There are many famous towers: the Tower of London, Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tower of Babel … when I was traveling for FlexPod in the Fall I saw the Berlin TV Tower… of course there’s the classic book, The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers, and now I’ve just read about the Three Towers of IT.
The Three Towers of IT
According to the well-regarded IT consultant and blogger Chris Evans, in a recent article he wrote about the “Triple towers of IT”. These “… traditional towers of storage, networking and compute…” are collapsing, and as they do, we can expect to see enthusiastic adoption of the resulting converged IT solutions.
Another point of the story was that Hyper-converged solutions were the hottest news of 2014. I agree. The idea of collapsing storage, compute and networking down to a single device is an innovative idea and a disruptive one vs. the traditional Do-it-Yourself IT status quo. VMware’s offering in this area, EVO: Rail has gained a number of leading adherents, including storage players like NetApp.
An important footnote to this increasing adoption of converged IT is the decreasing need for specialist skills in specific areas of IT, whether that’s storage, servers or networking. Hence the rise of these new offerings could be sending these traditional towers tumbling down on the careers of traditional practitioners.
The State of Converged Infrastructure
We’re seeing converged or integrated infrastructure as being one of the most important technology markets today. According to Rick Villars, the VP of Data center and Cloud at IDC, who just keynoted the IDC Directions conference yesterday in San Jose, today 15% of all IT hardware is bought as a converged bundle, but this will grow to 50% by 2018. One IDC report put the growth rate of converged infrastructure spending at 33% annually vs. general purpose IT which is actually declining at -0.5%. The key drivers for this rapid adoption are still around the benefits to IT, namely faster time to solution, simplified IT operations, and reduced total cost.
Converged infrastructure is an inflection point in the evolution to ‘Cloud’. It’s part of the last stage of the n-tier architecture computing phase, as the world moves to the Internet or cloud architecture phase of computing. Depending on your perspective, you can be seeing this change as a broadening of the network topology, as a race towards hyperscale systems, or as the adoption of “everything as a service”. The desired benefits of cloud – on-demand, ‘limitless’ scale, usage-based – are being greatly enabled by converged infrastructure as a simpler platform for IT to deliver the required virtualization, automation and self-service intelligence in a timely and cost-efficient manner. There have been converged infrastructure solutions in the market for over 5 years, and they’re now seen to have reached the maturity required to become the standard building-blocks of this latest era.
Where does our story of the Three Towers lead from here? Well, like the story of the “Two Towers”, we’re still in the middle of a continuing series. And as in that story, our heroes escape one battle only to continue on towards even bigger challenges. The IT business has always been a fast-changing one and this latest inflection point we’re calling ‘Converged infrastructure’ is just the latest challenge, and opportunity, for us all.
Watch a real life example of how Symantec used FlexPod converged infrastructure to build one of the world’s largest private clouds, now able to deliver more IT resources, more securely and at a lower cost. Click here to watch the Video