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Some organizations may not seem like a good fit for anything other than what would be considered the norm for data center architecture options. SMBs, for example, often take little IT risk because so little budget goes toward those needs. Getting infrastructure wrong at a smaller organization can have a far greater effect than a mistake at a larger business, where there are likely additional dollars to fix errors.
As a technology, hyper-convergence is still new when compared to more traditional data center architectures, and some vendors in the market don't have the longevity of those more traditional players. That said, if you're looking for ways to improve IT operations in your smaller business, hyper-convergence has benefits you should consider. Let's explore why there just may be a hyper-converged platform for SMBs that's right for you.
How small is too small for local IT infrastructure?
SMBs are generally defined as companies with fewer than 100 employees. Above that, we have small to medium-sized enterprises, or the midmarket, with 100 to 500 or 1,000 employees -- depending on source -- and above that, you've got enterprises. These definitions aren't always consistent, unfortunately, and company size for some is dictated more by revenue than number of employees. (Learn more about business classifications here.) For our purposes, we're going to use the one to 100 employee definition as the basis for SMBs.
So, in reality, would a 10-person company require local infrastructure?
It's entirely possible, depending on the company's business. For example, I could see a small engineering or architecture firm requiring a local hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), but I see a small marketing agency needing one less. As such, the type of business plays a role in whether your company could benefit from a local infrastructure, rather than, say, going with a public cloud service.
What hyper-converged platform for SMBs should I go with?
For SMBs that could benefit from a local infrastructure, the next step is to explore what hyper-convergence can do for them that other types of IT infrastructure may not do as well. And then, if hyper-convergence seems like an attractive infrastructure option, it's time to find out which HCI vendor would best meet the organization's needs and what hyper-converged platform for SMBs could be right.
Beyond cost savings, the beauty of hyper-convergence lies in its simplicity. For SMBs, this is gold. You need an infrastructure that works without a lot of IT support, combining compute, networking, storage and virtualization in a convenient package -- an appliance or node -- with predictable performance and single-pane-of-glass management. Moreover, HCIs are easy to expand. As your SMB grows, it will be easy to extend your HCI cluster -- typically, far simpler than with traditional internal IT infrastructures. If you need more resource compute power or storage, simply add another hyper-converged node.
- Scale Computing has a truly all-in-one HCI platform for SMBs, small midmarket organizations and highly distributed enterprises that includes the hypervisor, management tools and all of the hardware you need.
- DataCore and StarWind offer reasonably priced HCI that can run on different kinds of hardware with support for multiple hypervisors, including vSphere and Hyper-V.