Both converged and hyper-converged infrastructures help IT organizations standardize on the choice of multi-vendor products, reducing the time, cost and risk of deploying, configuring and managing hardware and software components separately.
Converged infrastructure (CI) is largely systems integration, where an entire solution is built and sold as a single pre-validated and qualified unit.
CI systems take the responsibility of system integration and validation of infrastructure components off the hands of customers and assure lifecycle management. Customers can spin up virtual machines, containers and even bare metal servers without having to worry about selecting, integrating or upgrading the infrastructure. A custom management interface and a combination of professional services for setup and upgrades shortens the time to get the solution running.
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) uses software-defined technologies to provide compute, storage, and networking infrastructure services rather than using traditional purpose-built hardware components. HCI software defines the storage that is installed inside individual servers into a single, shared pool of storage and then runs workloads on those same servers. HCI is usually deployed on standard server components; providing a simplified scale-out architecture with intelligence and rich data services moved to the software layer. With a much narrower set of potential hardware and software combinations, HCI vendors more thoroughly test their hardware and software stack, providing easier software and hardware upgrades.
Organizations are transforming from traditional do-it-yourself infrastructure to adopting CI and HCI solutions to help them meet their business IT challenges. With CI and HCI infrastructures, multiple pre-engineered and pre-integrated components operate under a single controlled architecture with a single point-of-management and a single source for end-to-end support. HCI provides a localized single resource pool that enables a higher overall resource utilization than can be achieved with legacy infrastructure. Overall total cost of ownership (TCO) is lower with operational savings from simplified management. In the data center, HCI typically has a smaller footprint with less cabling and can be deployed much faster and at lower total cost than traditional infrastructure.
Industry infrastructure deployment is transforming as customers begin to shift from a “build” to a “consume” approach. This deployment shift is being driven by the need for IT to focus limited economic and human capital resources on driving business innovation, which results in fewer resources available to focus on infrastructure. While a “build-your-own” deployment strategy can achieve a productive IT infrastructure, this strategy can be difficult and lengthy to implement, vulnerable to higher operating costs and susceptible to greater risk related to component integration, configuration, qualification, compliance and management. A “consume” deployment strategy for HCI provides the benefits of previously integrated, configured, qualified and compliant components. Purchasing an HCI system provides a single optimized IT solution that is quick and easy to deploy. A “consume” deployment strategy for HCI provides a simple and effective alternative to “build-your-own” and it has been widely adopted.