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6 top hyper-converged infrastructure management tips

These tips address specific aspects of HCI management and illustrate ways to better integrate these systems with third-party tools and overall IT infrastructure.

Hyper-convergence has gained momentum over the last few years as an alternative to traditional three-tier data center architecture. This has placed issues around hyper-converged infrastructure management and compatibility with third-party tools and applications at the forefront of many IT organization's agendas.

HCI is simpler for organizations to deploy and manage than traditional IT infrastructure due to the tight integration of compute, storage, network and virtualization in commodity hardware. Need more compute power or storage capacity? Simply add another node. HCI also reduces IT complexity and abstracts physical components into unified resource pools, freeing up IT resources. The underlying infrastructure of an HCI is managed by software that performs tasks such as automatic failover, resource provisioning and load balancing.

Although highly optimized and self-contained for running enterprise workloads, hyper-converged platforms are always part of a greater IT ecosystem. HCI must play well with the wider IT infrastructure and vice versa. Administrators are finding themselves needing to manage hyper-converged platforms and workloads both individually, in conjunction with third-party tools and as integral parts of the entire IT infrastructure.

This article highlights hyper-converged infrastructure management tips that run the gamut. We look at everything from those that address specific aspects of managing an HCI environment to others that illustrate how vendors have risen to the challenge of better integrating hyper-converged platforms with third-party systems.

Third-party services and HCI can be simpatico

Several hyper-converged systems expose APIs to enable third-party services and applications to directly connect with HCI platform tools. Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers a command-line interface for SimpliVity that exposes REST APIs and more to let third-party systems configure certain settings and perform tasks in the HCI environment, for example. The Nutanix Prism central management framework and Cisco HyperFlex HCI systems also expose APIs for similar purposes.

Some HCI systems pre-integrate third-party tools -- such as Dell EMC VxRail HCI's deep integration with VMware tools and DataOn HCI systems with Windows Admin Center -- to breakdown HCI management and administration boundaries. While plugins in third-party tools from the likes of Centerity Systems and Mellanox do the same in the other direction. Learn more about how third-party and hyper-converged vendors enable hyper-converged infrastructure management integration.

Tailor HCI specific use cases

Hyper-convergence has its advantages, for sure. But the infrastructure technology isn't always well suited to every workload enterprises throws its way. Particularly because prepackaged HCI hardware configurations still tend to be somewhat inflexible. That's not really a problem for most run-of-the mill virtual machines, but it's potentially a big issue for enterprises running high-performance applications or virtualized workloads requiring large amounts of storage. Find out how specific use cases, including virtual desktop infrastructure and backup make maximum use of hyper-converged technologies.

Disaster recovery goes hyper-converged

The same aspects of hyper-convergence that work well for backup use cases make it just as relevant for disaster recovery. Not only can an HCI system's storage be easily repurposed as a backup target, hyper-converged hardware has the innate ability to instantly recover virtual machines (VMs).

True, instant recovery isn't unique to hyper-converged systems. The major backup vendors support virtualization-based instant recovery in some manner at the software level after all. But see how the tight integration of HCI hardware and software makes hyper-convergence a particularly good systems match for instant recovery-type disaster recovery processes and how cloud-based hyper-converged backup and recovery systems make hyper-convergence accessible to smaller businesses.

Hyper-converged systems contribute to the greater good

HCI systems may be highly optimized and self-contained, but that doesn't mean they exist in a silo. They are part of the greater enterprise IT ecosystem, which means they should integrate well with third-party management systems and operations -- monitoring, provisioning, workload orchestration, etc. -- and automated tasks that span the entire IT infrastructure. Find out what hyper-converged vendors and third-party providers are doing to enable and accommodate this wider enterprise integration.

Reduce IT complexity with hyper-convergence

HCI transforms data centers to reduce complexity and ease the management of the infrastructure and workloads IT organizations must support to benefit business operations.

It's no secret IT has become more complex over the last several years, making the job of the IT professional harder in the process. While there are many reasons for this, the increasing reliance on big data to generate income and the ability to deliver the technologies and services -- such as AI, containers and big data analytics -- to support that economy have made IT more of a direct contributor to the bottom line than ever before. This has also increased the number of things IT must manage on a daily basis. Discover how HCI transforms data centers to reduce complexity and ease the management of the infrastructure and workloads IT organizations must support to benefit business operations.

Nutanix brings network policy, management to HCI

With Nutanix Flow, hyper-converged pioneer Nutanix enables enterprises to incorporate software-defined networking (SDN) services into a Nutanix HCI to simplify network and policy management. Nutanix Flow provides the mechanisms required to control VMs independently of their physical environments. As a result, Nutanix Flow streamlines and automates common hyper-converged infrastructure management and network operations, such as configuration settings adjustment and application security implementation. It also giving admins more control of applications and greater visibility into their operation. Read more about how Nutanix Flow SDN works and how it can help with the management of your Nutanix-based HCI.

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