Converged IT Infrastructure: Just Another Component on the Cloud

Enterprises contemplating building out their IT infrastructure for virtual and cloud operations seem to have three options. They can go with an all-in-one solution from, say, HP, a cooperative bundle from Cisco, EMC and VMware, or a multivendor solution led by NetApp or IBM.

Of course, they could continue to cobble together various IT components, although this is becoming a rather dicey proposition now that integration and convergence are all the rage. Streamlined architectures are a requirement in these energy-conscious times, and few organizations have the cloud-ready expertise to forge a truly forward-looking infrastructure.

Cementing its role as a leading all-in-one provider this week is Dell, which shelled out an undisclosed sum for Force10 Networks in a move that ties the company’s existing IT platforms with a solid Ethernet backbone. Force10 has made a name for itself in open, automated and virtualized network systems, which Dell says dovetails nicely with its server platforms and various storage technologies acquired from the likes of Compellant and EqualLogic.

Key to the Force10 lineup are its new lines of 40 Gbps rack and core switching systems, according to The Register’s Chris Mellor. As data, applications, operating environments, virtual machines and just about everything else in the enterprise stable heads to the cloud, a robust network platform is a must for anyone looking to draw the attention of top CIOs and data center executives.

The chief question, though, is whether it makes sense to entrust all your IT eggs to a single vendor’s basket. Groups like the VCE Coalition draw multiple vendors around a basic platform, in this case the Vblock, which allows users a bit more flexibility in building out their own infrastructures. And in theory, at least, it should provide a broader base with which to tap into the disparate platforms that will make up the larger cloud universe.

That continued focus on the cloud, and cloud interoperability, will likely be the primary driver for converged IT solutions going forward. Now that enterprise resources can scale beyond the brick-and-mortar data center, demand for individual hardware and software components is on the wane.

In short order, the data center is becoming the new component ? just one piece of an almost infinite data universe.

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