At the end of last week I got the chance to join a briefing by the joint NetApp / Fujitsu team working on vShape. Launched in 2013, vShape is a reference architecture for converged virtualised infrastructure combining the best bits of Fujitsu (Primergy servers), VMware (vSphere software), Brocade (ICX switches) and NetApp (FAS storage running Data ONTAP software). Combined with the global scale, support and professional service expertise of Fujitsu to deliver the full, integrated solution anywhere you need it and way faster than you could ever build it yourself.
The traditional approach would be for a customer to spend much time designing, integrating and testing before moving an IT solution into production. Sometimes a project lasting many months, or even years. Only to find the solution they chose is not quite right, technologies and needs have changed, so the project cycle starts all over again. With a solution like Fujitsu vShape, they (with support of an ecosystem of partners like ourselves at NetApp) do most of that sizing and integration work before it is shipped, leaving the customer to concentrate on getting to production faster and fine tuning to support the specific needs of their business. With the knowledge the solution is designed to scale from less than 25 virtual machines, to as large as you could ever need with vShape Enterprise.
As the IT industry spends a lot of time working out what Cloud Computing is really for, it’s worth remembering that there is a huge amount of non-virtualised IT infrastructure out there – in fact most estimates are that this is still the majority of IT in use today. Even if it feels like Virtualisation is standard (and all ‘a bit 2009’) to many of us working in and around the data centre, lots of remote offices and smaller sites especially have yet to be virtualised fully. There is no reason they can’t be. If you’re reading this and are the lucky owner of some of this type of ‘2009 IT’ still today, take a look at vShape, you might find it’s faster, cheaper and easier than you think to get to a fully virtualised architecture (server, network and storage). And you might find the next logical architecture steps – automating, then moving to a hybrid cloud at some point – might be possible a bit sooner than you thought.