What is a hyper-converged IT infrastructure? What are the benefits?

What is a hyper-converged IT infrastructure? What are the benefits?

In my previous series of blog posts on the software-defined data center, we learned how virtualizing key services within the data center can have important implications for the way today's IT teams operate. However, while the SDDC certainly has its benefits, it's not necessarily the last word when it comes to getting better results from your IT infrastructure. In fact, there is a hot new technology that could be considered the logical next step after one has already implemented a SDDC. That technology is the hyper-converged IT infrastructure, and it's what we'll be covering in this blog post today.

In this post - the first in a three-part series - we'll take a look at what a hyper-converged IT infrastructure is, and how it can deliver better data center results for organizations like yours. First, let's start with a brief overview of the technology.

What is hyper-convergence?

Like the software defined data center, hyper-convergence depends on the ability to invest control of a particular infrastructure at the software level, rather than the hardware level. However, hyper-convergence goes a step further, by condensing a full array of data center services, including virtualization, networking, storage and compute, into a single easy-to-manage virtualized appliance. This appliance can be deployed on a single piece of commodity hardware that is implemented and supported by a single vendor.

If you're not familiar with hyper-converged infrastructures, you're certainly not the only one. Research included in the 2015 State of Hyperconverged Infrastructure Market Report, published by the website hyperconverged.org, found that only about a quarter of all IT teams are currently enjoying the benefits a hyper-converged infrastructure can offer. However, the same report also showed that over half of those that haven't already implemented a hyper-converged infrastructure are planning to do so within the next two to three years. Clearly, now is the time to start learning about hyper-converged infrastructures if you want to avoid being left behind.

What are the benefits of hyper-convergence?

The hyper-converged infrastructure is one of those rare IT solutions that promises benefits across the board, and for the most part, delivers on all the benefits it promises. In an era when IT leaders are worried about a variety of different issues, including increased complexity, rising costs, new threats to data, and the organizational mandate to do more with less, the hyper-converged infrastructure truly has something for everyone. Let's take a look at just five of the key benefits it has to offer:

Increased speed of deployment

By removing silos that have traditionally separated different data center technologies from one another, the hyper-converged infrastructure makes it easier to change or add to an IT environment. Updates can be made quickly and easily at the software level, meaning there's no need to worry about a time-consuming hardware update, which are the norm when changes are needed in traditional infrastructures.

Decreased costs

Just as cutting through silos allows the hyper-converged infrastructure to deploy new changes quickly, it also allows an IT administrator to minimize the amount the organization pays in capital expenses for infrastructure. Since the entire infrastructure can be converged in a single commodity box, there's no need to implement new hardware, even when the needs of the business change.

Dynamic scalability

Planning for workload needs is one of the biggest challenges an IT administrator faces in today's rapidly changing business world. Add too much capacity, and you're certain to overpay; add too little, and you may leave your organization unprepared. The dynamic scalability offered by the hyper-converged infrastructure solves this problem once and for all, by enabling users to easily scale an infrastructure as needed.

Reduced complexity

Putting everything in one place makes an IT infrastructure much easier to manage and track. In addition, it enables a variety of automation techniques that would not be possible otherwise. These can lead to greater productivity and efficiency throughout the infrastructure.

Final thoughts

I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at the hyper-converged infrastructure and its many benefits. However, the learning doesn't have to stop here. Check back soon for the next posts in this series, where I'll be delving into the topic in much more detail. I want to give you all of the information so you can succeed with your move to a hyper-converged infrastructure. If you're already running a hyper-converged environment or about to deploy one, please reach out and share your experiences with me. As this is still a very new technology, there is a lot we can all learn from one another.



James Cunningham serves as the Chief Technology Officer at Cima Solutions Group. His experience in Healthcare operations and infrastructure support has enabled him to effectively move workloads into various cloud computing models. With 19 years in the IT field he carries several industry standard certifications, specializing in x86 and virtualization. Prior to Cima, James spent 15 years in Healthcare IT. He was Manager of Infrastructure at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He has also spent over 10 years at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, in Systems Engineering and EMR System Support.

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