In addition to converged infrastructure solutions, various vendors and solution providers offer reference architectures, which are basically blueprints or frameworks for deploying converged environments. These blueprints provide information and associated best practices for addressing different application and deployment scenarios, based on the specific technology in the reference architecture.
Converged reference architectures are like cookbooks, with specifics on how, when and where to deploy various solutions. They usually offer best practices for ongoing management chores, including data protection. Like solution stacks, reference architectures can reduce the time and complexity involved in deploying converged data center solutions by eliminating the guesswork of integrating technologies. In doing so, a good reference architecture can help an organization maximize the return on investment from converged solutions.
Another reason to use reference architectures is to identify solution candidates to address an organization’s unique objectives. Some reference architectures show how to deploy various a la carte technologies from different vendors (servers, storage, networking and software management tools) to support middleware or application platforms.
For example, if an organization is looking to implement a converged server and networking infrastructure environment, reference architectures for VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix, tied to different hardware platform solutions, should be required reading. Other reference architectures show how to deploy bundled-stack solutions, including installation, ongoing management and data protection, among other best practices.
For more information on how reference architectures fit into data center convergence read the CDW•G white paper on Data Center Convergence.