Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions have been around for a number of years and have seen broad adoption in organizations of all sizes. HCI makes good business sense for organizations with limited IT resources and the need to become more responsive to changing business demands.
The term “convergence” refers generally to IT solutions that integrate compute, storage, networking and systems management resources in a single platform that has been preconfigured, pretested and vendor certified. Research firm IDC refers to these basic solutions as certified reference systems and integrated infrastructure.
With integrated infrastructure, compute, storage and networking components are distinct and can be separated. HCI solutions, in contrast, provide compute and storage functionality through the same x86-based resources, and have a highly virtualized, scale-out architecture. A new category of HCI solutions allows for independent scaling of compute and storage resources while maintaining tight integration.
The “hyper” in hyper-converged infrastructure originally referred to a hypervisor — HCI solutions natively include virtualization services with the hardware stack. This remains a key benefit of HCI. Many organizations like the fact that they don’t have to buy a separate license for a hypervisor. A native hypervisor also enables more efficient storage access and higher levels of automation.
In addition to the hypervisor, HCI solutions include advanced management tools that go further to streamline administration. IT gains a single-pane-of-glass view of all HCI systems in the environment, even if they’re spread across multiple data centers around the world.
The traditional three-tier IT architecture requires significant time and effort for procurement, installation, integration, configuration and testing. It typically involves multiple vendors which only adds to the management complexity. By combining all resources in a single solution, HCI enables rapid deployment and “one throat to choke” support. This enables organizations to optimize IT staff resources. As a result, HCI solutions offer significantly lower total cost of ownership through reduced labor costs, power cooling and space requirements, and software licenses.
HCI can also deliver increased performance due to the ability to pool resources across multiple appliances. You can also have a mix of solid-state disks and traditional hard-disk drives, giving you the speed and capacity to handle any workload. The scale-out architecture of HCI enables you to start small and add nodes as needed.
While many people think of HCI as a hardware appliance, it can be purchased as software that runs on any certified platform. That enables organizations to utilize the hardware they’re most familiar with it. Software-based solutions also integrate with major cloud platforms, giving you the same experience on-premises as in the cloud.
Rahi Systems can help you evaluate the various HCI solutions and choose the right deployment model for your environment. We can assist with procurement, implementation and data migration, and decommissioning of old equipment. We will also perform a knowledge transfer so your IT team can manage the solution going forward.
The Rahi team has specific expertise in Nutanix, an industry-leading HCI platform that incorporates a purpose-built hypervisor for delivering application-centric virtualization. Nutanix also supports traditional hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, and can run on a variety of x86 servers and Nutanix and OEM appliances.
According to IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly converged Systems Tracker, HCI systems revenue grew more than 46 percent year over year during 1Q19. A new report from Research and Markets forecasts that the global hyper-converged infrastructure market will see a compound annual growth rate of nearly 33 percent through 2023. HCI continues to see increasing adoption due to its ability to address today’s business and IT requirements.