Hyper-Converged Infrastructure



Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure that virtualizes all of the elements of conventional “hardware-defined” systems. HCI includes, at a minimum, virtualized computing (a hypervisor), software-defined storage, and virtualized networking (software-defined networking). HCI typically runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers.

The primary difference between converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure is that in HCI both the storage area network and the underlying storage abstractions are implemented virtually in software (at or via the hypervisor) rather than physically in hardware. Because all of the software-defined elements are implemented in the context of the hypervisor, management of all resources can be federated (shared) across all instances of a hyper-converged infrastructure.

Hyperconvergence evolves away from discrete, hardware-defined systems that are connected and packaged together toward a purely software-defined environment where all functional elements run on commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, with the convergence of elements enabled by a hypervisor. HCI infrastructures are usually made up of server systems equipped with Direct-Attached Storage (DAS). HCI includes the ability to plug and play into a data-centre pool of like systems. All physical data-centre resources reside on a single administrative platform for both hardware and software layers. Consolidation of all functional elements at the hypervisor level, together with federated management, eliminates traditional data-centre inefficiencies and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for data centres.

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Converged, Scale-Out Virtualisation & Storage

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