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Before making a purchasing decision, buyers routinely turn to advice from others who recently procured the same product or service. And with the proliferation of online reviews, consumers have access to a wealth of firsthand information.
Yet in the world of enterprise technology, most of this available information comes from vendors, which is why IT Central Station has become a popular resource for buyers. According to their website, IT Central Station provides unbiased reviews from the tech community. And in an age of fake and paid reviews, IT Central Station is careful to validate all reviewers with a triple authentication process. Reviewers’ privacy is protected through anonymous posting so people can freely express their opinions. As a result, the community is a valuable resource for those seeking real reviews from actual users.
As businesses work toward selecting powerful IT solutions that also save space and improve management efficiency, many are turning to the newest available option: composable infrastructure. Originally introduced by HPE in 2016, many vendors (both established and startups) have jumped eagerly into the growing composable market.
Composable infrastructure abstracts away compute, storage, and networking resources from physical locations, allowing IT to manage resources via software through a web-based interface. With composable infrastructure, data center resources are as readily available as cloud services by pooling them into a form easily accessible from anywhere in the data center. Composable infrastructure lets IT easily create the resources they need when they need it to run any type of workloads on a single platform. This ease of use and flexibility makes composability a sought-after foundation for private and hybrid cloud solutions.
Real advice about composable infrastructure – why users chose it
Although each company’s reason for selecting composable infrastructure is somewhat different, some common themes and best practices emerge from reviews on IT Central Station. This article is a snapshot of the full report, summarizing some key best practices.
1. Unify Infrastructure Management Tools and Interfaces
When users make the most of composable infrastructure’s unified management toolset, the technology thrives. A system engineer at a manufacturing company notes, “The most valuable feature of this solution is the ease of deploying servers, profiles, and images. Having that single pane of glass is a good feature for the management of our environment.”
2. Seek Solutions That Enable Ease of Use
Several reviews in the report highlight the importance of simplicity. A CIO at a university with over 200 employees writes, “The biggest lesson I learned from using this solution is that it is a lot simpler than what I thought it was going to be like, when we were going to deploy.”
Templates also speed up deployments and are one of the most appealing features of composable infrastructure. One senior systems engineer at a healthcare company with over 500 employees notes, “Spinning up an environment is much quicker, because I don’t have to reconfigure networking and redesign everything from the ground up. I throw a new blade into the frame and configure it based off a template.”
3. Future-Proof Infrastructure
Another advantage commonly cited of composable infrastructure is its ability to prevent major disruptions in future infrastructure upgrades. A best practice, therefore, is to look for future-proofing capabilities in a composable infrastructure solution. A government services support supervisor comments, “The most valuable feature is the future proofing. As an agency, we are looking at the future constantly and evolving with what is coming out. … Thus, I don’t have to do a forklift upgrade in the future.”
4. Push for Efficiency, Fast Deployment, and Automation
IT Central Station reviewers cite the importance of efficiency and fast deployment in a composable infrastructure solution. A retail senior infrastructure engineer writes, “There is no comparison between installing a server by hand versus having everything automated in place. That makes a big difference. By automating we can avert human errors. Life becomes easier and operations become much easier.”
5. Use Software-Defined Aspects of the Solution
Although it seems obvious, not everyone using composable infrastructure takes advantage of the software-defined aspects of the solution. A director at a tech company with more than 10,000 employees says, “We bought in pretty early to the composability story and being able to software-define the compute. We are realizing a fair amount of that. The biggest lesson learned is that if you really buy into software-defined and start moving to infrastructure as code, there is a lot of power potential there, if you can just stay the course.”
6. Take Advantage of Infrastructure As Code via an API
Composable infrastructure turns infrastructure into code via an easy-to-use API. A cloud architect at a manufacturing company with more than 1,000 employees put this feature into context: “The solution delivered efficiency to our IT infrastructure team with the infrastructure as code and the ease and agility to deploy.”
7. Integrate Storage Management
The complexities of storage can sometimes lead infrastructure managers to neglect optimal storage integration, yet storage is easily integrated into a composable infrastructure solution. A service manager at a financial services firm with more than 10,000 employees comments, “It helps us manage our IT landscape because it is easy, standard, and very consolidated. You don’t need to have the storage and communications apart, because it’s all consolidated.”
8. Go for Hybrid Cloud Compatibility
Many IT Central Station members are now (or will be soon) pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy. For this reason, it’s important to select a composable infrastructure solution that supports hybrid cloud. For example, a cloud architect writes, “This product is basically a step in our transformation to be more hybrid.”
Best practices for software-defined, composable infrastructure
With so many competing composable infrastructure offerings on the market, IT Central Station reviewers have a lot to say about what they consider best practices. The bottom line: selecting the best composable infrastructure solution for your needs is all about finding and leveraging the maximum value from the solution’s innate infrastructure as code capabilities.
Mark Nickerson is the Director of Product Management for HPE Synergy and BladeSystems, leading the development and incubation of the industry’s first composable infrastructure platform. With over 25 years in the technology industry, he is passionate about customer experience being the driver behind innovation.