Hyper Convergence Infrastructure
The Software-Defined Storage (SDS) stack eliminates need for the proprietary storage hardware, significantly reducing costs since dedicated storage hardware is no longer needed. The storage is controlled at the OS or Hypervisor layer with the help of virtual storage controllers. These virtual controllers run on every node within the cluster ensuring unified storage management, better resiliency, and failover capabilities.
Software-Defined Networking (SDN) makes network management agile and flexible by providing a centralized interface allowing administrators to manage traffic and quickly distribute network resources where they are needed.
Hyperconverged infrastructure unifies the datacenter stack elements, namely, storage, networking, compute, and associated software, like hypervisor, into an abstracted layer of available IT resources.
HCI converges datacenter server hardware with direct-attached storage media (HDDs, SSDs, NVMe) by using virtualization. The virtualized resources become a single pool which can then be distributed as needed thanks to the relevant software.
This way, HCI resolves the common issues of typical converged infrastructure: you can build HCI from any commodity hardware, you can scale freely, you can have high performance and disaster resistance with what you already got, and every bit of your underlying hardware potential is put to good use, without any leaks, overhead, hiccups, and bottlenecks.
|Hardware HCI||Software HCI|
|Form||Hardware platform (appliance)||Software solution|
|Intention||Storage-to-CPU ratio optimization based on business and IT infrastructure needs (balanced, performance-focused, capacity-focused, etc.)||Hardware resources virtualization for further distribution, capitalization, and optimal use (performance, resiliency, backup, etc.)|
|Utilization||Deployed as is, ready-to-work data center in a compact form||Software deployment, virtualizes storage, server, or networking|
|General Benefit||Great for high-intensity workload IT environments and when high hardware modularity and scalability are of the essence||Allows to gain HCI benefits and perks on available commodity hardware without buying a new appliance|
|General Concern||Appliances tend to be proprietary to the HCI vendor, scalability can boil down to adding an entire new HCI node instead of granular scaling, vendor lock-in possible||Existing hardware won’t be as intentionally picked and tightly integrated as in hardware HCI, may need other software for monitoring and management|
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