Converged vs Hyperconverged Infrastructure
What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure?
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) uses intelligent distributed software to combine pools of server and storage resources into a 100% software-defined solution. It replaces the components of legacy infrastructure, i.e., separate servers, storage networks, and storage arrays, with one unified distributed system, creating a highly scalable datacentre.
While both converged and hyperconverged infrastructure hope to eliminate the pain-points associated with legacy infrastructure, there are unique differences between how the two tackle those challenges.
What is Converged Infrastructure?
Converged infrastructure (CI) is a form of datacentre management that combines legacy infrastructure components like storage arrays, servers, network switches, and virtualisation onto a single SKU that makes purchasing and deployment easier and more predictable.
Many businesses choose converged infrastructure because they’ve realised the amount of time and expense involved with sizing, deploying, configuring, and troubleshooting their own hardware. For many, the packaged model CI delivers is more appealing.
With converged infrastructure, systems are designed and integrated by a vendor, packaged into a discrete set of pre-configured options. Rather than needing to buy the various components separately and working through compatibility and integration challenges manually, converged infrastructure marries pre-integrated hardware components with software to orchestrate and provision these resources through a unified system.
As a step up from legacy, multi-tiered infrastructure, CI aims to reduce the complexity that comes with datacentre management. Its design reduces hardware incompatibility issues, and its ease of deployment is appealing to organisations that are looking to reduce time and resources spent integrating and deploying datacentre infrastructure.
Benefits of Hyperconverged vs Converged Infrastructure
To better understand the advantages of both infrastructure solutions, consult the side-by-side comparisons of the most sought-after benefits companies require.
|Benefit||Converged Infrastructure||Hyperconverged Infrastructure|
|Reduces operational expenses|
|Streamlines acquisition, deployment, support, and management||X|
|Reduces “moving” parts, i.e., hardware||X|
|Enables cloud-level economics||X|
|Provides a highly scalable environment|
|Enables centralised management of virtual environments|
|Optimises resource consumption||X|
|Improves mobility by shifting management over to apps and VMs||X|
|Includes built-in data protection and disaster recovery||X|
|Reduces the total cost of ownership||X|
|Enables rapid application deployment||X|
|Reduces the risk of over-provisioning and over-purchasing||X|
|Cuts down on labor-intensive activities|
|Prepares datacentres for DevOps||X|
Should Businesses Choose Converged or Hyperconverged Infrastructure?
Simply put, converged infrastructure is the same technology as traditional infrastructure, but is packaged to be easier to consume and deploy. On the other hand, hyperconverged infrastructure takes a completely different approach: using cloud computing technologies implemented entirely in software to enable clusters of commodity server hardware to reliably and predictably power enterprise software services.
Ultimately, HCI is far more flexible, maneuverable, and scalable, delivering a simple, speedy deployment model: “[Hyperconverged infrastructure] is often deployed on commodity components, providing a simplified scale-out architecture with commodity servers.”
Implementing Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructures
Converged Infrastructure simplifies purchasing by pre-integrating the various components of the infrastructure stack, thereby decreasing the technical integration work that needs to be done by the client. Implementation still requires deploying and configuring multiple hardware components from different vendors and integrating in the datacentre, which can take multiple days or even weeks and often relies on extensive consulting services in order to complete.
Hyperconverged infrastructure greatly simplifies implementation into a straightforward software installation on industry-standard server hardware using a fully integrated deployment automation tool. In contrast to CI deployments, HCI deployments typically take only a couple of hours and can even be performed remotely as long as someone is present to physically rack and connect the hardware.