HyperConverged Computing

Hyperconverged Infrastructure makes it possible to combine networking, storage, and computing into a single system.

The Real Meaning of ‘Hyperconverged’

When the term ‘hyperconverged’ was coined, it meant a converged infrastructure solution that natively included the hypervisor for virtualization. The “hyper” wasn’t just hype as it is today. This is an important distinction because it has specific implications for how the architecture can be designed for greater storage efficiency and simplicity.

Who can provide a native hypervisor? Anyone can, really. Hypervisors have become a market commodity with very little feature difference between them. With free, open source hypervisors like KVM, anyone can build on KVM to create a hypervisor unique and specialized to the hardware they provide in their hyperconverged appliances. Many vendors still choose to stay with converged infrastructure models, perhaps banking on the market dominance of VMware even with many consumers fleeing the high prices of VMware licensing

Saving money is only one of the benefits of HCI. By utilizing a native hypervisor, the storage can be architected and embedded directly with the hypervisor, eliminating inefficient storage protocols, files systems, and VSAs. The most efficient data paths allow direct access between the VM and the storage; this has only been achieved when the hypervisor vendor is the same as the storage vendor. When the vendor owns the components, it can design the hypervisor and storage to directly interact, resulting in a huge increase in efficiency and performance.

In addition to storage efficiency, having the hypervisor included natively in the solution eliminates another vendor which increases management efficiency. A single vendor that provides the servers, storage, and hypervisor makes the overall solution much easier to support, update, patch, and manage without the traditional compatibility issues and vendor finger-pointing. Ease of management represents a significant savings in both time and training from the IT budget.

What does Hyperconverged Infrastructure Include?

Although there are some software-only solutions that call themselves HCI, appliance-based HCI hardware solutions offeradditional benefits. Not only can a combined solution of hardware and software in an appliance be more thoroughly tested to avoid instability, but single-vendor support provided for a HCI appliance can cover both hardware and softwareseamlessly.

An HCI appliance can include server compute resources, the storage, preferably the hypervisor, and often disaster recovery and backup features. HCI is sometimes referred to as a “datacenter in a box” because, after the initial cabling and minimal networking configuration, it has all of the features and functionality of the traditional 3-2-1virtualization architecture.

What’s Included: