What is hyper-converged infrastructure?
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) combines common datacenter hardware using locally attached storage resources with intelligent software to create flexible building blocks that replace legacy infrastructure consisting of separate servers, storage networks, and storage arrays. Benefits include lower TCO, increased performance, and greater productivity within IT teams.
With the web explosion of the 90’s, infrastructure with server-SAN and storage networks was introduced, featuring independent modules that could be updated or changed without affecting other layers. This infrastructure revolutionized IT departments and has been used ever since.
But now, in the era of hybrid cloud, 3-tier can no longer keep up with IT needs. It’s complex, unwieldy, doesn’t provide a firm foundation for DevOps, and can’t scale with the magnitude it used to.
Today, HCI is the infrastructure of choice for companies that want to stay competitive and ensure their datacenters are cloud-ready. Not all HCI solutions are equal. Here's what to look for when choosing a best of breed solution.
HCI converges the entire datacenter stack, including compute, storage, storage networking, and virtualization. Complex and expensive legacy infrastructure is replaced by a platform running on turnkey, industry-standard servers that enable enterprises to start small and scale one node at a time. Software running on each server node distributes all operating functions across the cluster for superior performance and resilience.
Nearly all modern hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are 100% software-defined, with no dependency on proprietary hardware. Each HCI node in a cluster runs a hypervisor (Nutanix AHV, VMware ESXi, or Microsoft Hyper-V), and the HCI control features run as a separate virtual machine on every node, forming a fully distributed fabric that can scale resources with the addition of new nodes.
Learn the fundamentals of hyperconverged infrastructure and expert tips to build a fast, efficient and highly scalable enterprise datacenter.
Benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure
The benefits of moving from complex legacy infrastructure to the simplicity of hyperconvergence are many, but among the top reasons organizations make the switch are lower costs, improved, consistent performance, a smaller datacenter footprint, greater efficiency and productivity in IT teams, and maximized infrastructure ROI.
Enterprise IT teams today are looking for ways to deliver on-premises IT services with the speed and operational efficiency of public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. A comprehensive enterprise cloud platform bridges the gap between traditional infrastructure and public cloud services—and hyperconvergence is at the core of an enterprise or hybrid cloud. The simplicity and flexibility of hyperconverged infrastructure is also driving many companies to repatriate their workloads from the public cloud back on-premises.
“The incremental scalability is a huge plus. We don’t have to buy a big array upfront at a significant cost, and then start populating it slowly over time. If we need more capacity with Nutanix, we can add it gradually as we need it. Nutanix gives us much more control and visibility into our IT spend.”