Hyper Converged Infrastructure: Various Aspects Discussed
Today, businesses understand that digital transformation is key to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. This means, they need to support artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing while addressing their increasing workloads. This support may demand additional infrastructure costs, resources, and time. There are challenges of obsolete software and hardware further adding to the complexities. This is where hyper converged infrastructure or HCI can help. HCI has gained popularity in recent years and one of the key benefits of this architecture is reducing dependability on different storage and computing systems.
Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI): A Brief History and Its Evolution
Software-defined storage (SDS) has been an integral part of data center infrastructure since the 1990s. SAN gained popularity and easy acceptance because it eased infrastructure management, and helped reinforce better data protection controls as well as power important databases. However, that was not enough, SAN-based infrastructure failed to meet the increasing needs of infrastructure in fast-growing organizations. This is when in 2009, the engineers from different fastest-growing companies realized that software technologies that have been developed to mitigate their individual business challenges can be applied on a large scale to improve possibilities of enterprise computing. As a result, the concept of HCI was born.
HCI was introduced in 2012 and it refers to a software-defined infrastructure that combines virtualization, storage, computing, and networking in a cluster. Typically, HCI comprises virtualized software-defined storage (SAN), a hypervisor or virtualized computing, and software-defined networking or virtualized networking.
HCI is often compared with converged infrastructure, which is a hardware-focused infrastructure. The converged infrastructure also has similar components, which are physically separated, discrete, and difficult to manage. Owing to its unified approach, HCI offers higher scalability as well as abstraction than converged infrastructure. What are the typical advantages offered by HCI? Read the next section to learn its advantages and reasons for its popularity among businesses of all sizes.
Hyper Converged Infrastructure and Its Components Discussed
How does each component of HCI work? How they create a productive, manageable, and scalable infrastructure? The following pointers will help you understand it better.
- Storage: Software-defined storage helps minimize the dependency on hardware systems. This storage type creates a virtual software layer between the data storage hardware and the request for data storage. The virtual software layer enables IT teams to manipulate and decide how data will be stored.
- Networking: Software-defined networking or SDN is employed to virtualize networking functions in HCI. It enables dedicated IT teams to use a centralized panel to control network traffic in extremely complex topologies. This reduces the efforts that go in handling each component individually.
- Hypervisor: This refers to a type of software that is used to run as well as create virtual machines or VMs in a network. Hypervisor is sometimes known as a virtual machine monitor or VMM because it helps isolate the resources and hypervisor operating system from virtual machines. The hypervisors treat resources like storage, memory, and CPU as a pool, which can be easily between existing virtual machines or guests. The hypervisor offer allocated resources to each virtual machine, and helps schedule the VM resources against physical resources such as hardware. Several systems can be operated simultaneously using the same shared hardware, and hypervisor makes it possible on an enterprise level.
Benefits of Hyper Converged Infrastructure
Cloud computing or HCI? There are several confusions between technologies and their implementation. Today, many business organizations are using public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Service (AWS), Azure, as well as Google Cloud to deploy their IT applications. These platforms offer benefits of scalability, flexibility, data accessibility, and more. However, that is not enough, it also comes with its own challenges. These challenges can be easily mitigated in hyper converged infrastructure. The infrastructure utilizes several distributed system technologies such as cloud computing, which enables businesses to leverage the benefits of cloud computing in their legacy data centers. The hyper converged infrastructure services can be easily extended to public clouds, and they enable deploying and managing applications with the same tools and technologies.
Although compatibility with the cloud is one of the key reasons for its widespread adoption across industries, there are several other reasons, too. The following pointers will help you understand it better.
- High Scalability: HCI is more responsive to changing business needs. It enables users to set up their hardware easily, and distribute their workloads in a few minutes. This helps minimize downtimes, which often occur during different infrastructure scaling activities. HCI infrastructure offers higher flexibility and scalability over regular legacy infrastructure.
- Low Costs of Storage: Improved scale-in and scale-out capabilities of HCI make them cost-effective. Unlike many other technologies, you need not invest in purpose-built infrastructure; however, investing in industry-standard x86 servers is mandatory. The capacity of the infrastructure can be expanded to meet the changing requirements with no additional challenges or disruptions. Unlike cloud computing, you can easily eliminate the possibilities of vendor lock-in, as well as overprovisioning, which increases the operational costs. This tremendously helps reduce the infrastructure spend across your data center.
- Improved Flexibility: Many telecommunication leaders in Europe and the US have successfully implemented HCI to support their data centers and VDI. HCI also enables them to adjust their policies pertaining to the speed and performance of their machines under changed circumstances while also enabling them to expand and add new machines as required.
- Improved Productivity and Technology Efficiency: You can use this technology to eliminate different manual, tedious processes performed for hardware and software management in any organization. By implementing HCI, the IT teams can take advantage of monitoring and managing resources from a single window. Also, with HCI, the IT resources are perceived as storage pools, which can be allocated dynamically to deliver the right amount of performance, capacity, as well as protection.
- Enables Better Resource Utilization: By opting for HCI, businesses can increase their system reliability and availability in terms of storage and computing power. It enables business organizations to explore their available resources to their full permissible limits. It also provides business users a better service and reduces their operational costs.
Hyper Converged Infrastructure and Fiber Optics
In business organizations, the data infrastructure is evolving along multiple paths. Those who have adopted hyper converged infrastructure understand its design intricacies. In this type of infrastructure, several nodes of computing storage are networked together using fiber optic cables and devices. These cables enable hyperscale providers to build, protect, as well as and scale up their infrastructure easily. Additionally, industrial fiber optic network switches assure better connectivity. Many traditional IT infrastructure networks comprising copper cables are being transformed into hyper converged infrastructure. Fiber optic media converters play a key role in this type of transformation. They help leverage the benefits of both cables without additional investments.
Several studies suggest that hyper converged infrastructure is here to stay and is one of the fastest growing infrastructure technologies today. Although software investments are mandatory, it is equally important to use quality devices to leverage the benefits of this architecture. VERSITRON provides fiber optic devices such as network switches and media converters, which have been installed in several hyper converged infrastructure networks across the world. You can visit or contact us to check out the type of products offered.