Citing convenience, cost reduction, flexibility, scalability and performance, more and more organizations are moving to integrated infrastructure models such as converged infrastructure. Survey after survey reiterate these benefits. For example, a 2015 report from 451 Research shows that most organizations that have implemented converged infrastructure are satisfied with their choice.

Despite overall satisfaction with the converged infrastructure model, few organizations can easily port every application over to the converged environment without a few hiccups. Whether it’s because of a critical legacy system that was written in an older programming language no longer supported by modern systems, or a small program that performs a critical function but is missing the original documentation, there are many different things issues that present significant integration challenges. But with a little ingenuity and a lot of flexibility, effective integration is achievable. Here’s how:

1. Double- and triple-check compatibility.

Even if your converged infrastructure vendor considers your applications pre-validated, do the integration testing yourself—or ask the vendor to do it. “Even if it can talk to your network, for example, can you move data from the application within the network? Can your management system recognize it and provide a framework that will allow you to manage it?” asks Jimmy D. Pike, a technologist with Moor Insights & Strategy. “It’s important to validate these things because you can’t think of everything you didn’t think of.”

2. Make hard choices.

Before moving to a converged infrastructure, it’s important to assess all existing applications to determine which are truly critical and which may no longer be necessary. A comprehensive evaluation should include not only the IT team, but also the business owners of the applications.

3. Evaluate existing applications carefully.

Sure, your homegrown CRM system still works, your messaging platform still helps maintain employee communication, and your custom-developed ERP system for equipment manufacturing is really good at integrating operations with engineering, sales and finance. But look more closely: That CRM system doesn’t have an open API and can’t perform some additional tasks you’d like a CRM system to perform. That messaging platform can’t accommodate the latest smartphones, which is causing unrest among millennial employees. The ERP system still works well, and it’s specific enough to your industry and your business that it’s worth keeping. Know what works and what doesn’t.

4. Don’t try to jury-rig a fit: While it might be tempting to try to force an integration for an application that isn’t on the pre-integrated list, resist the urge. “Treat the converged architecture almost like an appliance. That means don’t alter it. When you try to be overly creative, you can cause more problems and even make overall access difficult,” Pike says.

5. For truly “must-have” applications, turn to your vendor. Nobody knows the converged architecture better than the vendor. If your critical applications aren’t on the pre-integrated list, the vendor’s services arm can use a combination of its open management framework and middleware to find a way to make it work.

Underwritten by HPE

Part of HPE’s Power of One strategy, HPE Converged Architecture 700 delivers infrastructure as one integrated stack. HPE Converged Architecture 700 delivers proven, repeatable building blocks of infrastructure maintained by one management platform (HPE OneView), built and delivered exclusively by qualified HPE Channel Partners. This methodology saves considerable time and resources, compared to the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach.

Based on a complete HPE stack consisting of HPE BladeSystem with Intel® Xeon® E5 v3-based HPE ProLiant BL460c Gen9 blades, HPE 3PAR StoreServ all-flash storage, HPE Networking, and HPE OneView infrastructure management software, the HPE Converged Architecture 700 can be easily modified to fit within your existing IT environment.