Hyperconverged infrastructure vs cloud computing – 5 questions to ask

IT departments are looking to move beyond traditional virtualisation into cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms.

As IT departments look to move beyond traditional virtualisation into cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platforms, they have a lot to consider. There are many types of organisations with different IT needs and it is important to determine whether those needs align more with cloud or HCI. With new and complicated buzzwords flying around it can be hard for IT staff to know where to start. Here are five questions that will guide you to the right solution.

1. How flexible does your scalability need to be?

The first question you need to ask yourself is what kind of business are you operating? Are you experiencing a low level of usage with occasional large jumps in activity, which requires a quick growth in capacity?

>See also: Hyperconvergence or how to optimally manage secondary data

If so then a cloud solution, with its ability to burst in scale and pay-as-you-use billing may be the model for you. However, if your business operates at a steady pace with occasional jumps in seasonal activity then an on-premises hyperconverged investment is going to serve you best.

2. Is your data regulated in any way?

The public cloud enabled organisations to move petabytes of data off-premises at a time when legacy IT systems were beginning to fail. But there are compliance implications when this data is hosted or managed off-site through a third party. Protecting sensitive or private data is critical, so you must remember that outsourcing data management leaves you reliant on the security levels of the cloud provider.

Compliance is not the only challenge when addressing a cloud-centric solution. Sending petabytes of data to the cloud is simple and fast, but migrating it all back again over an Internet connection is not a small project. If you’re storing critical data in the cloud it may be a long and costly process to retrieve it. With HCI, as all your data already resides on-premises, it can be moved around simply and quickly over local network speeds.

>See also: An industry perspective of the evolution of storage

3. How capable and reliable is your Internet connection?

This is the single point of failure for cloud computing and a frustrating one when it happens. Cloud storage is 100% dependent on an Internet connection – no Internet, no cloud. If your offices reside in a remote area or your organisation experiences a less than reliable service, then HCI could be a better option. With HCI your Internet strength and consistency needn’t be a consideration – a loss in connection will not affect local access to applications and services.

4. Do you have an IT department?

If your IT team is small or your company lacks expertise, then a cloud solution may seem like the best option. A number of its applications are designed with minimal IT administration required.

However, HCI is also perfect for smaller businesses. It is easy to implement and deploy, simple to use and can be managed remotely from HQ for remote or multi-location businesses.

Installing HCI means existing IT staff will be able to change their focus from managing a complex infrastructure to delivering better applications and services. This means IT staff have valuable time freed up that can be refocused in other areas.

>See also: 10 trends that will influence cloud computing in 2017

5. Do you have a business continuity plan in place?

Only a couple of months ago AWS Sydney crashed for 10 hours due to a power cut in one of their data centres making many organisations rethink their business continuity strategies.

When operating your data through a cloud system you can do nothing but wait should something happen to your cloud provider – business halts and revenue can be lost.

Due to the nature of on-premises storage solutions like HCI, your system is always under your control. Should you experience any technical glitches you can take any action required to get your service back online, and it is business as usual.

>See also: The IT department’s new look: harnessing technology building blocks

There is a lot to consider when choosing between cloud and HCI and it is important to determine which solution your IT needs are aligned to. Both work as solutions for SMEs through to large-sized organisations, but answer these five questions and you should find yourself arriving at the right solution for your business.


Sourced from Johan Pellicaan, VP and MD EMEA, Scale Computing

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...