are of different generations, the workloads can be balanced.
How do you see the Indian market and what are your predictions?
Dell EMC is a reputed hyper converged solution provider not only India, but also globally, because Dell EMC has powerful end-to-end solutions. In India, the demand for our solutions is growing by leaps and bounds and we see very good demand until 2022 and beyond.The ability to meet different needs of scalability and flexibility makes Dell EMC’s software-defined hyper converged solutions unique and highly effective solutions in their category.