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Upgrading your IT infrastructure – What are your options?

28 March 2018

An IT infrastructure refresh can result in mixed feelings from IT managers. On one hand, you have the cost, complexity and risk of migrating systems but on the other, you have a great opportunity to significantly enhance your environment.

Given that a typical refresh cycle is now 4-5 years – due to the financial climate and the increased reliability of hardware – it is likely that you can greatly increase value when refresh time comes round.

IT Infrastructure - Getting value from a systems refresh

Server Virtualisation

One option is a like-for-like deployment. Server virtualisation makes the transition to new platforms fairly straightforward. This is because workloads are portable, utilisation is visible and IT Managers are typically familiar – and confident – with the underlying technology.

However, there are limitations to consider, particularly around the agility of this model. It is difficult to efficiently accommodate changes in capacity, whether that’s an increase or decrease, compared to traditional infrastructure.

Hyper-Converged Platforms or HCI

A second option is to go for a new technology, like HCI. While hyper-converged platforms are still relative newcomers, the market is definitely developing and maturing.

HCI is a modular approach to IT infrastructure and allows rapid, vast scaling through small form factor nodes that provide integrated RAM, CPU and Storage without complexity. This type of efficiency simply isn’t possible with traditional infrastructure. This option also offers advanced functionality and integrated services, such as deduplication, backup and disaster recovery.

Yet this doesn’t mean this approach is without its limitations. Relying on platform efficiencies can making sizing complicated and implementations more intricate. Furthermore adopting a platform over hardware could mean you end up locked into a specific vendor – something which some would view as a risk. Finally, HCI also represents a CapEx approach to IT infrastructure refresh which, given the financial climate, may not be desirable.

Cloud Services

An alternative approach could be to opt for cloud services. There are certainly many benefits and it does address some of the shortfalls of traditional infrastructure. As a utility-based, OpEx approach to IT, the cloud offers greater agility, greater elasticity and relieves the pressure of “keeping the lights on”.

Despite this, it doesn’t mean it’s suited to all opportunities. While moving to the cloud can relieve the pressure on networking or application delivery, it does not guarantee cost saving. Furthermore migrating to the cloud can be complex and time-consuming, so you need to ensure you have the resources on hand. At QuoStar our team specialise in zero downtime migrations and can manage your migration project from end-to-end.

What option should you choose?

There’s no one right answer here. You need to weigh up your available options and see which one aligns best with your business objectives. While the variety of options may seem daunting, it doesn’t need to be. Prior to undertaking an infrastructure refresh is often a good idea to seek out an independent consultant who has experience in this area and can offer an unbiased perspective.

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