Category Archives: hyper-converged infrastructure

How SimpliVity Gave Me Back My Weekend

At GreenPages, we have a well outfitted lab environment that is used for customer facing demos and as a sandbox for our technical team to learn/experiment/test various solutions in the market.  We’ve been in the process of refreshing the lab for a couple of months but have kept a skeleton environment up and running for simple administrative remote access.  As part of the refresh, we had been cleaning up old VMs, systems, storage, etc. to reduce our footprint, and as part of the cleanup we moved several management VMs from an aging HP blade environment over to a small 2+1 SimpliVity OmniStack environment.  I really didn’t think much about it at the time as I just needed a place to put these VMs that had no tie to older systems, which were being decommissioned. Also, the OmniStack made sense because it had plenty of capacity and performance self-contained, thus freeing up any reliance on other external storage and older compute environments.

I just recently came back from a West coast trip. While I was there, I needed to re-configure something so that a colleague could do some other configuration work.  I brought up my RDP client to login to the jump box terminal server we use to administer the lab, and I got an error that said my profile wouldn’t load.  So, I VPN in to check out the VM, logged in as the local administrator, and quickly discovered the box had been pwned with ransomware and a good majority of the data files (my profile included) were encrypted.  After saying a few choice words to myself I investigated and determined an old lab account with a less than secure password had been used to access the system.   I got the account disabled and started thinking to myself how long it’s going to take me to either attempt to ‘clean’ the box and get the files decrypted (assuming I could even find a tool to do it) or to just trash and rebuild the box.  I figured that was going to take up most of my weekend but then the thought crossed my mind that we had moved all of the management VMs over to the SimpliVity boxes.

For those who may not be aware, SimpliVity’s core value proposition is all around data protection via integrated backup, replication, and DR capabilities.  I knew we had not configured any specific protection policies for those management VMs, we had simply dumped them into newly created resource pool, but I figured it was worth a look.  I logged into the vSphere client and took a look at the SimpliVity plugin for that terminal server VM and, low and behold, it had been backed up and replicated on a regular basis from the moment it was put into the environment.  From there, I simply went back a couple of days in the snap-in, right click, restore VM.  Within about half a second, the VM had been restored, and I powered it up and within another five minutes, I was logging into it via my RDP session from the West coast.  Bottom line, SimpliVity took a four to six hour process and transformed it into something that takes less than six minutes.  Therefore, I suggest you check it out.  Thank you SimpliVity, for being kind enough to donate some gear to our lab and for giving me some family time back this weekend!

By Chris Ward, CTO, GreenPages Technology Solutions

If you would like to discuss how SimpliVity could fit into your IT strategy, reach out to us here.

Disruption in the Storage Market: Advances in Technology and Business Models

New technologies, business models, and vendors have led to major disruption in the storage market. Watch the video below to hear Randy Weis discuss the evolution of flash storage, how new business models have driven prices down, and the vendors that are making it possible.

Or watch on YouTube


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Hyper-converged Infrastructure vs Converged Infrastructure

Hyper-coverged Infrastructure Hyper-converged infrastructure is the latest buzz in IT circles. Thanks to virtualization and cloud computing technology, businesses are now able to integrate multiple IT components into a single entity to remove silos, optimize costs, and improve productivity. Converged and hyper-converged infrastructures provide this flexibility to businesses. This article looks at the differences between […]

The post Hyper-converged Infrastructure vs Converged Infrastructure appeared first on Parallels Blog.

Moving to Hyper-converged from a Traditional Virtualized Infrastructure

Many organizations are moving away from traditional virtualized infrastructures to some sort of a hyper-converged option. One reason is to escape the hamster wheel of renewals. Many companies don’t have enough budget to get refreshed servers, storage, and switches every 3-5 years, so they end up splitting it up over that time span. This means every year they are spending a lot of money to upgrade individual items. It’s certainly not the most cost effective way of operating. If you move to a hyper-converged option, it consolidates all of your hardware, storage, servers and in some cases networking into one set of hardware. This makes refreshes much easier. It’s something you can plan for and is often times more cost effective. Watch the video below for more hyper-converged info!

Moving to a hyper-converged model


Or watch the video here.


Are you interested in learning if hyper-converged options are a good fit for your business? Reach out!


By Chris Chesley, Solutions Architect


Reference Architecture, Converged, & Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: A Pizza Analogy

hyper-converged infrastructureThis morning, our CTO Chris Ward delivered an internal training that did a great job breaking down reference architecture, converged infrastructure, and hyper-converged infrastructure. To get his point across, Chris used the analogy of eating a pizza. He also discussed the major players and when it makes sense for organizations to use each. Below is a recap of what Chris covered in the training. You can hear more from Chris in his brand new whitepaper – an 8 Point Checklist for a Successful Data Center Move. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Reference Architecture

According to Chris, reference architecture is like getting a detailed recipe and making your own pizza. You need to go out and buy the ingredients, make the dough, add the toppings, and bake to the perfect temperature. With reference architecture, you essentially get an instruction book. If you’re highly technical, following the recipe is manageable. However, if you are more of a technology generalist, or if you’re newer to the filed, it may be difficult to follow and the chances you get lost in the recipe can be fairly high. The benefit here is that you have flexibility to make the pizza the way you want it. The downside is it doesn’t save you a ton of time. You still need to order the equipment, wait for the order to arrive, and then put it together.

The Players

  • EMC’s VSPEX – EMC storage, Cisco UCS compute, Cisco networking
  • Nimble – Nimble storage, Cisco UCS compute, Cisco (newer offering)
  • FlexPod – NetApp Storage, Cisco UCS compute, Cisco networking

There are several use cases when it makes sense to utilize reference architecture. These include when an organization:

  • Has disparate vendors where converged or hyper-converged infrastructure may not be an alternative and the organization is not open to a vendor switch
  • Requires more flexibility in components than converged infrastructure provides (i.e. you can add some extra garlic to your pizza and not have it be a big deal).
  • Doesn’t have a hardware refresh cycle between storage, compute and networking that is in alignment (i.e. you do not want to double up on servers you just bought last year)

Converged Infrastructure

Converged Infrastructure is like a take home pizza you buy at a grocery store (it’s not delivery it’s Digiorno!). Converged Infrastructure is more prepackaged than reference architecture. The dough has been made, the toppings have been added, but you still have to put it in the oven and bake it. Vendors do the physical rack, stack and cabling at the factory and ship it directly to the customer. Customers can expect this typically in 30-45 days of placing the order. You don’t have to wait months to get all parts shipped and then assemble yourself. However, the infrastructure is set in stone. If you are an IT department with a different shop than what you are getting with the converged infrastructure option, you can’t mix and match. There is also still integration that comes with converged infrastructure.

The players

There are several use cases when it makes sense to utilize converged infrastructure. These include when an organization:

  • Requires fast time to market (typically 30-45 days from order to constructed delivery. Keep in mind there is additional time on the front end before the order when planning the solution out).
  • Is building out of application PODS or private cloud. This is typically more of a use case in the enterprise space. For example, rolling out a new SAP environment and having, say, Vblock be solely dedicated to that one app running on it. Another example is a larger VDI project.
  • Requires known, guaranteed and predictable performance out of the infrastructure. With Vblock, VCE guarantees you the performance that you do not get with reference architecture
  • Requires large scalability – you can add to it over time. Keep in mind you need to have a clear direction of where you are headed before you start.
  • Is stuck in the mud with operations and or maintenance validation tasks. Again this is a more relevant use case in the enterprise space. Say an IT Department needs to upgrade from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5 in a cloud environment. This could take them 3-4 months to do all testing, etc. By the time they get everything together there could be a new update on its way out. This IT Department is always 2-3 upgrades behind because of all the manual work. With converged infrastructure, vendors do that work for you.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

A hyper-converged infrastructure is the equivalent to a fine dining pizza experience. You can sit back and have a glass of wine while your meal is served to you on a silver platter. Hyper-converged infrastructure is an in-a-box offering. It’s one physical unit – no cabling or wiring necessary. The only integration is to uplink it into your existing infrastructure. If you choose to go this route, you can place the order, overnight ship it and expect to have it on your floor in 48 hours. This is obviously a very fast time to market. As this is the newest space of the three, it’s a little less mature in terms of scalability. Hyper-converged infrastructure often makes the most sense for midmarket companies. Keep in mind, hyper-converged infrastructure is a take it or leave it, all or nothing deal.

The Players

It makes the most sense to utilize hyper-converged infrastructure when companies:

  • Storage and compute refresh cycles are roughly in sync
  • Are looking for out-of-the-box data protection (Simplivity)
  • Require known/guaranteed/predictable performance
  • Are looking for rack space and power consolidation savings
  • Require a small amount of scalability
  • Want a plug-and-play approach to infrastructure.

Which way makes the most sense for you to eat your pizza?

You can hear more from Chris in his brand new whitepaper – an 8 Point Checklist for a Successful Data Center Move. You can also follow him on Twitter.


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By Ben Stephenson, Emerging Media Specialist