The trend to unify and simplify processes has been common in IT. However, the new pandemic economy requires accelerating this digital transformation and making the most of the resources available to enterprises, both personal and IT-related.
Hyperconverged computing (HCI) offers computing systems a number of advantages that improve business efficiency, especially useful for SMEs.
Cisco Systems, Huawei or Dell EMC, are already positioning themselves as some of the main suppliers of hyperconverged systems for a market that is expected to reach $27.1 billion by 2025.
- What is Hyperconvergence?
- Benefits of a Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
- Implementing hyperconvergence
- Choosing the right supplier
- The future of hyperconverged infrastructure
What is Hyperconvergence?
Hyperconvergence is a technology platform that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system. It reduces the complexity of the data centre, making it easier to manage and allowing the number of elements to be increased quickly and easily.
Traditional structures have clearly limited components that can be separated from each other, making these systems more rigid.
The systems that make up a converged infrastructure differ in the fact that they are designed to have a flexible structure that allows modules to be added to increase their capacity, provide a greater speed of operation, superior abstraction and higher levels of automation.
HCIs unify some (or all) of the basic components of the IT stack (compute, storage and networking) with the software part (operating system, hypervisor, virtual network functions, etc.). This combination offers a simple and comprehensive solution ready to be used at any time.
This video explains the concept of HCI in just two minutes:
Benefits of a hyperconverged infrastructure
Some benefits of implementing HCI are:
It facilitates management
They provide a simpler and more user-friendly interface for users.
Companies lacking the resources to hire specific staff to optimise IT systems find the solution in hyper-converged systems, which come in pre-defined packages and, once purchased, simply can be installed and run on the system.
Hyperconvergence is a technology platform that combines storage, computing and networking in a single system.
Greater scalability and flexibility
The block structure makes it easy to scale. We only have to add a new server or node to the cluster according to our needs.
It offers simplicity and flexibility: both storage systems, servers and network switches are designed to be managed as one.
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Resource and cost-efficiency
Infrastructure costs are reduced, as are the space and initial investment of a new public or private cloud. The need for specialised staff also decreases, and so do the associated costs.
We can also economise on other resources, depending on the provider we choose, such as data centre space, avoidance of software licence fees, or support or disaster recovery tools.
HCI has advantages for any company but SMEs are the organisations most sensitive to the benefits of HCI.
These companies usually have branches spread over several geographical areas and their budget for IT resources is usually limited. Therefore, one of their main objectives is to optimise their resources as much as possible.
An HCI structure can involve everything from infrastructure servers, file servers, application servers, database servers and anything else the enterprise needs to operate. These environments can support a wide range of workloads that facilitate and centralise the operation of the enterprise.
Databases are what make the business system work: online shops and in-store point-of-sale systems, customer management tools or enterprise resource planning systems.
If the storage is poor, it will decrease performance and directly or indirectly impact the company’s revenue.
Through HCI it is easier to expand your storage which can also include more powerful database applications such as flash storage.
With easily scalable storage, HCI can ensure that there is sufficient capacity to enable data protection services.
They can also provide comprehensive disaster recovery services or enable a robust data protection ecosystem.
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There is a lot of information on file servers, some of which is highly relevant to the business, and IT must ensure that these resources are well backed-up and protected.
The scalability of HCI allows the enterprise to add new nodes without having to create separate file servers.
Testing and development
In an age where those with the best digital infrastructure win, having a good team of developers is key. Companies need equipment that is cost-effective and can scale development workloads.
HCI provides a programmable environment where they can directly embed development workflows alongside the company’s infrastructure, allowing them to accelerate their enhancement efforts.
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Choosing the right supplier
There is a wide range of suppliers on the market, which is why it is important to choose the right one for you. There are two important factors in making this choice:
1. Degree of hyper-convergence
There are different solutions from the most basic ones, which can consolidate the IT structure of about 4 levels into one, to the most complete ones that include 10 or even 50 levels in a single structure. We will need to know what our needs are in order to know what type of solution to implement.
2. Hardware and/or software device
What really constitutes a hyper-converged unit is the hardware + HCI software union.
There are companies that provide hyper-converged solutions but only develop their own software, which they then install on another vendor’s hardware. However, it is more interesting to find a supplier that develops its own hardware and software at the same time. This ensures that the whole system is optimised and will be more efficient. In addition, if a bug occurs, it is easier to have it fixed by one company instead of two different developers.
The future of hyper-converged infrastructure
Hyperconvergence is gaining popularity because companies are increasingly attracted to systems that make it easier to manage, optimise the deployment of new workloads and reduce infrastructure costs.
It is estimated that around 20% of business-critical applications have already been deployed this past year from the three-level IT structure to hyper-converged infrastructure. This trend is expected to continue to grow and gradually increase the levels in all companies in any sector.