Even a small company today has a rather complex and large-scale infrastructure, so the competent redistribution of resources for their better use is becoming more and more relevant. In the computer sphere, optimization in the field of resource allocation began a long time ago, and by the end of the 20th century, the focus shifted to hyperconvergence and disaggregation. These techniques allow you to create resource pools, but do it in different ways. Deregulation involves all actions at the physical level, while hyperconvergence is best suited to transform physical resources into virtual ones.
Today we will talk about what a hyperconverged infrastructure is, on what principle it is built, and for which companies such a system is the most relevant.
More About Technology
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, or HCI, is a system that combines virtualization, computing, storage, and network access in a single cluster. This allows users to set up multiple nodes, to begin with, and then scale the system to meet their needs. That is, the task of such technology is to ensure ease of use of the IT infrastructure and make the platform easily manageable.
In fact, in hyperconverged platforms, all services, networks, and capacities are arranged into a single space using software tools. Special software is responsible for the correct operation of the system. It is it that turns a huge complex of different systems into a single platform that can be managed using a single console. When adding new modules, the system scales up, which does not require additional settings and programs.
The hyperconvergence technique is used to create software-centric infrastructures, that is, the necessary hardware components and programs are already integrated into such systems. Unlike Converged Infrastructure (CI), which aims to integrate multiple components into a single, optimized solution, HCI is software-defined and uses a simplified scale-out architecture. In essence, a converged infrastructure consists of exactly the same components as a hyperconverged infrastructure. However, in the first case, the elements are discrete, and therefore not always convenient to manage.
When creating a CI, the design is formed from the use of a specific set of services that are interconnected. At the same time, elements are often produced by different manufacturers, and the role of the leader is left to the control element. HCI class systems are supplied by one vendor, that is, such an infrastructure is initially created as a single component, consisting of a number of modules and services.
Hyperconvergence has become a full-fledged alternative for dedicated storage systems. This technology allows you to completely abandon the storage layer as such, which greatly simplifies the work with data and serves as a solution to various business problems.
As a rule, hyperconverged systems include several physical nodes (modules) that are combined into a horizontally scalable cluster. Each node contains various network components, resources, processing power, and a hypervisor. However, the presence of the last element is not required. Such clusters can contain from 4 to 64 nodes, although most manufacturers today do not specify specific limits for system scalability.
Principles of Hyperconverged Infrastructure
This is the distribution of computing, storage, and network resources to create a single resource pool. At the same time, the system uses the same resources for computing and storage purposes.
A cluster is an aggregation of one or more compute nodes, storage nodes, and network nodes.
The principle of centralization means that the system performs all computing, storage, and networking functions on one site.
The automation of processes, such as the launch and maintenance of virtual machines, enables the system to work without human intervention.
Duplicating data is necessary in situations when the workload is too large for one server or one computer. In this case, one data source is duplicated to create copies, and then the copies are distributed.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Technology
Every new concept has both pros and cons. The advantages include:
- System fault tolerance. Due to the fact that the solution is built in such a way that its individual parts work as a whole, all components are repeatedly tested. It turns out to be almost a full-fledged data center in miniature. Under such conditions, the probability of failure is much lower than that of less integrated systems.
- Accelerated installation. Whereas traditional systems can take quite a bit of time to set up, hyperconverged infrastructure can be deployed much faster. After all, this is essentially one device, albeit one that performs the widest range of tasks.
- Simplify scaling. A hyperconverged system does not scale vertically, but horizontally and expands by purchasing additional nodes. The nodes may vary in composition to some extent, but the variability is small and the user will know in advance what exactly he needs and what budget will be required for the upgrade.
The disadvantages of hyperconverged infrastructure include the impossibility of selective upgrade of individual parts of the system. That is if there is enough computing power, but no data storage space, you still have to purchase another node. Yes, manufacturers usually have nodes of different compositions (for example, sharpened to a greater extent for storage), but in any case, this introduces a certain inconvenience.
Now let's consider in which cases it is most optimal to use a hyperconverged solution:
- If necessary, deploy IT infrastructure as soon as possible.
- If necessary, achieve a certain standardization when there is a branch network of a geographically distributed business.
- Optimize mid-sized enterprise infrastructure by acquiring one complete, feature-rich solution instead of multiple complex and expensive components.
- Consolidation of computing resources with a reduced total cost of ownership and server rack space savings.
What Problems Does Hyperconvergence Solve?
We have already said that modern IT infrastructures, due to their scale, are often slow, inconvenient to manage, and difficult to scale with a sharp change in business requirements. A hyper-converged environment overcomes these drawbacks, as it perfectly matches ever-increasing requirements and workloads. This infrastructure has centralized management and resources, which greatly simplifies the execution of all operations, reduces the burden on employees, and at the same time increases productivity.
Also, such a system is an important step for infrastructure virtualization. In fact, HCI was originally developed for this task. Due to the technology, the transition to a hybrid cloud is simplified, so such a solution will become relevant for companies in the manufacturing and retail sectors.
Hyperconvergence reduces the number of managed systems. Since each node combines different resources, this leads to a decrease in the number of individual devices. As a result, the number of objects requiring maintenance is also reduced.
Hyperconverged infrastructure use cases
Some of the most common cases for hyperconverged infrastructure use are as follows:
This is the conversion of physical resources into virtual computing resources. This technique provides the highest efficiency, scalability, and flexibility of a company’s infrastructure.
New data center deployment
When a company needs a new data center, it is necessary to choose a technology that will be used in it. Hyperconverged infrastructure has the most optimal conditions for a new data center. -
Data center transformation
You can use hyperconverged infrastructure to change the functionality of an existing data center. In this case, you can switch between traditional and hyperconverged infrastructure.
Disaster recovery and business continuity
When a company undergoes a disaster, which can be man-made or natural, hyperconverged infrastructure can significantly simplify the restoration of business function.
Examples of Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Nutanix is a hyperconverged infrastructure that provides an excellent balance between scalability and performance. Nutanix can manage and process data at the same time because data are replicated across all nodes. Nutanix can be deployed in any data center with all problems solved: the ability to scale to thousands of nodes, the ability to be managed remotely, and the ability to have data stored in any place. -
OmniStack is an open, hyperconverged infrastructure that fully integrates compute, storage, and networking functions. OmniStack provides a full stack of virtualized services, automates all processes, and ensures continuous availability.
VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure
VMware is an integrated, hyperconverged infrastructure, which has all the necessary tools and services built into one system. This technology is suitable for large companies that need to manage a large number of virtual machines.
Over the past 2-3 years, hyperconverged solutions have become perhaps the most fashionable trend in IT, so it is not surprising that the growth of this market segment is so fast. Experts predict that growth rates could reach 70% this year.
In part, this popularity of the solution can be explained by the fact that not all organizations are ready to transfer their own infrastructure to the public cloud, so they are constantly looking for alternative solutions. From this point of view, hyperconverged platforms can be called quite reliable and at the same time more productive than standard IT infrastructures.