Converged Storage – when Simplification Causes Long-Term Problems

Graphics of data center elements being converged

Posted on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The exponential growth of storage demands has created a major problem for businesses in terms of management. The more systems and assets in play, the more complex administration becomes.

The growth of converged systems seems to offer a solution to this problem. Integrated, scalable units that contain everything required to expand capacity immediately appear is an attractive proposition – disks, fibre channel networking and controllers all built into a single “box” make the specification and purchasing process simpler than ever. 

As storage needs increase, CTOs can simply purchase additional units, and drop them straight into the the operating environment. The additional capacity is then manageable through the management console provided.

But converged systems may actually be storing up problems for later.

The age-old problem of vendor lock-in

With the emergence of Open Stack technologies, and similar vendor agnostic approaches to IT infrastructure, converged systems represent a potential step backward. Even those converged systems built using components from multiple vendors – EMC and Cisco for instance – are still heavily tied into the homogenous aspirations of the OEMs.

The simplicity of the OEM-defined converged systems route turns out to be a double-edged sword. Yes it’s simple, but your choice is limited to units defined and approved by the vendor. Which means that costs are typically higher too.

In an era where choice and flexibility are key business advantages, choosing an infrastructure that fundamentally limits both is risky. Your infrastructure team needs to seriously consider all of the available options, from an “open” platform that uses generic hardware from any vendor, to building an Open Stack-based platform using existing post warranty assets to complement your existing provisions.

It may be that converged systems are still the correct choice for your business moving forward. But it always pays to consider the alternatives first. 

To learn more about how your existing post warranty and EoSL hardware can drive your corporate data program forwards, please get in touch.