Agile Infrastructure

Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Take Control of Your Data Centre With Hyper-Converged Infrastructure


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It’s really hard to be part of an IT department these days. Having become the very lifeblood of an organisation, the loss of a work-reliant component of any kind can cause a revolt, scenes from the Apocalypse or even mass mutiny. Whether it’s a device, the network, internet access or email, the failure of just a single one can make your organisation grind to a halt. Let’s face it, no one wants to press something in the effort of fixing an existing issue just to get inundated in phone calls by grumpy users who can’t access anything. I’m sure that there are IT managers up and down the country nodding along, absentmindedly caressing their internal scars from the first ring of the phone and getting hit by flashbacks of an incident that frankly only an IT member can understand.

Finally, some IT genius somewhere in the world wanted to minimise the complexities and frustrations for the rest of the tech community by creating a system so simple, so easy to manage and so flexible that it would make sliced bread look like a stupid innovation. This amazing creation is called hyper-converged infrastructure and IT departments the world over are bowing down to whichever person designed it. HCI promises operational efficiency, reduced costs and manageable scaling that combines all of a data centre’s necessary components (think of your storage, networking backup and everything else) into a pre-packaged unit that can be controlled and managed by a single console. Frankly, I’d say the only reason that we don’t have a national holiday devoted to this mind-blowing achievement is the fact that cloud computing blew in, screaming for attention, and took over the hype. So, I thought it would only be fair to give HCI some of the spotlight and cheerleaders, by giving it the attention it deserves and listing its many benefits so you become Team HCI too.

Buy more to reduce cost
Obviously, anything that reduces cost becomes automatically more interesting to those who make the big decisions and have the Financial Department around their little fingers. When it comes to IT, the organisations that want to invest in any new hard- or software generally pump money into the sleekest, fastest and newest toy that’s on the market. In terms of HCI, you’ll be delighted to discover that the cost of entry of this whole new system is actually lower than you’d expect. That’s because hyper-convergence uses an economic model similar to that of public cloud providers, by using low-cost commodity hardware and scaling the data centre little by little. With this ‘Lego’ building-block approach, your IT can expand as and when you need it to.

Simplify your operations
A day in the life of your IT team involves a lot of admin and everyday tasks. Add in the complexity created by so much tech, and your IT department can quickly become overwhelmed by the little bits, rather than focusing their energy on the projects that really need their attention. Since hyper-converged infrastructure systems consolidate core storage, backup, deduplication and networking, goes without saying that hardware clutter and touchpoints get drastically reduced. All workloads fall under the same umbrella which makes it easier to migrate VMs between different appliances or data centres. With all of that previously pesky everyday admin duties taken care of, the IT department can either get smaller, or redistribute their focus into something more important. Legacy data centre hardware gets folded into HCI, which means that there’s no need to have several specialists in each resource area running around the office- IT staff only need a broad knowledge to apply infrastructure resources to meet individual application needs.

Make automation work for you
Legacy infrastructure has proven to be quite a hindrance in the face of the latest waves of tech modernisation. Because they can be so varied and complex, automation has been impossible to adopt. As hyper-converged infrastructure works on the principle of a software-defined data centre, automation of routine operations can be achieved with centralised management tools implemented. Everything is included in a unified environment, taking the headache of implementing hardware from various manufacturers or product lines. Adapting automation increases efficiency of the IT team, keeping the business as a whole agile and competitive.

Data protection
Organisations are looking for the Holy Trinity when it comes to their IT infrastructure; the ability to work remotely, having the most agile and up-to-date infrastructure, and keeping everything safe. With an organisation’s network no longer confined to the four brick walls of the building, protecting data, applications and workspaces from the evil lurking beyond the perimeter has become even more important, especially in the wake of Gen-V cyber attacks such as WannaCry. Hyper-converged infrastructure is a leader in cloud efficiency and storage, incorporating snapshotting, data deduplication and other data protection features which is exactly what you want in your corner when disaster strikes and you need to recover everything. It offers higher resiliency than traditional legacy systems, with the scale-out model relying on data being spread across multiple nodes throughout a single, or between several, data centres. If one appliance or rack goes down, you won’t have to worry about performance or availability suffering.

Feel the freedom of flexibility and scalability
Another step away from the archaic confines of a legacy system, HCI allows for greater flexibility for your data centre. Since it’s based in software, it takes a ‘Lego block’ approach to scalability, with each HCI appliance a self-contained unit that includes all of the hardware resource your data centre needs. This allows increased compatibility, and a quick expansion of data centre capacity by simply adding on an extra unit or two when needed. There’s no need for complex update plans each time you need to expand, nor do you need to plan years in the future by estimating what compute resource you might need and investing in costly data centres all in one go, just for it all to be old and out of date by the time you need it.

Simplified procurement and support
Since HCI is basically a plug-and-play unit that incorporates pretty much everything you would need in your data centre, it’s quite similar to the offerings of systems integrators. By getting one point of contact for the life of the system, your IT team can cut out a lot of unnecessary faffing about between different vendors and hardware models. This makes it more cost-effective than integrated systems, especially when it comes to upgrades. When the manufacturer makes any upgrades, the units gain the benefits automatically, without having to replace hardware.

At Cetus, we have a long-standing relationships with leading HCI vendors. Have a chat with one of our experts, and experience the benefits of HCI first-hand.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Citrix, Cloud, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Uncategorized

A Misconception of Citrix Cloud


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Last week, I posted a blog summarising my thoughts on the vision keynote at Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit – and announced a series of events that we are running to share with you Citrix’s vision for the secure digital workspace and discuss why there is no better time to accelerate your journey to Citrix Cloud.

The early signs are showing stronger uptake from both prospective and existing customers to attend than any other workshop we have run before – but why? Our expectations of how technology empowers the people within our organisations to work has evolved, and along with it, so has Citrix. The role of the IT function has elevated and has equally become much more people-centric; focused on delivering a better user experience and enabling productivity at all costs. Challenges that once consumed the time, resource and money of the IT function – including the management and maintenance of environments, software versions and upgrades for example – are becoming one less thing to think about…

And this is what’s resonating with customers; why wouldn’t I want an ‘evergreen’ environment with a simpler approach to the design, deployment and management of my workspaces? However naturally with interest comes questions and following conversations with some of our existing Citrix customers I’d like to address a misconception about Citrix Cloud that has come to my attention.

Why should an organisation who has already invested in on-prem Citrix environments be interested in Citrix Cloud? After all “Citrix Cloud is a product / solution that mandates movement of the entire Citrix environment to the cloud” right? Wrong.

To begin addressing the misconception that Citrix Cloud mandates that existing customers move existing investments to the cloud, it’s best to think of Citrix Cloud quite simply as services. Services that allow you to deliver your secure digital workspace from any cloud or any infrastructure. When we talk about transitioning to Citrix Cloud, we don’t necessarily mean moving all applications and workloads to the cloud today, but instead leveraging the services that are available as part of Citrix Cloud to unlock an array of new benefits relating to the way you design, deploy, manage and consume your Citrix environment.

And it’s this flexibility around any cloud and any infrastructure that is proving powerful for our customers – many of whom have had ‘traditional’ on-premises Citrix environments for many years. Taking a step back and thinking about the bigger picture for a moment; every single one of our customers has a cloud vision for their organisation, and most a strategy. The majority are already benefiting from cloud in some way, shape or form – whether this be using SaaS applications, infrastructure, business continuity and DR or a complete cloud-first approach. So, with customers well and truly on their cloud journey, Citrix Cloud allows us to help you extend your cloud strategy to incorporate arguably the most important aspect of IT; your secure digital workspace.

Baked into Citrix Cloud are Citrix’s ethos around delivering unified solutions that integrate to provide an unrivalled workspace where experience, security and choice are of upmost importance – Citrix Cloud is no different.
Citrix Cloud is about choice – it is about providing options and managing multiple heterogeneous locations in parallel. Also, enabling flexible per-user per-year subscriptions.
Citrix Cloud is about security – the key here is that the apps and desktops, and their corresponding data, remain entirely under your control—either in your data centre or the cloud of your choice.
Citrix Cloud is about experience – For you as an IT function, Citrix Cloud enables an intuitive approach to managing users – there’s less to learn and you will spend less time integrating, installing, managing and upgrading and more time supporting the people in your organisation. By simplifying the approach we can reduce the time it takes to stand-up, configure, and roll-out Citrix technologies, so you can deliver more value to your organisation, faster.

To summarise, if you are an existing Citrix customer, there is even more reason to find out about how you can transition to Citrix Cloud. You have already made an investment in Citrix and at our upcoming events we will demonstrate how you can future proof that investment by leveraging services that will provide your organisation with even more value than Citrix does today. The best way to think about Citrix Cloud services is a way of simplifying the delivery and management of Citrix technologies and extend your existing on-premises deployments to create hybrid workspace services. You have the flexibility to deploy future workloads wherever you want and need – including public, private and hybrid cloud – but it by no means mandates an entire movement to the cloud. You decide where each workload or application best resides based on the requirements of the business; including performance, user experience, scalability and cost
(And, don’t panic… Cetus have a business case methodology to help you make the best decision for your business.)

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Technology, Uncategorized

5 Reasons to Consider Citrix Cloud


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Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single control plane to manage and access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. This has become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management your secure digital workspace. If like many, you are assessing where certain workloads best reside, here are 5 reasons we recommend you consider Citrix Cloud…

Unified workspace experience
Citrix’s Cloud strategy is very much a reflection of their core strategy; to build the world’s best integrated technology services for secure delivery of apps and data. Citrix Cloud helps unite and integrate all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a more unified administration, delivery and user experience. 

Adapt to changing demands
Today’s workforce are increasingly mobile – using an increasing amount of devices, from a multitude of locations. However, it is becoming increasingly complex for IT to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with multiple applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable demands. A cloud-based strategy helps to solve these problems and in the process reduces complexity, and provides a simple way to deploy and manage secure mobile workspace solutions. This is where Citrix Cloud comes in to help you at any point in your cloud journey… 

Flexibility across any cloud
For many businesses, supporting a multi-cloud IT strategy continues to be a dominant trend with 82% of businesses stating that they have a multi-cloud approach across private, public or hybrid cloud environments. Citrix Cloud gives you the flexibility of choice. You are able to host your apps and data on any cloud or infrastructure platform you choose, whilst having the ability to leverage a common management plane across all Citrix environments. 

Faster time to value
Citrix Cloud is arguably the fastest way to deploy Citrix technology, taking just hours as opposed to weeks to deploy. Essentially, Citrix Cloud is a cloud management service uniting multiple Citrix products. The cloud service is operated by Citrix, and contains all of the management functions that ordinarily would have had to be installed and provisioned separately. The value is that Citrix has already deployed – and integrated – these services into Citrix Cloud so in many cases, all you need to do is activate, configure and deploy them to deliver a secure digital workspace solution. 

Simplified management
Using Citrix Cloud is intuitive. The idea is for you to spend less time learning, integrating, installing and managing – and instead focus on other more important, or strategic IT projects. This approach means reduced infrastructure, centralised control, and SaaS-style updates, which in turn contributes to lower administration cost and complexity. In addition, by simplifying management across multiple Citrix locations, you are able to optimise performance, data sovereignty, compliance and network latency.

Earlier this year at Citrix Summit, the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses was announced for those who want to move to Citrix Cloud. If you are  considering Citrix Cloud services as a strategy for your business, there really is no better time..

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