• Kent Scrymgeour

Small data centres for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Remote Office / Branch Office (ROBO) deployments of Nutanix HCI

Your Challenges

  • You have one or more small sites that has minimal or no IT capability but requires local compute resources; or

  • You have enterprise workloads to run but don’t want to invest in a massive corporate data centre lease with over-engineered infrastructure that requires expensive and dedicated resources to install and maintain; or

  • You have complexity and you need simplicity.

A solution to those challenges is Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure!

Not Familiar with Hyperconverged Infrastructure?

Just in case this is new to you -

Copyright Nutanix.com

To keep it simple, HCI pools your compute, network and storage resources into pools of resources. Traditionally, you would have multiple servers that EACH have CPUs that would have 30% utilisation, RAM at 40% utilisation and Storage at 70% utilisation. Across 10 servers that is a significant number of CPUs, RAM and Storage that you have paid for that never gets used. It is a waste. By combining into a single pool, your utilisation of resources is far higher, therefore you require less resources. In addition, you naturally have redundancy as the pool consists of working resources only.

Deliver Enterprise Value in a Consumer-Sized Package Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) is the foundation for a new modern data centre. That does not mean it has to be large. As HCI is the “pooling” of resources, you can start with a small pool of resources and grow it over time. This allows you to start with as few as 3 nodes of compute and storage (theoretically this could be 2 but we recommend 3 to get the true advantages of HCI) and use it for an immediate requirement. Six months later as more systems are targeted to migrate, you can add more and more capacity to the existing pool and allow your system to grow with you.

This is very different to how traditional 3-tier legacy hardware was specified. The method used to be plan 5 years of usage and size it accordingly which resulted in a huge CAPEX outlay. Today, a HCI investment can start small and be increased over time in manageable chunks that aligns with the goals of your business.

A similar requirement from many businesses is that they need smaller amounts of computing power and storage at multiple locations throughout a city, state or country. Traditionally this was served by a large over-engineered set of infrastructure that was fast at Headquarters – and slow everywhere else. Nutanix describes this requirement as “Remote Office Branch Office” (ROBO) and is an ideal solution for businesses that have this requirement.

The Nutanix ROBO solution brings powerful hyper-converged infrastructure to environments with limited budgets and scarcity of specialised IT skills, including enterprise branch offices, retail stores and small to mid-sized IT organisations. The solution delivers the same easy to manage, software-driven enterprise features for which Nutanix is well known for.

Putting the Power of Web-Scale within Reach of Smaller Enterprises

Enterprise branch offices, retail locations and regional offices typically lack the specialised IT resources needed to manage traditional data centre platforms built with separate servers, storage arrays and networking. In addition, CAPEX and OPEX budgets are constrained while space and power footprints are often limited. The Nutanix solution features a flatter data centre architecture that eliminates the need for centralised SAN/NAS storage, dramatically reducing cost and IT complexity while simplifying management.

Software-based storage controller technology coupled with Information lifecycle management (ILM), integrated data protection and centralised management capabilities (Prism Central), provides a single platform that is ideal for powering any branch office services, including local applications, virtual desktop deployments, file and print services, DHCP and DNS services, WAN optimisation controllers and security focused virtual appliances.

Key Benefits of Nutanix for ROBO Requirements

  • Turn-key solution - web-scale solution delivered in an appliance that runs all virtual workloads common in enterprises – large or small;

  • Centralised management - single pane of glass remote management streamlines IT requirements;

  • Business continuity - integrated replication software tailored for VM-specific data;

  • Reduced infrastructure needs - flexibility to use typical branch office power and networking infrastructure (240 volt and 1 Gb Ethernet) to reduce deployment costs; and

  • Affordable - Nutanix offers specific platforms providing the appropriate compute and storage resources for an affordable entry point.

Streamline Initial Deployments Other ROBO solutions, which offer little more than legacy products packaged into a single chassis or cabinet, require time-consuming on-site IT for deployment. The Nutanix solution is powered by a software-driven architecture that streamlines installation that optimises on-going performance. Branch solutions can be provisioned at a central location in under an hour then shipped ready to run with a simple connection to a top-of-rack switch. The flexibility to use existing infrastructure, such as 240-volt power and 1 Gbps Ethernet reduces deployment costs and accelerates time to value even further.

Simplify Maintenance Managed Centrally & Remotely Maintaining a branch utilising onsite IT is an expensive and inefficient method to ROBO deployments. In addition, managing three separate tiers of infrastructure requires specialists. Multiplying these requirements across dozens to hundreds of branch locations is often not feasible.

With Nutanix, manage all branch, retail and regional locations from a single pane of glass using the simple and intuitive Nutanix Prism Central interface. Prism offers an aggregate view of health and resources across multiple clusters, allowing them to seamlessly zoom in and manage individual clusters as required. In addition, Prism Central is hypervisor-agnostic, and can be used to manage clusters running different hypervisors including Hyper-V, vSphere and KVM.

If you are a smaller enterprise that does not want to employ the skills to manage HCI, Pebble IT can manage your deployment for you whether small or large resulting in you concentrating on your business, not maintaining IT, that is our business!

Data Protection without Compromising Complexity or Cost The Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform offers an integrated solution for local on-site backups and replication for central backup and disaster recovery. The powerful Nutanix Time Stream capability allows unlimited VM snapshots to be created on a local cluster for faster RPO and RTO.

Clients can economically keep multiple snapshots on their production clusters and rapidly restore if ever required. Using Prism (Nutanix’s single pane of glass management platform), clients can schedule local snapshots and replication tasks, and control retention policies on an individual snapshot basis. An intuitive snapshot browser allows customers to quickly see local and remote snapshots and restore or retrieve a saved snapshot or a specific VM within a snapshot with a single click. Snapshots are differential and de-duplicated, hence backup and recovery is automatically optimised, allowing DR and remote backups to be completed efficiently, for different environments including those running vSphere or Hyper-V as well as Nutanix’s native AHV virtualisation.

An illustration

Copyright Nutanix.com

The illustration above shows an international deployment of multiple small clusters that could be managed from a central HQ - this same concept can apply to multiple clusters within the same city, the same state, or a combination thereof including countries whether it be New Zealand, the Oceania Region or elsewhere in the world.

Key Takeaways

  • Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) is the data centre solution of today and tomorrow - and is the architecture to deploy in place of traditional 3-tier infrastructure of separate server compute, networking and storage;

  • You don’t have to be a large enterprise to start on your HCI journey;

  • You can deploy multiple clusters of Nutanix across different locations in a distributed manner but monitor and manage all clusters from a central location;

  • You can easily outsource the management of your HCI deployment(s) to Pebble IT so that you do not need to employ people in this speciality;

  • Nutanix natively has impressive security credentials that are constantly updated and integrated data protection capabilities to ensure that your systems are professionally and constantly protected.

Please contact us if you wish to learn more or wish to discuss how HCI could benefit your business.

Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Pebble IT
Modernising your data management platform

Copyright Pebble IT Solutions Pty Ltd 2018