Aug 09 2018
Data Center

3 Reasons HCI Adoption Is on the Rise for Small and Medium Businesses

Scalability, manageability and cost-efficiency are just a few of the advantages hyperconverged infrastructure can bring to businesses trying to stay lean.

For larger businesses with dedicated IT teams, the wonders of hyperconverged infrastructure are well known. But now, small and medium businesses are starting to embrace the ways HCI can work to offer SMBs an operational edge. In fact, a new study by Techaisle Research shows that HCI adoption is poised to double over the next year and a half as the benefits become apparent, particularly as it pertains to digital transformation.

A blog post from Techaisle Research about the study notes that HCI adoption allows SMBs to grow “in lockstep with new business or customer demands,” and is viewed as an important element of business growth.

“The SMBs that are fully committed to digital transformation are on the fastest path to adoption, as HCI is an important element of a future-ready, resource-sensitive IT approach,” the blog post notes.

HCI platforms, much like converged infrastructure platforms, combine computing, storage, networking and virtualization capabilities into a single appliance. With HCI, however, all of the components are pre-integrated and controlled by one software-management layer. Moreover, as all components are provided by a single vendor, it offers IT managers a level of control and visibility they can’t normally achieve with piecemeal infrastructure.

As SMBs begin gravitating toward solutions from vendors such as Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nutanix and VMware, among others, these businesses are coming to realize several important benefits that can give them the operational edge and simplicity they crave.

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1. HCI Cuts Costs and Resource Needs

While adopting HCI won’t immediately translate to cost savings, implementing it effectively in line with business needs can save businesses bundles in the long run.

At Midwest Acoust-A-Fiber, for example, adopting a Scale Computing HCI solution saved the company about 50 percent over the cost of a traditional architecture. Moreover, it saved the company from needing to hire additional personnel.

“People just keep getting more expensive, and hardware gets cheaper. So, now if we need more performance we can just throw more hardware at the problem,” Systems Administration Manager Daniel Penrod told BizTech in a previous interview.

2. Hyperconvergence Eases IT Management

For companies with limited staff and resources, HCI can deliver a simpler way to manage all IT assets.

“HCI’s integrated, software-defined architecture provides SMB IT staff with an ability to deliver sophisticated capabilities without needing to maintain an elaborate web of resource connections,” the Techaisle blog post notes.

In a prime example, PreCheck, a healthcare background-check company tapped HCI to ease migration and ongoing management, Robert Wilcox, PreCheck's infrastructure manager, told BizTech.

"It's really simplified the environment and reduced the overhead of the hardware. We've gone from a three-tiered model to one tier," he said. "It's a complete ecosystem, and if I need to scale up, I can just buy another node and slide it in. It gets picked up by the system, and everything is done automatically."

3. HCI Improves and Simplifies Small Business Scalability

Moreover, since HCI is an integrated, modular solution, IT can scale capacity as needed without the need to invest in new resources or buy capacity in advance, Techaisle notes.

Dave Wiley, IT manager at Mayfran International, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of machine tool products, material-handling equipment and filtration systems, noticed an improvement in scalability immediately within the first year of investing in a Cisco HyperFlex HX hyperconverged system.

“We needed more disk capacity, so we expanded from three servers to four. Scalability proved to be smooth with HCI,” Wiley told BizTech in a previous interview.

And the IT manager wasn’t the only one that noticed the change.

End users could tell immediately that we installed faster servers,” he said.

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