The Dell SDS (Software-Defined Storage)/HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure) Survey

In today’s business climate, Information Technology (IT) is changing, shifting from a cost center to a business differentiator. For IT to embrace and accelerate this transformation, it’s necessary to move beyond virtual servers.

To better understand the considerations behind this transition, Dell sponsored a survey among 520 IT professionals, who are members of the VMware User Group (VMUG). The survey was conducted in March 2021 by the Member Insights team at VMUG. Here are some key insights and takeaways.


Eighty-two percent of survey respondents use traditional 3-tier architecture, comprised of server, storage, network, while 47% use a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). On-premises technology is a major factor in IT, but public-cloud solutions will be a part of the equation. Twenty percent of those surveyed mentioned expanding their public-cloud infrastructure the most over the past year. Additionally, there was a directional shift from 2020 to 2021 in the number of members whose companies are further along in the transition to a cloud-based environment. Solutions such as Microsoft 365 insert Microsoft’s Azure into the environment. Customers should consider how to expand their on-premises solution to take advantage of the public cloud. A public-cloud account, through services such as Microsoft 365 or Amazon Web Services (AWS), can provide easy access to the public cloud. Solutions like disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) are more suited to outsourcing to a third-party provider.

People and Processes

Business requirements will dictate the move to embrace hybrid cloud environment. Over 50% of respondents were motivated to adopt cloud operating architecture to increase efficiency, scalability, and flexibility—all essential attributes for IT departments. Today’s business units call for traditional IT departments to perform like “hyperscalers” and scale according to fluctuating demand. This can help set companies apart from the competition.

More than half of respondents (55%) are planning to select a hybrid cloud over public or private cloud environments. IT departments must adapt to take full advantage of a hybrid cloud solution, which involves breaking down silos and automating services. In addition, according to 34% of respondents, employing the right talent to embrace this new cloud model is not only necessary, but also a concern that constitutes a challenge for IT departments. To better prepare and get comfortable with constant change, staff training in DevOps methodology is important. Being agile is now a priority, in addition to up-time.

Technology Updates

Technology, also, must be updated. The traditional 3-tier architecture (server, storage, network) model may not be agile enough to keep up with business demands. Upgrades should be secure, automated, and implemented regularly to match the change of pace of the business and support the needs of the stakeholders.

For infrastructure to be flexible, it should be software-defined. For many customers already virtualizing with VMware, the next step is vSphere users, already have SDS embedded in the native hypervisor with vSAN and only need to enable this feature to continue the SDS journey.

Those looking for turnkey solutions should consider Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure. only HCI jointly engineered with VMware, and delivers a preconfigured SDDC solution, with automation and engineering making it much easier to deploy and operate. Validated and automated system updates free up time for IT to focus on business differentiators versus ongoing maintenance. Integration with VMware Cloud Foundation enables any sized business to deliver hybrid-cloud environments. And the ease of operations extends the efficiency of IT teams, especially in growing environments.

Utilizing HCI, businesses can quickly deploy new workloads, automate system updates, retain control, and maintain security on-prem. Simultaneously they can determine if and when which workloads should move to cloud with virtualized portability.

Key Takeaways

Prepare for the hybrid-cloud environment by focusing on people, process, and technology. Remember to maximize the technology, people, and processes must be flexible. Start training staff now.

Choose the right partner. Dell Technologies provides on-premises and private-cloud solutions delivered via perpetual licenses and as a service (aaS). VMware is the standard hypervisor in the industry and that common thread provides hyperscalers and thousands of other public providers if public-cloud expansion is needed. Learn from others by engaging user groups such as Converged and VMUG. We are all going through this change together and it is valuable to find someone who has accomplished what you are about to start. As you complete a step along the way, I encourage you to share your knowledge with the community.

Businesses now understand digital assets are what will propel the company forward, and digital transformation leads to all businesses becoming technology companies servicing their industry and market. Together, IT and the business unit should work together to provide solutions that reduce go-to-market times and improve customer satisfaction.


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