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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Scale Computing Talks Hyperconverged Infrastructure for the SMB


Often touted as one of the decade's most dramatic data center shifts, hyperconverged infrastructure continues to garner enterprise favor as it delivers such significant IT management and operational benefits, as well as considerable cost savings.  However, until recently the undeniable benefits it offers to enterprise environments has been the focus.  Today, we speak with Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO at Scale Computing, about hyperconverged infrastructure for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) and why SMBs may in fact have the opportunity to realize even greater value than larger enterprises.

VMblog:  Have hyperconvergence solutions become more appropriate for SMBs than they might have been a few years ago, in terms of ease of use and cost?

Alan Conboy:  In truth, SMBs have needed a solution like hyperconverged infrastructure from the beginning. An SMB needs many of the same services and applications as an enterprise to operate effectively, but they don't have the same resources to implement and manage a complex IT infrastructure to provide those services and applications. Hyperconverged infrastructure consolidates many components of IT infrastructure into an appliance-based solution making it easier to implement and manage. 

The problem with many hyperconverged solution vendors is that they went straight for the enterprise markets and did not provide solutions that were cost-efficient for the SMB. These vendors were building infrastructure with many of the same complexities that you would expect to find in an enterprise but that an SMB can do without. SMBs feel the pain of complexity and extra costs more acutely than enterprises because they often have very limited resources and expertise to manage all that complexity.

VMblog:  What makes an SMB a good candidate to deploy hyperconverged infrastructure?

Conboy:  One of the biggest challenges that SMBs face is staffing for IT. Unlike enterprises that may have a large IT team with various disciplines of expertise, SMBs have fewer staff and less breadth of expertise.  Even if an SMB is lucky enough to employ an IT superstar who can do it all, there is no guarantee that the person will remain on staff in the future. This is why SMBs benefit so greatly from having an IT infrastructure that is simple and easy to use so that even novice IT professionals can manage it when needed.

SMBs are also challenged by budget and often need to do more with less IT infrastructure. Hyperconverged infrastructure is typically known for being easy to scale out as needed which helps organizations only purchase the infrastructure they need now and have the option to easily grow that infrastructure in the future. This helps SMBs by not requiring over-provisioning and trying to guess how much infrastructure they will need 4-5 years in the future. They can spend more wisely with a better outlook for future growth.

VMblog:  Is it possible that SMBs might even realize greater value than larger enterprises in using this technology?  Perhaps because they have been less likely to enjoy the flexibility and scalability that large businesses may have achieved in additional ways, or enjoyed the opportunity to find their way into hybrid computing that is common for larger companies?

Conboy:  Not only is it possible, but it is probable that an SMB will benefit more from hyperconverged infrastructure than an enterprise. Enterprises are big and have more dedicated resources so complexity and costs are not as painful in an enterprise IT environment. In fact, for enterprises, because they may have more defined and complex business processes in place, complexity in IT systems can be essential.

SMBs are, by definition, smaller and have fewer resources so they can see the benefits of an easier to deploy, easier to use, and easier to scale out system almost immediately. If you only have one or two IT staffers and they are spending all their time tinkering with hard drives and hypervisors in complex environments to keep your systems running, they aren't going to have much time left over to think or work strategically on how to improve business processes or integrate newer technologies.

Hyperconverged infrastructure should simplify IT infrastructure to the point where IT professionals spend far less time managing infrastructure and far more time building better IT services on top of that infrastructure. That gives SMBs a huge benefit when keeping up with and exceeding enterprises in areas like edge computing, IoT, ecommerce, web services, analytics, security, and more.

VMblog:  How is Scale Computing addressing the SMB space and its requirements?

Conboy:  Scale Computing has focused on eliminating complexity in the data center, from the SMB to the enterprise. When so many others in this space were 100% focused on the enterprise, we were also keeping in mind the small or one-man IT department you would typically find in an SMB. Our goal was to make IT infrastructure both affordable enough and simple enough that not only was it appropriate for the SMB, but that an SMB could take equal, if not more advantage from hyperconverged infrastructure than even the enterprise. So, really, from our point of view, SMBs have been a primary beneficiary of hyperconverged infrastructure from the beginning.


Published Friday, May 10, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
Scale Computing Honored as Winner of Three Prestigious XCellence Awards at the 2019 Midsize Enterprise Summit: Spring Conference : @VMblog - (Author's Link) - May 13, 2019 8:52 AM
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