Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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VCE Study Makes Case for Converged IT 

A new market survey underscores the advantages of converged IT infrastructure as a means of achieving capacity flexibility as well as a way to reduce cost while speeding the return on investment in new cloud infrastructure.

The IT infrastructure study sponsored by VCE, the converged infrastructure and cloud-computing vendor formed by Cisco Systems and EMC Corp., found that streamlined infrastructure yielded a 36 percent reduction in costs. Study author International Data Corp. also reported speedier application development along with a 96 percent decrease in IT downtime.

"Converged infrastructure enables IT to rapidly deploy proportional infrastructure resources of every type (compute, network, storage, and advanced data services) while reducing operational overhead," the IDC study concluded.

The study notes that the efficiencies achieved through converged infrastructure still come with a relatively high price tag. "While converged infrastructure has some issues in terms of capital and increased training, these are minor when compared to the benefits and longer-term investments that it delivers."

The market researcher forecasts that IT departments will spend more than $10 billion this year on converged infrastructure systems. That total is expected to grow by a healthy 27 percent through 2018 to an estimated $14.3 billion.

The transition to converged IT infrastructure is being driven by a steady shift within datacenters to a cloud-based platform that integrates big data and analytics to handle massive data stores along with networks of mobile devices and the steady rise of social media technologies.

The market researcher dubs this emerging infrastructure the "3rd Platform." In "3rd Platform–based business, speed and agility are key," IDC emphasized. "No longer can business units wait weeks or months for the infrastructure required to deploy or scale new applications or services. They require the flexibility to quickly scale their compute capacity up or down for any particular application to respond to changing use cases and patterns of demand."

Since it's founding by Cisco Systems and EMC in 2009, IDC estimated VCE Vblock systems have wracked up more than $2 billion in annual bookings. The converged systems integrate compute and networking from Cisco, storage from EMC and virtualization from VMware. (VCE operates as an EMC Federation business unit.)

VCE unveiled a new VxBlock offering in March 2015 that is touted as more flexibility while supporting software-defined networking in the datacenter.

The IDC study was based on interviews with 16 VCE customers who have deployed its Vblock virtualization and cloud computing system. The market researcher calculates those organizations would earn $6.20 for every dollar invested in Vblock converged systems. Networking costs, for example, were reduced by 67 percent using a converged infrastructure approach, IDC said.

Along with overall cost savings, the VCE-sponsored study makes the case that deploying converged IT can boost productivity and reduce the amount of time IT staff must spend "keeping the lights on."

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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