Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Technology Partners using HCI

Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Technology Partners using HCI
Building trust through HCI by unveiling strategies to ensure the long-term reliability of technology partnerships, cementing lasting collaborations in a dynamic business landscape through vendor stability.

Contents

1. Introduction
2. How HCI Overcomes Infrastructural Challenges
3. Evaluation Criteria for Enterprise HCI
4. Assessing Vendor Stability: Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Partners
5. Final Takeaway

1. Introduction

When collaborating with a vendor, it is essential to evaluate their financial stability. This ensures that they are able to fulfil their obligations and deliver the promised services or goods. Prior to making contractual commitments, it is necessary to conduct due diligence to determine a vendor's financial health. This article examines when a vendor's financial viability must be evaluated, why to do so, and how vendor and contract management software can assist businesses.

IT organizations of all sizes face numerous infrastructure difficulties. On one hand, they frequently receive urgent demands from the business to keep their organization agile and proactive while implementing new digital transformation initiatives. They also struggle to keep their budget under control, provide new resources swiftly, and manage the increasing complexity while maintaining a reasonable level of efficiency. For many organizations, a cloud-only IT strategy is not a viable option; as a result, there is a growing interest in hybrid scenarios that offer the best of both realms. By combining cloud and traditional IT infrastructures, there is a real danger of creating silos, going in the incorrect direction, and further complicating the overall infrastructure, thereby introducing inefficiencies.

2. How HCI Overcomes Infrastructural Challenges

Hyper-converged infrastructures (HCI) surpass conventional infrastructures in terms of simplicity and adaptability. HCI enables organizations to conceal the complexity of their IT infrastructure while reaping the benefits of a cloud-like environment. HCI simplifies operations and facilitates the migration of on-premises data and applications to the cloud. HCI is a software-defined solution that abstracts and organizes CPU, memory, networking, and storage devices as resource pools, typically utilizing commodity x86-based hardware and virtualization software. It enables the administrator to rapidly combine and provision these resources as virtual machines and, more recently, as independent storage resources such as network-attached storage (NAS) filers and object stores. Management operations are also simplified, allowing for an increase in infrastructure productivity while reducing the number of operators and system administrators per virtual machine managed.

HCI market and its solutions can be categorized into three groups:

  • Enterprise Solutions

They have an extensive feature set, high scalability, core-to-cloud integrations, and tools that extend beyond traditional virtualization platform management and up the application stack.

  • Small/Medium Enterprise Solutions

Comparable to the previous category, but simplified and more affordable. The emphasis remains on simplifying the IT infrastructure for virtualized environments, with limited core-to-cloud integrations and a limited ecosystem of solutions.

  • Vertical Solutions

Designed for particular use cases or vertical markets, they are highly competitive in edge-cloud or edge-core deployments, but typically have a limited ecosystem of solutions. These solutions incorporate open-source hypervisors, such as KVM, to provide end-to-end support at lower costs. They are typically not very scalable, but they are efficient from a resource consumption standpoint.

3. Evaluation Criteria for Enterprise HCI

3.1 Distributed Storage Layer

The distributed storage layer provides primary data storage service for virtual machines and is a crucial component of every HCI solution. Depending on the exposed protocol, they are typically presented as a virtual network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) and contain all of the data.

There are three distributed storage layer approaches for HCI:

  1. Virtual storage appliance (VSA): A virtual machine administered by the same hypervisor as the other virtual machines in the node. A VSA is more flexible and can typically support multiple hypervisors, but this method may result in increased latency.
  2. Integrated within the hypervisor or the Operating System (OS): The storage layer is an extension of the hypervisor and does not require the preceding approach's components (VM and guest OS). The tight integration boosts overall performance, enhances workload telemetry, and fully exploits hypervisor characteristics, but the storage layer is not portable.
  3. Specialized storage nodes: The distributed storage layer is comprised of specialized nodes in order to achieve optimal performance consistency and scalability for both internal and external storage consumption. This strategy, which is typically more expensive than the alternatives for lesser configurations, is utilized.

3.2 Data Security

Currently, all vendors offer sophisticated data protection against multiple failures, such as full node, single, and multiple-component issues. Distributed erasure coding safeguards information by balancing performance and data footprint efficiency. This equilibrium is made possible by modern CPUs with sophisticated instruction sets, new hardware such as NVMe and storage-class memory (SCM) devices, and data path optimizations.

In addition, the evolution of storage technologies has played a pivotal role in enhancing data protection strategies. The introduction of high-capacity SSDs (Solid-State Drives) and advancements in storage virtualization have further strengthened the ability to withstand failures and ensure uninterrupted data availability. These technological innovations, combined with the relentless pursuit of redundancy and fault tolerance, have elevated the resilience of modern data storage systems.

Furthermore, for data protection and security, compliance with rules, regulations, and laws is paramount. Governments and regulatory bodies across the globe have established stringent frameworks to safeguard sensitive information and ensure privacy. Adherence to laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, and various industry-specific regulations is non-negotiable. Organizations must fortify their data against technical vulnerabilities and align their practices with legal requirements to prevent costly fines, legal repercussions, and reputational damage.

3.3 Data Reduction

Optimization of the data footprint is a crucial aspect of hyper-converged infrastructures. Deduplication, compression, and other techniques, such as thin provisioning, can significantly improve capacity utilization in virtualized environments, particularly for Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) use cases. Moreover, in order to optimize rack space utilization and achieve server balance, the number of storage devices that can be deployed on a single HCI node is restricted.

4. Assessing Vendor Stability: Ensuring Long-Term Reliability of Partners

Here are some key factors that contribute to ensuring long-term reliability:

4.1 Vendor Track Record

Assessing the vendor's track record and reputation in the industry is crucial. Look for established vendors with a history of delivering reliable products and services. A vendor that has been operating in the market for a significant period of time and has a strong customer base indicates stability.

4.2 Financial Stability

Consider factors such as the vendor's profitability, revenue growth, and ability to invest in research and development. Financial stability ensures the vendor's ability to support their products and services over the long term.

4.3 Customer Base and References

Look at the size and diversity of the vendor's customer base. A large and satisfied customer base indicates that the vendor's solutions have been adopted successfully by organizations. Request references from existing customers to get insights into their experience with the vendor's stability and support.

4.4 Product Roadmap and Innovation

Assess the vendor's product roadmap and commitment to ongoing innovation. A vendor that actively invests in research and development, regularly updates their products, and introduces new features and enhancements demonstrates a long-term commitment to their solution's reliability and advancement.

4.5 Support and Maintenance

Evaluate the vendor's support and maintenance services. Look for comprehensive support offerings, including timely bug fixes, security patches, and firmware updates. Understand the vendor's service-level agreements (SLAs), response times, and availability of technical support to ensure they can address any issues that may arise.

4.6 Partnerships and Ecosystem

Consider the vendor's partnerships and ecosystem. A strong network of partners, including technology alliances and integrations with other industry-leading vendors, can contribute to long-term reliability. Partnerships demonstrate collaboration, interoperability, and a wider ecosystem that enhances the vendor's solution.

4.7 Industry Recognition and Analyst Reports

Assess the vendor's industry recognition and performance in analyst reports. Look for accolades, awards, and positive evaluations from reputable industry analysts. These assessments provide independent validation of the vendor's stability and the reliability of their HCI solution.

4.8 Contracts and SLAs

Review the vendor's contracts, service-level agreements, and warranties carefully. Ensure they provide appropriate guarantees for support, maintenance, and ongoing product updates throughout the expected lifecycle of the HCI solution.

5. Final Takeaway

Evaluating a vendor's financial stability is crucial before entering into contractual commitments to ensure their ability to fulfill obligations. Hyper-converged infrastructure overcomes infrastructural challenges by simplifying operations, enabling cloud-like environments, and facilitating data and application migration. The HCI market offers enterprise, small/medium enterprise, and vertical solutions, each catering to different needs and requirements.

Analysing enterprise HCI solutions requires careful consideration of various criteria. Each approach has its own advantages and considerations related to flexibility, performance, and cost.

The mentioned techniques can significantly reduce the data footprint, particularly in use cases like VDI, while maintaining performance and efficiency. Organizations take decisions that align with their specific storage, security, and efficiency requirements by considering the evaluation criteria for enterprise HCI solutions.

By considering these factors, organizations can make informed decisions and choose a vendor with a strong foundation of reliability, stability, and long-term commitment, ensuring the durability of their HCI infrastructure and minimizing risks associated with vendor instability.

Spotlight

Myriddian, LLC

Myriddian is a Physician, Minority-Woman Owned, and SDB-8a firm serving both the commercial and government sectors nationally. Myriddian is committed to quality and creating customized solutions. Our core competencies are tailored to challenges in Workforce, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Our suite of services include: management of projects, healthcare operations, data analytics, data visualization, cancer registry, revenue cycle, communications, acquisitions support workforce solutions, and training and delivery.

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dxFeed Launches Market Data IaaS Project for Tradu, Assumes Infrastructure and Data Provision Responsibilities

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

dxFeed, a global leader in data solutions and index management for the financial industry, announces the launch of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) project for Tradu, an advanced multi-asset trading platform catering to active traders and investors. In this venture, dxFeed manages the crucial aspects of infrastructure and data provision for Tradu. As an award-winning IaaS provider (the Best Infrastructure Provider by the Sell-Side Technology Awards 2023), dxFeed is poised to address all technical challenges related to market data delivery to hundreds of thousands of end users, allowing Tradu to focus on its core business objectives. Users worldwide can seamlessly connect to Tradu's platform, receiving authorization tokens for access to high-quality market data from the EU, US, Hong Kong, and Australian Exchanges. This approach eliminates the complexities and bottlenecks associated with building, maintaining, and scaling the infrastructure required for such extensive global data access. dxFeed's scalable low latency infrastructure ensures the delivery of consolidated and top-notch market data from diverse sources to the clients located in Asia, Americas and Europe. With the ability to rapidly reconfigure and accommodate the growing performance demands, dxFeed is equipped to serve hundreds of thousands of concurrent clients, with the potential to scale the solution even further in order to meet the constantly growing demand, at the same time providing a seamless and reliable experience. One of the highlights of this collaboration is the introduction of brand-new data feed services exclusively for Tradu's Stocks platform. This proprietary solution enhances Tradu's offerings and demonstrates dxFeed's commitment to delivering tailored and innovative solutions. Tradu also benefits from dxFeed's Stocks Radar—a comprehensive technical and fundamental market analysis solution. This Software as a Service (SaaS) seamlessly integrates with infrastructure, offering added value to traders and investors by simplifying complex analytical tasks. Moreover, Tradu leverages the advantages of dxFeed's composite feed (the winner at The Technical Analyst Awards). This accolade reinforces dxFeed's commitment to delivering excellence in data provision, further solidifying Tradu's position as a global leader in online foreign exchange. "When we were thinking of our new sophisticated multi-asset trading platform for the active trader and investors we met with the necessity of expanding instrument and user numbers. We realized we needed a highly competent, professional team to deploy the infrastructure, taking into account the peculiarities of our processes and services," said Brendan Callan, CEO of Tradu. "On the one hand, it allows our clients to receive quality consolidating data from multiple sources. On the other hand, as a leading global provider of online foreign exchange, we can dispose of dxFeed's geo-scalable infrastructure and perform rapid reconfiguration to meet growing performance demands to provide data to hundreds of thousands of our clients around the globe." "The range of businesses finding the Market Data IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) model appealing continues to expand. This approach is gaining traction among various enterprises, from agile startups seeking rapid development to established, prominent brands acknowledging the strategic benefits of delegating market data infrastructure to specialized firms," said Oleg Solodukhin, CEO of dxFeed. By taking on the responsibilities of infrastructure and data provision, dxFeed empowers Tradu to focus on innovation and client satisfaction, setting the stage for a transformative journey in the dynamic world of financial trading. About dxFeed dxFeed is a leading market data and services provider and calculation agent for the capital markets industry. According to the WatersTechnology 2022 IMD & IRD awards honors, it's the "Most Innovative Market Data Project." dxFeed focuses primarily on delivering financial information and services to buy- and sell-side institutions in global markets, both traditional and crypto. That includes brokerages, prop traders, exchanges, individuals (traders, quants, and portfolio managers), and academia (educational institutions and researchers). Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Contact dxFeed: pr@dxfeed.com About Tradu Tradu is headquartered in London with offices around the world. The global Tradu team speaks more than two dozen languages and prides itself on its responsive and helpful client support. Stratos also operates FXCM, an FX and CFD platform founded in 1999. Stratos will continue to offer FXCM services alongside Tradu's multi-asset platform.

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IT Systems Management

ICANN ANNOUNCES GRANT PROGRAM TO SPUR INNOVATION

PR Newswire | January 16, 2024

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), announced today the ICANN Grant Program, which will make millions of dollars in funding available to develop projects that support the growth of a single, open and globally interoperable Internet. ICANN is opening an application cycle for the first $10 million in grants in March 2024. Internet connectivity continues to increase worldwide, particularly in developing countries. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an estimated 5.3 billion of the world's population use the Internet as of 2022, a growth rate of 6.1% over 2021. The Grant Program will support this next phase of global Internet growth by fostering an inclusive and transparent approach to developing stable, secure Internet infrastructure solutions that support the Internet's unique identifier systems. "With the rapid evolution of emerging technologies, businesses and security models, it is critical that the Internet's unique identifier systems continue to evolve," said Sally Costerton, Interim President and CEO, ICANN. "The ICANN Grant Program offers a new avenue to further those efforts by investing in projects that are committed to and support ICANN's vision of a single, open and globally interoperable Internet that fosters inclusion amongst a broad, global community of users." ICANN expects to begin accepting grant applications on 25 March 2024. The application window will remain open until 24 May 2024. A complete list of eligibility criteria can be found at: https://icann.org/grant-program. Once the application window closes, all applications are subject to admissibility and eligibility checks. An Independent Application Assessment Panel will review admissible and eligible applications and the tentative timeline to announce the grantees of the first cycle is in January of 2025. Potential applicants will have several opportunities to learn more about the Call for Proposals and ask ICANN Grant Program staff members questions through question-and-answer webinar sessions in the coming months. For more information on the program, including eligibility and submission requirements, the ICANN Grant Program Applicant Guide is available at https://icann.org/grant-program. About ICANN ICANN's mission is to help ensure a stable, secured and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world.

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Application Infrastructure

Legrand Acquires Data Center, Branch, and Edge Management Infrastructure Market Leader ZPE Systems, Inc.

Legrand | January 15, 2024

Legrand, a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, including data center solutions, has announced its acquisition is complete of ZPE Systems, Inc., a Fremont, California-based company that offers critical solutions and services to deliver resilience and security for customers' business critical infrastructure. This includes serial console servers, sensors, and services routers that enable remote access and management of network IT equipment from data centers to the edge. The acquisition brings together ZPE's secure and open management infrastructure and services delivery platform for data center, branch, and edge environments to Legrand's comprehensive data center solutions of overhead busway, custom cabinets, intelligent PDUs, KVM switches, and advanced fiber solutions. ZPE Systems will become a business unit of Legrand's Data, Power, and Control (DPC) Division. Arnaldo Zimmermann will continue to serve as Vice President and General Manager of ZPE Systems, reporting to Brian DiBella, President of Legrand's DPC Division. "ZPE Systems leads the fast growing and profitable data center and edge management infrastructure market. This acquisition allows Legrand to enter a promising new segment whose strong growth is expected to accelerate further with the development of artificial intelligence and associated needs," said John Selldorff, President and CEO, Legrand, North and Central America. "Edge computing, AI and operational technology will require more complex data centers and edge infrastructure with intelligent IT needs to be built in disparate remote geographies. This makes remote management and operation a critical requirement. ZPE Systems is well positioned to address this need through high performance automation infrastructure solutions, which are complementary to our current data center offerings." "By joining forces with Legrand, ZPE Systems is advancing our leadership position in management infrastructure and propelling our technology and solutions to further support existing and new market opportunities," said Zimmermann. About Legrand and Legrand, North and Central America Legrand is the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for commercial, industrial, and residential markets makes it a benchmark for customers worldwide. The Group harnesses technological and societal trends with lasting impacts on buildings with the purpose of improving lives by transforming the spaces where people live, work, and meet with electrical, digital infrastructures and connected solutions that are simple, innovative, and sustainable. Drawing on an approach that involves all teams and stakeholders, Legrand is pursuing its strategy of profitable and responsible growth driven by acquisitions and innovation, with a steady flow of new offerings—including products with enhanced value in use (faster expanding segments: data centers, connected offerings and energy efficiency programs). Legrand reported sales of €8.0 billion in 2022. The company is listed on Euronext Paris and is notably a component stock of the CAC 40 and CAC 40 ESG indexes.

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