Hyperconvergence was established as a network of servers and hypervisors. Servers were designed to store and compute and hypervisors created virtual machines. However, Hyperconvergence 1.0 wasn’t enough.
Driven by a need to scale and add additional managed functionalities, hyperconvergence as a technology has evolved multi-fold in the recent few years.
You'll hear arguments on both sides. The truth is: The underlying layer of HCI is hardware but it is the software on top where real magic happens. Companies can actually interchange the hardware according to the desired workload.
In traditional infrastructure, companies buy new storage and then migrate all existing applications from old storage to new storage. This has to be repeated every 3 to 5 years. This process is known as forklift upgrade. It is a time consuming and a risky process and exposes the organizations to financial risks.
HCI completely eliminates forklift upgrades! When you have to retire and replace your nodes then you can simply add a new node to the cluster. It seamlessly integrates with the rest of the parts and tell the admin console that an old node is being taken out of service. The cluster control software then removes the node and disconnects its connection to the main cluster.
This model completely removes the need of manual migration. This way it ensures that there is no application or service downtime. The software layer does all the work!
Next gen HCI allows you to scale on-demand. In infrastructure, there is no such thing as perfect investment. Companies either overinvest or underinvest. Either they end up buying hardware mid-cycle or they buy hardware which they will never use. Next gen HCI eliminates this situation. If you need to scale up the capacity or computing prowess, you can just add more nodes. You buy what you need and when you need to grow, you can just add another node.
Over time, HCI evolved from just being a storage virtualization solution to include capabilities such as:
File and object storage for unstructured data
Native persistent storage for containers
Deeper application integration
Advanced networking and security
Let us see them one by one
IDC predicts that by 2025 there will be five times more data worldwide. A lot of it (around 80 percent) is unstructured data lying on legacy storage infrastructure.
HCI solves this data clutter problem by introducing cloud benefits related to data storage to your on-premise infrastructure. Now you can consolidate all files, blocks and object storage with a unified management plane. HCI modernizes your storage by allowing you to simply scale up or scale down storage based on your requirements.
Modern day containers run production enterprise applications and they need strong storage services which can provide availability, resiliency, disaster, recovery and capacity optimization. HCI delivers these services to containers across both Kubernetes and Docker environments.
The IT of an organization is a complex network of databases, ERP, Big data, unified communications, virtual desktops etc. This complex network sits on infrastructure and infrastructure itself has three diverse components-storage, networking and virtualization. Traditional infrastructure demands seamless integration between these components and with changing workloads, this integration also gets affected.
Infrastructure runs the gamut of applications supported by various workloads and this is the reason, HCI is becoming even more important. HCI simplifies this infrastructure framework by offering the three tiers of architectures as one easily scalable and efficient system.
Modern Hyperconverged infrastructure offers smart fabrics networking for both HCI node configuration and virtual machine (VM) level software defined abstractions.
Smart fabric handles the heavy lifting of software defined networking (SDN) based on telemetry and context it has learned from virtualization in the Hyperconverged Infrastructure.
Smart fabrics, integrated in the HCI infrastructure also comes with security capabilities, including complete encryption for data and management communications, role-based access control (RBAC) etc.