Let’s say you’re not a tech geek so you have no clue what hyperconvergence infrastructure is and could care less about whether you use it. The best way to explain it to non-IT folks is to think about your workflow before smartphones. You had to carry a mobile, a flash drive, a scheduling book, and a camera. The smartphone integrates all this and more into a device that fits into your pocket. Well, that’s the notion behind hyperconvergence infrastructure — it makes much of your IT infrastructure more efficient by seamlessly combining software and hardware so they work and play nicely together. Now that you have a little background, let’s jump into how hyperconvergence can help improve your business operation.
Hyperconvergence infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure that combines computing, storage, and networking into a single platform designed for fast deployment and scale-out and uses a single point of management. Because it offers many advantages, it is increasingly the choice for many businesses. Tech developers and enthusiasts hailed it for its ease of use, simplicity, and lower cost compared to conventional IT infrastructure. A closer look at HCI shows that hyper-converged infrastructure offers additional benefits, including faster upgrades and easier maintenance. Conventional converged infrastructure, on the other hand, is costly to maintain and slow.
It can hardly put up with emerging technologies like edge computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G. Hyperconvergence does more than boost speeds; it aligns tech infrastructure with wider business needs like cost effectiveness, return on investment, and agility. In this article, we take an in-depth look at hyperconvergence technology.
But first, what is hyperconvergence infrastructure?
Hyperconvergence infrastructure refers to an information technology framework that brings computing, storage, and networking functions to one platform. By doing so, hyperconvergence makes data center management less complex and more scalable. A typical hyper-converged platform features software-defined storage, a virtualized network, and a hypervisor to support virtualized computing.
How hyper-convergence works
To understand how hyperconvergence works, you need to understand the design of conventional data centers first. A switch is used to route traffic to multiple servers that host virtual computers on hypervisors in a standard data center. For the servers to store or retrieve data, they must access the storage area network (SAN) via a storage controller.
Hyperconvergence eliminates the need for SAN and fuses the server, hypervisor, and storage into one hyperconvergence appliance known as a node. This allows important data center functions to run on a single integrated software as opposed to running on purpose-built hardware.
Platforms that are built use virtualization software to pool computing resources like storage and networks and allocate them to applications that serve as containers or virtual machines. Hyperconvergence also makes it easy to scale the solution as only additional nodes have to be placed to expand the platform.
Hyperconvergence offers a range of benefits in IT environments and by extension, companies that utilize it. Below are the main benefits:
Hyperconvergence injects affordability into IT departments, making the running of data centers more cost-effective. Hyperconvergence allows multiple functions to run on a single appliance by fusing the server, storage, and hypervisor on one platform. This eliminates the need for companies to invest in or support multiple computers, switches, or servers – which means more savings.
Since hyperconverged infrastructure utilizes nodes in their architecture, it becomes easier to scale data centers. Businesses can expand or reduce their IT infrastructure by adding or removing nodes to meet their resource needs.
Hyperconverged appliances place workloads in the same administrative structure. This allows businesses to shift their work from one location to another with ease.
Hyperconvergence leverages software to facilitate the sharing of storage resources. Storage nodes serve as redundant, highly reliable storage pools. If one node malfunctions, the other nodes are not affected. This builds resilience in the data center, which enhances uptime and connectivity.
Hyperconvergence empowers businesses with the ability to restore data easily in the event of loss. With cyber-attacks increasing significantly, companies of all sizes are at risk of experiencing data breaches or loss. Hyperconvergence embeds aspects of data backups in IT infrastructure using redundant nodes. All this supports data recovery efforts, ensuring the protection of data.
Key use cases of hyperconvergence
Hyperconvergence has multiple use cases in businesses and institutions. These include:
Hyperconverged infrastructure can be used in virtual desktops and virtual servers due to its ability to simplify administration and tighten integration. Companies can use hyperconvergence to virtualize hardware, participate where they need to run performance-critical apps or are faced with situations where installation of new hardware becomes impossible.
Supporting cloud environments
There are various things companies can do with hyperconvergence. These include:
Expanding public cloud – Hyperconvergence can be used to extend the public cloud. This can be done by selecting the as-a-service option on the largest hyperconvergence infrastructure cloud ecosystem. Doing so facilitates fast deployment speeds. It also reduces the time needed to manage the infrastructure.
Creating private cloud – Institutions that need to deploy an on-premises private cloud can use hyperconvergence to build one. Private clouds offer better security and more control.
Building a hybrid cloud – Hyperconvergence allows for the deployment of virtual machines and container-based applications in data center, edge, and public cloud environments.
Running remote offices
Hyperconvergence can support the effective management of remote offices. Companies don’t have to install multiple hardware to operate branches. Hyperconvergence is designed to support remote management, which makes it ideal for situations where IT staff are limited.
Supporting data recovery
Hyperconvergence infrastructure helps in data backup and recovery. Data backup is among the obvious use cases for hyperconvergence due to its node architecture. To support data backup, the only thing businesses have to do is add nodes to enhance data duplication and redundancy. Hyperconvergence offers businesses the adaptability they need to handle data recovery remotely, in the cloud, and locally.
Considerations for investing in a hyperconverged solution
If you plan to invest in a hyper-converged solution, here are important factors you’ll need to consider:
Multi-cloud environments are increasingly becoming prevalent. The solution you pick should be flexible enough to deploy applications in varying cloud environments and handle different hypervisors.
A good hyperconverged solution should be able to support a wide range of applications. Opt for a solution that has low latency and input/output operations per second fluctuations. These are important in supporting the execution of mission-critical programs quickly and with consistency.
The ideal hyperconvergence solution is one that meets your company’s current and future IT requirements. It should be able to adapt to changes, allowing your business to handle varying workloads.
Hyperconvergence has gained traction in the IT market and will continue to serve as a key IT infrastructure for companies of all sizes. It provides organizations with a cost-effective framework for managing IT infrastructure. When investing in a hyperconvergence solution, consider performance, scalability, and cloud integration.
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