What is converged infrastructure?

Concerged InfrastructureConverged infrastructure (CI), also referred to as an integrated IT stack, is gaining popularity by allowing IT managers to reconfigure and expand their operations quickly, easily, and cost-effectively.

The term was coined to describe an IT solution that brings together storage, network, compute, and software in a convenient pre-integrated, pre-packaged and centrally managed “building block.”

The main goal is to minimize compatibility issues and simplify device management while reducing costs for cabling, cooling, power, and floor space. One of the big benefits is when the time comes to expand IT capacity, you'll just need more building blocks, which are fast and straightforward to deploy.

CIs are so inherently resilient that many IT professionals mistakenly believe that the solutions can be safely operated without a UPS backup. Unfortunately, that is a not the case, and power should be considered the fifth element of CI. When building your solution, ensure you use a best-in-class power management system to help you save time and money and minimize business risks.

1. Secure racks with airflow management.
A good power management system starts with a reliable and safe environment for critical IT equipment. The role of a rack is more than providing solid physical protection for equipment mounted in it; a good one also provides excellent airflow management. This cuts cooling costs and eliminates hotspots that can potentially reduce the life of the rackmount equipment.

2. Use highly efficient, network-connected UPSs.
Like all IT equipment, CIs are vulnerable to power spikes and other electrical disturbances and is susceptible to serious damage unless safeguarded by a UPS.

During a power outage, network-connected UPSs can provide that information by notifying downstream devices that power is not available. Without UPSs, technicians must initiate the VM transfer process manually—which is much slower and far less reliable. In addition, a CI’s failover capabilities become virtually useless unless a UPS is present to facilitate the necessary backup.

ePDU Plug3. Power distribution that reduces energy consumption and increases reliability.
Outlet level metering in rack PDUs reduces energy consumption, which are ideally as accurate as ±1 percent.

It’s not uncommon for plugs to get bumped loose, leading to unplanned and uncontrolled server shutdown, which can be controlled with rack PDU outlet grips.

Rack PDUs can also further reduce cooling costs if they can operate in high temperatures (up to 140°F). Some PDUs monitor temperature in the racks, giving you the information you need to identify problems and further reduce cooling costs.

4. Rely on power management software with integration into leading virtual platforms.
Integrated software can offer easy visibility of the entire solution through a single pane. In other words, all UPSs and rack PDUs in the virtual network can be viewed and managed from the same virtualization dashboard, together with network, servers, and storage devices. This eliminates the need for IT managers to run separate software to manage all their power devices seamlessly, saving time and reducing workload.

5P UPS in RackEaton has worked hand-in-hand with CI architects including Cisco, EMC, NetApp and SimpliVity, to provide a powerful, integrated, and scalable solution for power protection and centralized power management. Our Intelligent Power Manager software and reliable UPSs let you view and manage your entire power system from your existing dashboard.

Watch Eaton’s Professor Wattson video Powering Converged Infrastructure


Interested in more information like this?
View Eaton's Racks & Enclosures Handbook
View Eaton's Quick Guide to power distribution