The Cloud pools ready-to-use, market-proven, resources facilitating rapid deployment with shorter time-to-market options, while ensuring that the different components of the Cloud interface seamlessly with each other and the customer’s environment. As vendor learning curves shorten and more innovative Cloud applications are introduced to their customers, mainline organizations are enjoying the initial benefits of adopting Cloud converged / integrated environments. They are turning away from “planning for infrastructure” to planning for “use of Cloud infrastructure”.

Converged infrastructure refers to pre-integrated hardware and software solutions. End users do not have to purchase or install any hardware or software or make the effort to integrate the disparate elements in any manner. Everything is done for them by the Cloud service provider. They need to just sign up and enjoy the benefits of the convergence.

The benefits of the converged / integrated environment is realized fully when enterprises find that they can seamlessly meet IT demand with IT supply. IT is no longer a “black box” that makes no sense to the stakeholders of the business. The Cloud introduces a layer of abstraction between the end user and the underlying resource and simplifies server provisioning. It brings in agility and flexibility to IT within the enterprise and permits business investment in IT expansion or contraction on demand. Distinct IT silos within the organization are brought together and integrated within the private IT Cloud that emerges.   Available resource use is optimized ensuring cost, performance and compliance goals are met and business policies are enforced across the board.

Enterprise applications abstracted to the Cloud reduce the amount of time required for making it available to the remotest user on the network. The applications can be rapidly uploaded to physical and virtual environments with a predictable quality of service. All services can be initiated through a single, self service portal that controls all Cloud services and enables connectivity to the diverse components on the network.  Even traditional IT environments can be hooked up with the self service portal resulting network wide integration of IT services to end users wherever they are located.

However, there are a number of challenges that are faced by Cloud vendors who attempt to integrate local environments with Cloud environments for their customers. Converged infrastructure is still in its infancy and most customers need to be educated on “what constitutes a converged infrastructure” and what does not.  Deploying Cloud infrastructures with heterogeneous legacy applications without ripping out existing applications can be very challenging. An evolutionary and not revolutionary approach is called for.