A hyperconverged infrastructure can offer organizations several benefits, not only easier deployment and management but better reliability, scalability, data protection, and resource utilization, just to name a few. This is not to say that HCI is for everyone, but for certain workloads, HCI can be a useful addition to the data center or edge environment, reducing costs and simplifying IT operations.
One of the main reasons organizations turn to hyperconverged systems is the ease of deployment, which starts with system acquisition and continues through maintaining a virtualized workload:
- Decision-makers don’t have to spend time researching products to ensure compatibility.
- The IT department works with a single vendor, from procurement to workload deployment.
- Components are pre-integrated and configured, eliminating the overhead associated with acquiring, integrating, and implementing traditional infrastructure.
- Software-defined HCI capabilities simplify resource allocation and workload deployment.
IT professionals can manage and control HCI systems much more easily than traditional infrastructure:
- The software manages the environment and automatically performs day-to-day operations such as provisioning and load balancing.
- Administrators work from a single management platform that unifies administrative tasks, eliminating the management silos associated with traditional infrastructure.
- Administrators can perform common tasks such as backing up or restoring virtual machines with simple one-click operations, and they can also manage infrastructure remotely.
- HCI frees up IT staff for other tasks, such as managing security or focusing on new tasks, while reducing the need for specialized staff.
The HCI platform provides a unified environment that makes software and hardware upgrades much faster and easier than traditional infrastructure:
- The single-vendor delivery model streamlines and simplifies upgrades by eliminating the need to balance independent systems.
- Software-defined infrastructure provides a flexible and adaptable environment for restructuring systems or adding hardware without the complexity and risk of other systems.
- HCI offers a unified platform that uses common protocols and integrated technologies to simplify system upgrades.
For many organizations, scalability is one of the main reasons they choose an HCI platform:
- An HCI cluster consists of self-contained, pre-configured building blocks called nodes, which can be added to or removed from the cluster as needed.
- IT can start small by implementing an HCI appliance first and then adding nodes as needed without investing in infrastructure that may not be in use.
- Because the nodes are pre-optimized and pre-configured for the HCI platform, administrators can add them without running into integration issues.
- Administrators can quickly add nodes to existing HCI clusters, reducing the delays that come with scaling out traditional infrastructure.
The multi-node architecture inherent in the HCI platform provides high system reliability and availability:
- An HCI cluster contains multiple nodes that distribute functions across the cluster for fault tolerance and high availability.
- Failover and disaster recovery are built into the HCI platform, so if one node fails, other nodes can take over.
- The software-defined environment includes self-healing capabilities that automatically detect and fix problems.
- Administrators can add or replace nodes without downtime or disruption.
The HCI platform includes features that can help improve workload performance even when running multiple types of applications:
- An HCI system can include both SSDs and HDDs to help meet the performance requirements of a variety of workloads, including virtual desktop infrastructure.
- Software-defined storage can meet changing performance requirements without having to reconfigure the hardware itself.
- Data storage and processing are in close proximity, resulting in fewer cables and less latency.
- An HCI system can support different types of workloads without the I/O mixing effect that can degrade storage performance in a virtualized environment.
Despite the rigid node structure, the HCI platform offers great flexibility to adapt to diverse and changing workloads:
- Because the HCI platform is flexible and scalable, IT can quickly and easily meet changing business requirements or adapt to changing workloads.
- A virtual environment makes it easy to handle a variety of workloads, even if they run on different OSes.
- A virtual environment allows administrators to move workloads between clusters or between data centers.
- The software-defined infrastructure allows you to automate and coordinate workload deployment and other operations.
Software-defined capabilities differentiate HCI from other infrastructure platforms by helping you manage operations and maintain the overall health of your environment:
- Most HCI systems now offer software-defined networking along with software-defined storage and computing, providing a 100% software-defined environment.
- Automation is easier to implement, which helps simplify IT, make better use of resources, handle diverse and changing workloads, and improve overall efficiency.
- Software-defined infrastructure can quickly and easily adapt to updates, new components, and different types of storage while supporting disaster recovery.
- Third-party management and monitoring tools, as well as other applications and services, can more easily integrate with the HCI platform.
Favorable Environment For Cloud Computing
HCI is built on a modern architecture that provides users with the power of cloud computing and helps facilitate digital transformation:
- The HCI platform abstracts the underlying hardware resources and exposes them as services, such as a cloud platform that streamlines and simplifies administrative operations.
- The HCI system uses advanced virtualization technologies and software-defined technologies that simplify integration with cloud platforms and support hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments.
- The cloud-based nature of HCI makes it easier for administrators to implement and manage workloads that span multiple platforms, including cloud environments.
- Many HCI platforms now support containerized applications, which increases platform flexibility.
The HCI platform offers data protection that includes built-in disaster recovery capabilities as well as security management features:
- Data protection features such as backups, snapshots, clones, or other disaster recovery features are built into the HCI platform.
- HCI’s multi-site architecture and built-in failover make it easy to recover data in the event of a cyberattack, hardware failure, or another event.
- Because HCI consolidates resources into a single system, data is stored closer to where it is processed, making it easier to manage and monitor and reducing the overall attack surface.
Many organizations turn to HCI solutions because they reduce the cost of running workloads throughout the lifecycle:
- The HCI platform consolidates hardware resources and maximizes their utilization, resulting in fewer servers, a smaller data center footprint, and reduced power and cooling requirements.
- The HCI platform can be built on off-the-shelf hardware, avoiding the high costs associated with deploying specialized servers, storage, or network components.
- Because HCI uses direct-attached storage, an organization can avoid the high costs associated with deploying and managing a SAN.
- Organizations can purchase HCI software and build their own HCI platforms.
- Getting started with HCI requires fewer IT resources and less experienced staff because HCI is easier to deploy and manage.
With each hardware upgrade cycle, more companies will consider this class of solution. Using hyperconvergence provides flexibility, scalability, and high performance through the use of new types of drives, simplifies infrastructure work and accelerates the provision of new resources through a software-defined approach.
These benefits are the foundation for the continued proliferation of hyperconverged infrastructure. Today, technology is entering the stage of maturity and finds more and more supporters.