The global data centre services market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 13.69% during the 2019 to 2024 period reflecting their importance in a digitally-driven business environment.

As part of this, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) will provide further impetus as more companies shift towards a multi-cloud approach.

The focus on HCI reflects the growing momentum around the movement to embrace software-defined IT architecture as a more effective way of overcoming the limitations of traditional hardware-defined systems. However, the combined opportunities provided by data centres and HCI have resulted in an increasingly crowded market where companies are finding it challenging to differentiate between the various service provider offerings.


Understanding convergence

“Hyperconvergence has been getting a lot of airtime and for a good reason. It provides organisations with more user-friendly and cost-effective ways to manage their cloud environments as opposed to traditional data centre architectures. Providing improved agility over the expensive and difficult to maintain the architecture of the past, HCI ensures the IT infrastructure of the organisation is closely aligned to its strategic business deliverables,” says Daniel Thenga, NetApp Technical BDM at Comstor.

Finding the right service provider or solution set that best meets the unique organisational needs is therefore critical to help drive growth and create competitive differentiation.

“From a top-line perspective, decision-makers should apply criteria such as scalability, feature set, ease of use, flexibility, the partner ecosystem, and the total cost of ownership as part of their process to find the ideal fit. Further impacting, this is how the HCI and data centre environment supports the growth of edge computing and the Internet of Things along with the associated increase in data points. Being able to integrate all these aspects effectively must be a priority as companies rely more on finding value in their data than ever before,” adds Thenga.


Gaining value

At its core, HCI is managed centrally by a single piece of software. So, storage, computing, and virtual machines are all managed by the same application. But as companies are getting used to HCI, there is already a movement to extend beyond that with disaggregated hyper-converged infrastructure (dHCI).

This allows customers to scale in a non-linear fashion. In other words, companies can consolidate workloads and deliver private clouds with public cloud simplicity while moderating application licensing with consistent management between clouds.

For example, a solution like the NetApp HCI enables organisations to independently scale storage and computing while delivering guaranteed efficiency. Furthermore, it provides public cloud benefits (such as self-service, automation, and the like) in a private cloud environment.

“As technologies continue to evolve, companies are under pressure to do more with less. HCI and dHCI innovations give them more effective ways to unlock the value of data centres while giving them the flexibility to easily move between cloud models as their business needs change.”


Introducing intelligence

All this is contributing to how the data centre is being used. While some might have only used it as a storage repository or, at best, a way to collaborate between branches, the next-generation data centre delivers more value through the high-performance computing capabilities delivered to its users.

“Take artificial intelligence (AI) as an example. Leveraging the power of data centres, AI delivers invaluable automation and machine learning capabilities to organisations across industries irrespective of their size. This significantly enhances data analysis and provides decision-makers with the real-time insights needed to adapt company strategy to changing market conditions,” says Thenga.

All told, the changing technology environment sees businesses demanding more from their data centres and need infrastructure capable of delivering what is required. By combining HCI with a multi-cloud approach, the modern enterprise will be more adept at providing value to all its stakeholders.