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What is hyperconverged infrastructure?

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) combines common data center hardware using locally attached storage resources with intelligent software to create flexible building blocks to replace conventional infrastructure based on separate servers, storage networks and storage arrays.


Origins of hyper-converged infrastructure or HCI

During the 1990s, when the web boom occurred, infrastructure with storage networks and server SANs was introduced, with independent modules that could be upgraded or changed without affecting other layers. Such an infrastructure revolutionized IT departments and has been the standard since that era.

However, in the midst of the hybrid cloud era, the three-tier system can hardly meet IT needs. Because it is complex and unwieldy, it does not provide a firm foundation for DevOps, so it cannot scale with the same magnitude as before.

Today, hyper-converged infrastructure is the infrastructure of choice for companies that want to remain competitive and ensure their data centers are cloud-ready.

How HCI works

With hyperconverged systems, convergence of the entire data center stack is achieved, including processing, storage, storage networking and virtualization.

Traditional cumbersome and expensive infrastructure is replaced by a platform that runs on turnkey servers (the industry standard) and allows companies to start scaling from node to node. Software running on each server node spreads all operational functions across the cluster for outstanding performance and resiliency.


Hyperconverged Infrastructure Components

HCI consists of two main elements: the distributed plane and the management plane.

Distributed plane

This plane operates on a cluster of nodes that provide storage, virtualization and networking services for guest applications, whether virtual machines or container-based applications.

Management plane

This plane allows you to monitor hyperconverged resources easily from a single place and a single view, eliminating the need for separate management solutions for servers, storage networks, storage and virtualization.

Virtually all modern HCI solutions are software-defined, with no reliance on proprietary hardware. Each hyperconverged node in a cluster runs a hypervisor (Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, Nutanix AHV, etc.) and control functions run as a separate virtual machine on each node, establishing a fully distributed structure that can scale resources by adding new nodes.

Benefits of hyperconvergence:

The advantages of leaping from a complex conventional infrastructure to the simplicity of HCI are more than obvious. Some of the main reasons why companies decide to take this step are the following:

Flexibility never seen before

A single cluster can have unlimited nodes (hyperconverged servers). Each type of node has different amounts of storage, CPU and memory resources, so it can run numerous workloads with maximum efficiency.

Lower cost

Hyperconverged infrastructures cost less than their hardware counterparts because they run on commercial servers rather than on expensive single-purpose appliances.

They also have a smaller footprint. This is because they allow multiple functions to run on a single server. By requiring less physical hardware, consolidation of resources is achieved, resulting in reduced overhead, energy and physical space costs.

Next-level performance and resiliency

Hyperconverged software running on each node allocates all operational functions across the cluster.

Superior platform

Each hyperconverged server has Intel-powered x86 hardware with traditional flash-based SSDs and HDDs.

100% software-driven

Supports a variety of different hardware platforms, including three of the four most popular server platforms globally.

Rapid deployment

HCI is deployed quickly, so IT teams can focus on the applications and services that drive the business.

Turnkey infrastructure

Hyper-converged infrastructure has integrated server, storage, networking and virtualization resources, as well as comprehensive systems and operations management capabilities.

Why use hyperconverged infrastructure in enterprises?

Today, enterprise IT teams are continually looking for ways to deliver on-premises services with the speed and operational efficiency of public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

An end-to-end cloud platform connects traditional infrastructure and public cloud services. In other words, hyperconvergence is the foundation of an enterprise or hybrid cloud. Do not hesitate to contact Intelequia for advice on hyperconverged infrastructure.