Hyperconverted infrastructure is an approach to data center architecture that combines storage, computing, and networking resources into a single solution. It is particularly beneficial for software-defined data centers, which abstract applications and virtual machines from the underlying hardware.
Hyperconvergent systems typically run in virtual environments within a data center. Typically, the hyperconverted infrastructure uses x86 servers.
Read also: What is hyperconverted storage? Advantages and adoption
Hyperconvergence requires some configuration, and to scale the infrastructure, administrators must install more nodes. The hyperconvergent infrastructure is intended to be highly scalable.
Difference between HCI, CI and composability
The other two common approaches to data center architecture are converged infrastructure (which came first) and composable infrastructure. Convergent infrastructure it mainly consists of collecting storage, networking, and computing resources into a hardware solution. It is a convenient IT infrastructure for companies that want pre-configured or pre-installed systems.
Also read: Convergent Storage Vs. hyperconverted: differences and uses
The hyperconverted infrastructure has the same goal: to combine the three data center technologies into one solution, but it uses virtualization to achieve this.
Composable infrastructure differs from the two older data center technologies in that it disaggregates all three resources. Instead of being tied to hardware or a hypervisor, composable computer, network, and storage resources connect to the network frame instead of a server. Composer software moves resources to groups depending on the need of the moment.
Converged infrastructure helps data centers manage their IT resources in a system that changes infrequently. Composability helps data centers manage their rapidly changing application and workload needs. Hyperconverted infrastructure is a virtualization solution for companies that need to quickly scale their IT resources. Hyperconverted platforms work well in software-defined environments, which make a lot of use of virtualization.
Main suppliers and products of hyperconverted infrastructure
The following companies are the main players in virtual and hyperconvergent platforms. We have compiled nine of the best products for companies looking for HCI solutions.
Nutanix’s Acropolis (AOS) operating system is an exceptional solution for managing high-performance data centers and applications. AOS creates a virtual server that can scale when new resources are needed. Nutanix also has its own hypervisor, known as AHV. AHV is compatible with most Linux and Windows systems.
Nutanix node clusters are redundant, in case one fails. The three components (storage, computing, and networking) exist in a cluster. Nutanix offers assistance to Kubernetes. While users said it was expensive, they overwhelmingly stressed the performance of the solution for critical applications and the exceptional support of the Nutanix team.
Nutanix provides good training and customer support; users cited a learning platform that, while it could be complex, offered videos, including training for those who wanted to customize and configure AOS.
Dell EMC VxRail
For companies that heavily use VMware technology, Dell EMC VxRail offers multiple integrations with virtualization software. This includes VSan, another product on this list, which supports HCI environments. VxRail also offers VMware Tanzu, a Kubernetes solution that includes three different options, depending on the needs of cloud companies, traditional application development, hybrid cloud, PaaS or native Kubernetes pods.
VxRail performs thorough system testing, validating clusters, and testing hardware. Users can quickly deploy virtual machines and environments.
VxRail can also run SAP HANA, a relational database management system. Companies with intensive storage needs such as artificial intelligence, video and multimedia streaming will benefit from Dell EMC storage products, including VxRail. Dell has also recently added disaggregation to VxRail, allowing users to separate storage and calculate resources.
NetApp’s hyperconverged solution offers hybrid cloud-shaped data management for a wide variety of clouds and workloads. Users can deploy the HCI solution in various clouds and on-premises infrastructures.
NetApp HCI is intended to create a type of data fabric for a business: it allows companies to access from multiple locations and also integrates with other NetApp technologies, such as Cloud Backup. NetApp expands and enhances the traditional HCI method by adding flexibility: users can have both their public cloud and their local management.
NetMust HCI clusters are managed by VMware VCenter and NetApp uses VMware as a virtualization platform. Users can scale their storage and calculate resources separately, a useful feature to save money that decreases over-provisioning and reduces unnecessary storage costs.
One of the most popular HCI solutions, Cisco’s HyperFlex hyperconverted platform offers users the option to use only NVMe on their HX220c M5 All NVMe. A snippet, however, is the best choice for critical business applications and workloads, due to its speed and low latency. The All NVMe solution uses Intel Optane hardware for its persistent memory.
Users find HyperFlex easy to set up and start using. They have the option of creating multiple data warehouses for their important data, rather than restricting them to a set. HyperFlex can be deployed on peripheral sites, managed by Cisco Intersight, a cloud-based infrastructure, and a workload platform. Users also have access to Kubernetes via Intersight.
Microsoft Azure Stack HCI
Azure Stack HCI is a cloud-based on-premises recovery and monitoring solution. Azure Stack HCI runs Windows and Linux virtual machines in a data center or perimeter environment. Microsoft calls its hybrid-cloud-style service simply “azure hybrid.” The HCI solution also integrates with other Azure programs, such as virtual machines, and all of these Azure programs can be managed alongside the stack. This includes Azure Backup, which is available to HCI users.
Azure Stack clusters contain between 2 and 16 servers, which run an operating system designed specifically for an HCI. Azure Stack also supports Hyper-V. Virtual machines on Kubernetes nodes are designed to fail: Kubernetes will move any container from a failed environment to a working virtual machine.
StarWind Hyper Converged (HCA) application
With its simple hyperconvergent, flash system and relatively low prices, StarWind is the ideal HCI for smaller businesses that still need exceptional performance and support. A hyperconverted device, or HCA, consists of two servers. Clusters also consist of two nodes for failover: if one node fails, the other can take over.
StarWind Command Center, a management console that allows users to control their HCA performance, has an HTML5 web interface. StarWind uses Intel Optane technology for persistent memory and Dell EMC servers. According to the vendor, StarWind reduces TCO and IT management costs, and also offers free setup and deployment; this is a big problem for smaller companies. It is one of the least expensive HCI solutions, according to users who benefited from both the features and the lower cost. Users also reported that they received good support from the StarWind team.
HPE’s fully flash array, acquired in 2017 when HPE bought storage company Nimble, uses what HPE calls dHCI or disaggregated hyperconvergent infrastructure. DHCI, a poorly convergent or hyperconvergent infrastructure, allows users to scale what aspect (storage, computing, or networking) they want when they want it.
Customers also take advantage of the HPE InfoSight smart predictive platform, which notifies customers when problems arise, applications shrink, or when the array needs to scale to compensate for growth. HPE InfoSight connects directly to the dHCI battery.
Nimble provides disaster recovery replica snapshots, including Hyper-V virtual machines. Replica snapshots can be extended to storage arrays in other physical locations.
Pivot3 offers four HCI products in its Data Center series, two of them hybrid and two flash. Pivot3 hyperconverted environments have 8 to 16 nodes, depending on which of the four solutions you choose. The node clusters in each application have PCIe cards.
Among other technologies, including SSDs and HDDs, Pivot3 uses the NVMe flash. Pivot3 prioritizes storage for business-critical applications, using QoS policies to distribute workloads where they work best. Pivot3 storage and computing can be scaled independently, allowing users to save money on capacity for any resource.
Acuity uses a graphical HTML5 user interface. It can be integrated with VMWare Vsphere.
VMware vSAN is a software-defined storage platform that supports HCI environments. Aggregate data storage devices form a virtual storage pool. vSAN integrates with Vsphere, providing cloud virtualization for servers. The main advantage of using this HCI is its direct integration with other VMware products.
Users can learn how to manage and configure their own vSAN cluster. VMware provides a file sharing service within the network file system. vSAN can be deployed to the best public cloud solutions and integrates with Tanzu, VMware’s container and virtual machine management solution. vSAN can also be used for disaster recovery.
How to Buy an HCI Solution
When buying a hyperconverted solution, consider the following points.
The best HCI solutions should provide maximum visibility: what workloads do not have the resources they need, when nodes or clusters fail, the performance of virtual machines. A solution that includes integrated analytics or even AI will be prepared to provide necessary information, especially in a technology environment where data centers are expected to automatically have intelligent systems and machines.
Some solutions allow for independent storage and computational scaling, but not all do. If you want to save money, choose an HCI solution that allows users to scale their storage and calculate needs separately. Additional storage costs money and paying a lot more than you use can cost quite a bit.
If you know you’ll need critical applications to move between servers or environments, look for supported solutions containers. Multiple HCI solutions are integrated with Kubernetes, for example. Containers are an important part of future data centers: they help companies prioritize workloads and reduce slowdowns and disruptions.