Digitalization has an enormous impact on data center infrastructures. Large amounts of data need to be collected, processed, analyzed, transported and stored. As data volumes increase and business demands are steadily changing, data center infrastructures need to be dynamic and flexible to quickly meet these new demands. Hyper-converged infrastructures represent one attractive solution to these challenges. Just imagine some of its benefits: No longer dealing with Storage Area Networks and external storage systems; compute and storage resources included in commodity servers, both of them virtualized; reducing your operational and capital expenditures; high availability built-in; and above all easy to scale by just adding servers, if the current configuration does not satisfy your performance or capacity demands. Especially the simplified management due to the software-defined nature of compute and storage resources and the automation capabilities sounds not only appealing for the data center, but also for remote and branch offices, as well as small and medium businesses that often suffer from a lack of IT expertise.
With the availability of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition and its Storage Spaces Direct function, you may even take the Microsoft path when building your hyper-converged infrastructure. Starting with a minimum of two servers, scalability up to 16 servers is probably more than what is needed for most use cases. The software-defined networking in addition to software-defined compute and storage turns your infrastructure into a fully software-defined one. And if you configure your infrastructure based on Storage Spaces Direct correspondingly, you can even build a pure storage system (Microsoft calls this a “disaggregated configuration”) which can be shared by a cluster of servers in a non-hyper-converged infrastructure.
But getting there is complex; without necessary experience and required skills, the risk of not getting there as expected is extremely high, at least within the expected timeframe, if you decide to go it alone.
But there is no reason to despair
Pre-configured and pre-tested integrated systems, such as the Fujitsu PRIMEFLEX for Storage Spaces Direct simplify and accelerate the deployment of your Microsoft-based hyper-converged infrastructure, while taking out the risk and increasing operational efficiency.
If you know that you will not operate more than 200 virtual machines in the foreseeable future, then there is even a more cost-effective alternative: the Fujitsu PRIMEFLEX Cluster-in-a-box. It is an integrated system, shipped with two servers, which can be expanded to four nodes in the same 2HU high-density enclosure. Instead of Storage Spaces Direct, PRIMEFLEX Cluster-in-a-box is based on Storage Spaces, which is included in Microsoft’s Windows Server Standard Edition, and does not require the higher priced Datacenter Edition. Another potential cost saving: the network need not be as powerful as it needs to with the PRIMEFLEX for Storage Spaces Direct. Hence, the PRIMEFLEX Cluster-in-a-box is a truly cost-effective alternative to PRIMEFLEX for Storage Spaces Direct, if the use case allows it.
The easiest way to your Microsoft-based hyper-converged infrastructure is to get in touch with Fujitsu. We will assess which configuration is most appropriate and get you on the fast track to your desired destination.