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By Charles Wood
As enterprises seek advantage through digital transformation, they’ve looked to breakthrough IT architectures like hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to drive agility and simplify management. The ongoing expansion of IT from the traditional data center to the cloud and the edge has recently forced organizations to confront a level of hybrid management complexity that requires a more comprehensive solution — one that the relatively narrow simplicity of on-prem HCI can’t provide.
Enterprise hybrid cloud environments now commonly involve multiple data centers, cloud and edge estates, and a profusion of virtual machines (VMs) supporting mixed workloads spread across distributed resources. Inevitably, that’s led to management challenges: fragmented infrastructure, unwieldy and often manual processes, and ever-increasing data silos across environments. And that’s not all: data security, sovereignty, and cost considerations add additional layers of complexity to hybrid cloud operations.
In this context, deploying HCI in one portion of your hybrid cloud brings useful benefits, but it’s not enough to clear up environment-wide management challenges.
That’s why, in the marketplace today, you find forward-looking organizations seeking a new, resilient cloud-model hyperconverged solution — HCI as a service (HCIaaS) — that can accelerate projects with effortless scale, fully-automate data management and security from edge to cloud, and introduce an Opex, on-demand consumption model. HCIaaS radically streamlines hybrid cloud IT (in much the way it once simplified data centers) by leveraging the power of the cloud experience. Let’s look at how that drives IT transformation.
Time to streamline VM management everywhere
Virtual machines are an enormous aid in running businesses, but manually administering VMs across hybrid cloud via multiple consoles is a time-consuming, error-prone process. HCI as a service radically streamlines management by enabling you to provision, monitor, and update VMs across on-premises estates, colocation sites, public clouds, and the edge through a single console.
HCIaaS doesn’t just mitigate management complexity — it also automates the intricate analysis required to optimize hosting decisions for critical apps and datasets across hybrid cloud. The simple option used to be for companies to put 100% of their apps in the public cloud. However, recent research from IDC shows movement in the opposite direction: repatriation of workloads to on-prem resources is now on the rise. According to IDC, “organizations expect to continue moving workloads between IT environments to find an optimal balance of workload distribution; dedicated clouds will be a primary choice for workload migration off public cloud.”
Given the need for mobility across hybrid cloud, admins would normally have to perform complex evaluations of performance, security, total cost of ownership, and ease of management across distributed resources — and then execute the necessary migrations, both to the cloud and back to the data center. HCIaaS makes all that automatic.
HCIaaS is driven by the cloud experience
Organizations are increasingly aware of the manifold IT gains that the cloud operational experience offers — greater flexibility, faster scalability, and a shift to OpEx expenditures, to name just a few. In fact, 91% of IT leaders today identify mature cloud operations on-premises as the single most important step to eliminating complexity. It’s no surprise then that those IT leaders are rapidly adopting a “cloud everywhere” approach and demanding the ability to deploy and operate workloads from edge to cloud without the traditional deployment delays, overprovisioning risk, and CapEx burdens.
While traditional HCI works well supporting standardized business processes, it lacks key benefits of the cloud experience that drive agility and digital transformation. HCIaaS, on the other hand, is cloud-native, so you avoid many of the limitations of traditional HCI. No more CapEx-based infrastructure procurement delays that can slow on-prem IT deployments to a crawl. No more hardware-based HCI that scales at the speed of hardware upgrades and requires cumbersome onsite management. And it eliminates the overprovisioning risk that often saddles organizations with resources they will not fully utilize for some time — if ever.
HCIaaS. It’s HCI built for hybrid cloud.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits of an as-a-service hyperconverged infrastructure that’s built specifically to capitalize on hybrid cloud. HCIaaS architectures must be flexible, cloud-based solutions that enable customers to deploy and host virtual applications and VM workloads on-demand — either in the data center, in the cloud, or at the edge — depending on business needs.
An HCIaaS solution must also deliver a few crucial ingredients that drastically simplify IT operations:
App- and VM-centric management across hybrid cloud
A single, cloud-based dashboard to monitor multiple systems and sites, including deployment and scaling of VMs across hybrid cloud
Global health monitoring with a “hot spot” view of VMs and clusters
Built-in policy automation to speed VM to infrastructure provisioning
Simple, on-demand provisioning for any VM, including protection and QoS
Automated, non-disruptive, full-stack upgrades
On-demand deployment and management of VMs across hybrid cloud
Built-in hybrid cloud protection and VM mobility
HPE leads the way
Among major vendors, HPE has been at the forefront in terms of delivering the cloud operational experience across hybrid cloud. HPE GreenLake for HCI is a radically simplified experience for data infrastructure, powered by a cloud-native control plane. It’s a flexible, HCIaaS solution that allows customers to effortlessly deploy and host VM-based apps and workloads exactly where they’re needed across on-prem, cloud, and edge. Even better, the HPE GreenLake for HCI management console enables self-service agility and seamless hybrid cloud VM management from a single console.
By simplifying the management of infrastructure and VMs across your hybrid cloud, HPE GreenLake for HCI helps companies power agility and maximize time to value as they drive their digital transformation journeys. It’s a key component of the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform.
 ESG Data Management Survey, April 2021, commissioned by HPE
About Charles Wood
Charles Wood is Senior Product Marketing Manager with HPE Storage. He has 20 years of product management and product marketing experience in virtualization, storage, and networking, and currently focuses on evangelizing HPE solutions for software-defined datacenters, edge computing, and cloud. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Brown University.