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IDC Analyst Connection Part 3 - Converged Systems: Key Requirements


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With the proliferation of converged systems comes infrastructure and management tool consolidation. The motivations for this consolidation stem from the need to reduce operational complexity and cost …

With the proliferation of converged systems comes infrastructure and management tool consolidation. The motivations for this consolidation stem from the need to reduce operational complexity and cost by rationalizing applications, as well as increase resource utilization due to higher virtualization densities. HP posed 5 questions to Jed Scaramella, research manager for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends practice, regarding system management implications for IT. This is Part 3 of a 3 part series on IT convergence.

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  • 1. IDC 1629 I D C A N A L Y S T C O N N E C T I O N Jed Scaramella Research Director, Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends Converged Systems Management: Key Features January 2014 With the proliferation of converged systems comes infrastructure and management tool consolidation. The motivations for this consolidation stem from the need to reduce operational management staff and management software product costs (i.e., support and maintenance, manual tasks, and training). Organizations also seek to reduce operational complexity and cost by rationalizing applications as well as increase resource utilization due to higher virtualization densities. IDC believes that in the longer run, the vendors that will gain material converged systems market share advantage will be those that seamlessly integrate management automation, monitoring, and optimization functions within the converged systems stack. The following questions were posed by HP to Jed Scaramella, research director for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends practice, on behalf of HP's customers. Q. What are the key challenges facing IT organizations in terms of managing the complexity of their IT infrastructure? A. Many of the key challenges facing IT are related to the complexity of the IT environment, which leads to cost and inefficiencies. In a legacy environment, servers, storage, and networking are each in their own distinct silos, which creates a very static and inflexible infrastructure. As a result, the IT department is unable to adjust and to evolve quickly and thus is unable to meet the changing needs of the business. The main challenges center around the costs associated with running this complex environment and the inability to respond to business needs in a timely manner. Q. Converged systems bring together previously siloed technologies. What are the system management implications? A. Converged systems bring together multiple hardware components, each of which has its own management tool. Ultimately, IT departments are not looking for more tools to manage. The purpose of converged systems is to simplify not just the provisioning and deployment but also the management of all hardware components. This involves full life-cycle management, including deployment, provisioning, and monitoring of the systems; patch and firmware updates; and any other management functionality that's required. This comprehensive approach to systems management can go a long way in terms of improving IT staff efficiency, reducing downtime, and improving the utilization of both the IT assets and the IT staff. IDC studies have found that customers using converged systems have been able to achieve faster deployment times, reduce system downtime, and improve IT staff productivity.
  • 2. ©2014 IDC2 Q. Are there organizational impacts to consider when adopting converged systems? A. It's often true that people and processes in business units lag the technology. Hardware vendors are doing a tremendous amount of work to integrate and optimize the previously distinct hardware components into a single platform, which often requires the IT organization to adapt and change. Getting the previously disparate silos of server, storage, and networking administrators to work together often involves someone at a higher level implementing organizational changes to enable business and IT units to achieve consensus. This process involves a new way of procuring systems because in the integrated model, the hardware systems are purchased together versus everything being on a different life cycle. The management and the monitoring of the system are slightly different; the multiple views are consolidated into a single management platform. Given the competitive business environment and the stagnant budgets of IT, it's quite necessary for server, storage, and networking groups to work together. Organizations need to ensure this type of collaboration so they can keep pace with business needs and respond to the constant and accelerating demands that the business units place on IT. While it can be a challenge to get the previously siloed groups to work together, the collaborative benefits that often result make the effort worthwhile. Q. What are the key pain points for IT managers that can be addressed by centralized management and converged systems? A. The legacy approach to IT is quite inefficient. The rack and stack typical of IT equipment is very difficult to manage and often results in a situation where the 80/20 rule applies. IDC surveys have found that an IT staff spends 80% of its time simply keeping the lights on. That includes tasks like management, provisioning, patching, and monitoring. An IT staff spends only 20% of its time on anything that would be considered innovative, such as new projects or enhancing the environment. There is a great opportunity for converged systems to improve efficiencies. Many people are pointing to converged systems as a way to expedite provisioning, patching, and configuration management. Monitoring and troubleshooting are other key areas where IT can achieve great efficiencies. As a result, customers can spend more time on innovation and new projects as they shift their IT staff away from mundane, routine tasks. Instead, IT staff can spend time on innovating and enhancing their IT services. Q. Since time to deploy systems and applications is a key focus for many enterprises, how can system management tools accelerate the provisioning of IT services? A. Converged systems are optimized and designed to work together. The management platform of converged systems usually includes enhanced management tools that can streamline the provisioning of new IT services. These deliver great benefits in terms of provisioning new IT services versus traditional distinct tools for each hardware component. In addition, each hardware component — servers, storage, or networking — no longer needs its own dedicated administrative staff that formerly used separate tools, so administration is easier with converged systems. With converged systems, typically there is a single management console where all the assets can be provisioned. The single management console can handle every task — identifying the capacity needed, updating and provisioning the hardware storage and the network resources, provisioning that environment to the end user, and then deploying the application on that system. At the end of the life cycle, the resources can be returned to the resource pool with a converged system, allowing for complete life-cycle management that comes along with the converged system.
  • 3. ©2014 IDC 3 A B O U T T H I S A N A L Y S T Jed Scaramella is a research director for IDC's Enterprise Platforms and Datacenter Trends. In this role, he examines server systems deployed within the datacenter, with an additional focus on power and cooling solutions. Mr. Scaramella is also responsible for a number of forecasts and studies on datacenter energy efficiency, vendor strategies, and the continued adoption of blade servers. A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O N This publication was produced by IDC Custom Solutions. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Custom Solutions makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the Custom Solutions information line at 508-988-7610 or Translation and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC, visit For more information on IDC Custom Solutions, visit Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015