A few years ago, cloud storage was the new trend for organizations. Organizations started migrating their data and workloads to the cloud for various reasons.
Companies have understood that the cloud does not solve their needs, from data security to complex operations, increased costs, to fragmented infrastructure. But instead of returning to traditional data centers, they choose something in between — the hyper-converged solution.
For all that the cloud doesn’t offer, Hyper-converged solutions prove to be the solution. But what is HCI? What are its advantages and use cases? Well, we will discuss that in this comprehensive guide on Hyper-converged infrastructures.
What Is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)?
An all-in-one system, HCI Hyper-converged infrastructure is a software-defined solution that integrates computing, storage, and networking resources. Incorporating all aspects into a single system increases scalability and flexibility. Thus, simplifying management and reducing operational costs.
Put simply, think of HCI as multiple physical servers — each with its memory, storage, networking resources, and CPU — but all are aggregated into a single cluster.
Since HCI eliminates the need for having separate management and hardware components, aspects like provisioning, scaling data, and security is enhanced. Additionally, since everything is clustered, it is easier for organizations to deploy and manage the Hyper-converged solutions. Furthermore, organizations can integrate HCI solutions into cloud or multi-cloud environments while ensuring seamless data mobility and workload portability.
Benefits of Using Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
From performance, scalability, and flexibility to manageability, the HCI system has many benefits for the IT infrastructure. Here are some of the benefits of deploying HCI solutions:
1. Simplified Management.
With the HCI system, all the software and hardware components are integrated into a single cluster. This allows organizations to deploy and configure the systems quickly. By eliminating the management process of traditional infrastructure, where IT teams had to work on every aspect separately, HCI systems reduce the risk of errors and allow for faster troubleshooting.
2. Organizations can Scale Up or Scale down Storage by Adding/removing nodes.
Organizations with HCI infrastructure can quickly scale up or down by removing or adding nodes. What’s exceptional is that whenever organizations have to add or remove nodes, they can do that without downtime or configuration. This ensures that all the business processes can continue even during scaling up or scaling down the storage resources. This is particularly suitable for organizations that see seasonal spikes in traffic and user demands.
3. HCI Has Proved to Improved Organizational Performance and productivity.
Most HCI vendors leverage modern storage technologies like SSDs and non-volatile memory express, ensuring that storage performance is always the best and enabling organizations to utilize their resources to their full extent. Whether application response time or load balancing — the overall performance increases by adopting hyper-converged solutions.
4. Results in Increased Resiliency.
Almost all HCI vendors have built-in data protection and recovery systems, allowing data replication and backup. So, unlike traditional infrastructure, businesses can always retain their data even when software or hardware fails. Additionally, even when such an event occurs, organizations can recover the data quickly. And return the operations to normal conditions. Furthermore, businesses do not have to spend additional data resources to create silos.
5. HCI Offers Flexibility.
Cloud storage solutions seemed the next normal. However, soon businesses found that it is not suitable for all workloads. For instance, it became difficult for organizations with cloud solutions to integrate with their systems. But that’s not a concern with Hyper-converged systems; it allows organizations to integrate with cloud and multi-cloud environments, as well as it supports all workloads — like virtual desktops, databases, and so on.
6. Operational costs Are low.
Hyper-converged infrastructure is a unified system. This means there isn’t a need for big IT teams. Additionally, the unified software allows IT teams to manage the system effectively from one control panel — thus, the total cost of ownership comes down significantly. But there are also long-term benefits of deploying HCI solutions. For instance, Hyper-converged infrastructures are designed to reduce power and consolidate the entire infrastructure into fewer devices — thus, reducing the total cost over time.
7. Procurement is simple.
Since all the components are unified in HCI solutions, it is simple for organizations to deploy the tool. They do not have to look for different components — and integrate them in-house.
Top Use Cases: How Hyper-Converged Infrastructure is Used in the Real World?
Now that you know the benefits of HCI solutions, it is also essential to learn HCI solutions are adopted and used in the real world. Here are the top use cases of HCI solutions:
1. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure requires computing, memory, and networking resources all in one place for better performance. And that is why organizations that deploy VDIs use hyper-converged infrastructure.
2. Private Cloud.
Many companies looking for private cloud alternatives opt for HCI solutions, given it gives the same flexibility and is a scalable and flexible solution for hosting applications and services.
3. Remote Offices.
Once again, the Hyper-converged solutions offer scalability a flexibility. Importantly, they are unified and can host a variety of applications and services. All these make Hyper-converged solutions a suitable system for meeting the requirement of the Remote office or Branch Office (ROBO). The primary reason Remote Office/Branch Office use Hyper-converged infrastructure is their ability to be deployed and managed remotely.
4. Disaster Recovery.
Another primary reason many organizations are opting for hyper-converged infrastructure is they are resilient and come up with cutting-edge data security measures. For instance, they create data backup and also duplicate data. So, if there is ever a disruption, organizations can reassess the data quickly while halting the organizational processes.
Integrating the storage, computing, and networking resources — Hyper-converged infrastructure reduces operational costs and avoids complex processes. Not to mention, it becomes simple for IT teams to manage the HCI solutions as they can manage it from a single location. As indicated, they are also several benefits of HCI solutions. From simplified management to improved performance, scalability as per need to flexibility as per workload — the operational benefits of using HCI solutions are just too many.
All in all, if your organization is looking to transform its data centers — and looking for agility, hyper-converged solutions are the way to go!