Talktech: Turbocharging business and innovation with hyperconvergence

Hong Kong executives explores potential of hyperconvergenceInnovation is the holy grail of today’s successful business. To keep up with the accelerating pace of innovation, many Hong Kong enterprises have started their business transformation journey. Mounting pressure has been put on enterprise IT to move faster and be more agile throughout the journey.

The traditional three-tier IT infrastructure with its inbuilt complexities is a hindrance to meet most of the business transformation needs. Hyperconvergence infrastructure (HCI) could potentially solve the challenges enterprises are facing with the traditional infrastructure.

HCI is a software-defined infrastructure that combines servers, storage, and virtual machines into a single, integrated appliance. It brings simplicity, speed and savings from public cloud into a private cloud environment.

HCI is growing fast in the worldwide IT infrastructure market. According to IDC, HCI was the fastest growing subset of the broader converged infrastructure market worldwide in 2016. It surpassed US$2.2 billion in global revenue, up 110% compared to 2015.

In a recent Talktech executive roundtable discussion jointly organized by Computerworld Hong Kong and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), industry leaders from the consulting, financial, media, medical and transportation verticals discussed the challenges in their existing IT infrastructure and their views on HCI.

Cost and deployment

Customer loyalty services provider ICLP creates a diverse range of customer relationship management (CRM) projects for customers. Each project usually runs three to five years. Cost savings is the key consideration when choosing IT offerings.

“Our customers have their own dedicated environments. We don’t mix them up due to data security concerns,” said Artus Fung, associate IT director for infrastructure at ICLP.

He said the company sources different hardware and security devices for to support the CRM projects for its clients. When he factored in IT costs, he found that each project was “very costly”.

“We make a profit through our consultancy services. We need to keep our hardware costs as low as possible,” he noted. “HPE’s HCI solution may be the right choice for us.”

According to HPE, customers can achieve 73% and 49% savings in total cost of ownership (TCO) in using its HCI compared to traditional infrastructure and AWS respectively.

HCI is relatively low cost, quick and easy to install and control. Users don’t need a crew to support it,” said Rossana Ho, general manager for hybrid IT at HPE.

She noted many remote and branch offices in Hong Kong have already adopted HCI due to its easy deployment and control.

Built-in backup and DR

Many branded HCI appliances in the market have compute, storage and network integrated into them. HPE has added backup and disaster recovery to its HCI offerings, providing a data virtualization platform with guaranteed data efficiency, built-in backup and disaster recovery and virtual machine (VM)-centric management and mobility.

“What makes our offerings really benefit customers is we put data protection into focus. We guarantee one minute to complete backup of one terabyte (TB) VM,” said Anthony Hon, head of solution and technology at HPE Hong Kong. “This is missing in most of the HCI solutions in the market.”

The data virtualization platform of HPE’s HCI is powered by SimpliVity. This software-defined and HCI provider was acquired by HPE this January.

Public & private cloud interoperability

Senior executives from Cathay Pacific, Thomson Reuters and Elekta have moved or are moving to software-defined network (SDN) and cloud environments. They are concerned with how HCI helps with a smooth switch between the private and public cloud.