Hyperconverged Infrastructure Makes IT Easier

New role assigned and increasing demands placed have pressured IT departments to look for better ways to deploy IT in the data center. Hyperconvergence infrastructure is not only a method but also one of the fastest – growing ones today.

Gartner expects hyperconverged market to reach $5 billion in 2019 and to become the leading category by revenue in pre-integrated full-stack infrastructure products followed by reference architectures, integrated infrastructure, and integrated stacks. With all of these promises, it is hard to believe that two years ago, hardly did people know what hyperconverged infrastructure was nor what benefits it could bring to data management centers.

Gartner analysts Andrew Butler and George Weiss had a session at Gartner data center management summit in Las Vegas in which they explained the concept of hyperconverged infrastructure, the driving forces behind its growing popularity and the benefits it can bring to data management centers. Some of the most pervasive myths about this two – year old term were also addressed in this separate post.

What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure?

Butler defines hyperconvergence as a centralized approach to “tidying up” data center infrastructure. It is the latest step in the pursuit of a flexible and simpler infrastructure over the past few years, which has evolved from the integrated systems and fabric infrastructure which usually involve storage area networks, servers, and a lot of money upfront.

Similar to its cousin converged infrastructure, hyperconvergence collapses compute, storage, and networking into a single unit. However, unlike convergence that places much emphasis on networking, hyperconverged infrastructure focus on data control and management.

hyper-converged

(Image from http://7serversolutions.com/)

Besides, hyperconverged adds more value by providing extra software-defined storage.

Since low-cost commodity x86 hardware is used to build hyperconverged systems, some vendors, especially the early comers partner with Supermicro, Quanta, or Dell to deliver the software with these contract manufacturers’ hardware bit. More recently, we see emerging vendors that sell software-only hyperconverged plays or those who provide hybrid solution in which both software and hardware (if necessary) is provided.

Today hyperconvergence comes in many forms such as an appliance, a reference architecture, or as software that is compatible to the platform it runs on. When it is as software, sometimes people might mistake hyperconverged solution for a software defined storage, Butler said.

Why is Hyperconvergence So Hot?

To answer this question thoroughly, it’s necessary to keep in mind other trends that are taking place. Increasing business needs force IT departments to provision resources instantly; data volume growth is unpredictable; scale-out systems built using commodity components require more and more applications; software-defined storage promises great efficiency gains and so on.

More and more enterprises want to create software products and services more often and deploy them with agile methodologies to grow revenue. This requires IT to respond more quickly than they used to as well as be highly flexible and ready for new applications.

How Companies Use it

Hyperconverged infrastructure is rarely utilized for aforementioned purposes but primarily used to deploy general-purpose workloads, virtual desktop infrastructure, analytics, remote or brand office workloads.

Likewise, some companies use it to run mission critical applications, server virtualization or to boost storage performance. In fewer instances, this architecture is used to form private or hybrid cloud or those agile environments in which rapid software-release cycles are supported.
Along with market evolution and increasing customer familiarity with the architecture, Gartner expects how companies use hyperconverged infrastructure will change.

In A Nutshell

It’s important to keep in mind that hyperconvergence is not the ultimate solution to the IT department’s problems but one of the approaches. Vendors still have to prove their solutions against SAN and blade solutions.

Simplicity and flexibility is what hyperconverged infrastructure promises but these words have relative meanings. Hence Gartner’s advice is to define those words yourself then which vendor’s message resonates the most with that.

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Hao Nguyen

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