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How will hyper-converged systems affect VDI admin jobs?

HCI comes packaged together so IT shops can manage the entire system at once. That sounds convenient, but it can also create department organization issues.

When a company deploys hyper-converged infrastructure, VDI administrators must often change their focus. Instead of specializing in one area of IT infrastructure, they must manage the entire hyper-converged system.

Although adopting hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) requires admins to take on a broader role, the performance boost and ease of use are some reasons organizations turn to HCI for VDI. HCI provides tighter integration between the hardware and software components of a data center, which can reduce the complexity of deploying VDI while simultaneously improving its performance.

To understand how using HCI can affect VDI administrators' jobs, first consider the way many large IT shops operated before adopting HCI: they were often organized by technology. For example, one group within the IT department handled servers, another managed storage and yet another took care of networking.

In many ways this legacy approach to network management makes sense because it allows members of the IT staff to develop expertise in one particular area instead of having general skills across a broader spectrum of technology. HCI disrupts this type of systems management.

Companies purchase hyper-converged systems as pre-built units that are made up of coordinating hardware and software. One hyper-converged node typically includes compute, storage and network resources, as well as a software component that handles all of the hardware-level configuration and management tasks.

The result is that the old model -- in which a VDI admin specializes in virtual infrastructure -- does not work in a hyper-converged environment. For example, there is no need for a storage-specific administrator because storage isn't separate from the rest of the hyper-converged stack. Likewise, there's no need for an administrator to be solely focused on VDI.

If your organization chooses to adopt HCI, it should also develop a long-term strategy for reorganizing the IT department. That restructuring probably won't happen immediately because many IT shops must continue to support some legacy systems, at least for a while. But eventually hyper-converged systems may replace those legacy systems and the IT department will have to rethink how it does things.

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