HCI’s Evolving Use Cases – State, Local Government and Education

By Eric Slack, Monday, July 9th 2018

Analyst Blogs

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The move towards “integrated” systems, IT infrastructures designed around ease of deployment and scaling, is real as organizations strive to reduce costs and maintain the ability to support their dynamic IT environments. Hyperconverged (HCI) wasn’t the first open systems integrated technology (Converged Infrastructures was), but HCI has been the fastest growing.

HCI use cases are evolving. What was primarily a solution for remote/branch offices, VDI and simple consolidation in small and mid-market companies is appealing to larger organizations as well, like State and Local governments and Education (SLED). In this technology they see a flexible solution that fits the technical requirements of diverse environments but also fits with the approval and funding realities of government and educational institutions. In this blog we’ll look what benefits hyperconverged technologies can offer IT in the SLED market.

Standardized Solution for Diverse IT Environments

Enterprises and large organizations with multiple locations need to cover a lot of bases in terms of IT infrastructure. A single solution that satisfies a range of requirements in terms of compute and storage capacity is very appealing.

There’s no one size fits all, but with HCI, essentially one product can be configured to fit a lot of different environments, and then reconfigured when things change. With the storage capacities – including all-flash – high CPU core counts and memory, plus GPUs, HCIs can handle most of the workloads that one of these organizations can put on them. This standardization has another benefit for public sector institutions as well.

Standard Solution means less Change

Big organizations like the government are often not very agile and getting new systems approved can be a long process – even years for a relatively small amount of money. And it’s not just funding, new solutions represent change, something that employees can be wary of. A standard solution that can be used for multiple locations, like schools or precincts, can be appealing in this scenario; again, not a one size fits all, but a single vendor and product with multiple configurations for different environments.

After they get an HCI vendor approved and deployed – getting another site equipped can be much easier for the entire process.  Also, HCIs can be upgraded with minimal disruption. Nodes can be added and older ones replaced with newer ones, extending the lifespan of the HCI cluster. An IT solution that doesn’t need to be replaced every 3-5 years can provide welcome stability.

Unpredictable funding

Public sector funding can also be hard to count on so organizations need to take advantage of what’s available, when it’s available. Funding can appear (and disappear) quickly, so they need to be opportunistic with new projects. They also need to be able to add capacity when that money is available – upgrades can’t take months to get completed. HCIs make expansion a simple and non-disruptive process by adding a node at a time to the cluster.

Funding scrutiny is another reality of government purchases. HCIs can be easier to set up and run than traditional infrastructures, which reduces the risk of long deployment times and lowers operational costs.

While HCIs made their name providing infrastructure solutions for small and mid-sized companies, more school systems and government organizations are turning to this technology as well. These public sector organizations are finding that as a standardized solution that’s easier to get approved and funded, HCIs can be more “doable” than traditional infrastructures.

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