What is a Hyperconverged System?
Before you can understand fully what a hyperconverged system is, you must understand its underlying component, the converged system.
An architecture with a converged system has the ability to combine storage, networking and computer hardware resources. All of this comes in a singular unit that can be controlled through a layer of software with the ability to pool hardware resources. You can also administer the physical infrastructure and use commodity hardware as well.
When you talk about a hyperconverged infrastructure, you’re speaking of a variation of the aforementioned converged infrastructure. The differences between the two are actually quite subtle. However, the number one difference is the way that either system handles its storage. The storage, networking and server components of a converged infrastructure are independent pieces that build towards a single process or solution. This is not necessarily the case in a hyperconverged architecture.
The Problem that Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solves
The hyperconverged architecture was created to solve one problem primarily – the natural mismatch that occurs between data storage and virtual machines. In order to improve upon the converged architecture infrastructure, IT must address this problem with storage management. Hyperconvergence refers to software that can load on x86 servers that are now the industry standard.
Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are all about turning those industry standard servers into a clustered pool of resources to for compute and storage. The servers can easily scale because the central components are connected to each other in a way that even converged systems can’t match.
The Process of Hyperconvergence
Hyperconvergence has its origins in software defined storage. This kind of storage lets the end user provision and manage his own assets outside of the hardware that is being used. Hyper convergence defines itself at the software storage layer, not at the hardware layer.
Many users without the ability or the resources to handle hardware defined systems began looking to new ways to integrate appliances with convergent infrastructures. The niche grew over time, and is now a viable alternative to the formerly standard SAN based storage infrastructure with separate servers providing the power behind the system.
IT teams also needed a more closely knit structure to drive integration with enterprises needing social, cloud and mobile applications. Hyperconvergent software is designed specifically for these environments becoming more virtual and less hardware defined. They can also be more cost-effective and less complex when compared to traditional storage, including NAS and SAN standards.
When to Use Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Hyperconverged infrastructure has evolved into an infrastructure that can grow across many different types of virtualized workloads. The hyperconvergent architecture can easily handle applications that are mission and business-critical as well as a full range of up-and-coming applications, including data analytics.
As a matter of fact, hyperconverged technology has matured to a point where it is perfectly safe to handle just about any enterprise workload. Tech experts in all industries are in agreement around this opinion, including experts in architectural, medical and industrial applications. Hyperconverged infrastructure is especially helpful in companies that need to spin up dev environments and then possibly get rid of them. An example of this may be a pharmaceutical or software development company.
The Advantages of Hyperconvergence
So what exactly are the top benefits of Hyperconverged Infrastructure? Here are just a few of the reasons that a business of any scale would benefit from upgrading into a hyper environment:
- A lower cost of ownership – Vendors have demonstrated that hyperconverged infrastructure produces a lower total cost because you can eliminate unnecessary virtual machines. Although there is a bit of confusion concerning vendor lock in, those worries are mostly unfounded.
- Greater operational agility – Common sense would say that an infrastructure that is more closely tied to itself would be less able to adapt to external circumstances. The opposite is actually true. Hyperconverged environments enables a system to move more quickly in response to stimuli because there are less bottlenecks in the process between command and action.
- Feature variation – Vendors in the hyperconverged space are some of the major producers of new, cost effective technologies. With greater innovation comes greater choice. Vendors often adhere to a standard of compatibility that allows the end user to mix and match between brands when picking individual components. The result is an ability to customize a system to the needs of an individual business.
The hyperconverged architecture is a boon for nearly any business that is looking to implement a longstanding strategic technology plan. Look to it for a variance of applications and to future proof your operations by ensuring compatibility with partner companies and greater agility when facing internal issues.