Hyper-convergence is one of those buzzwords you hear a lot about these days. It was identified by many industry observers as a key trend for 2015 and has been talked about in just about every storage and network-related conference thus far this year. Technology Business Research (TBR) even predicts that as part of the converged infrastructure market—projected to be a $17.8 billion vendor opportunity—hyper-converged systems will displace the piecemeal infrastructure that’s typically found in today’s data centers. But do you really know what hyper-convergence is and what it can mean for you and your data center in the years ahead?
Simply put, hyper-convergence means that virtual machines are running on the same physical servers that, say, the software-defined storage solution is running on. So, for example, if you had a cluster of Hyper-V servers connected by network to another cluster of file share servers, that would not be hyper-converged. What would be hyper-converged is if you had the virtual machines and storage solution in the same physical server cluster.
There are a number of benefits that come with using this type of architecture. For one, it streamlines infrastructure deployment, making it quicker and easier. It also allows elastic network scalability and helps simplify both IT operations and the role of the administrator. Additionally, hyper-convergence increases network efficiency by fully utilizing the compute and storage in each node. Moreover, the ability to use commodity hardware drives down cost.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any challenges that come from use of a hyper-converged infrastructure. On the contrary, as with any new technology or approach, there is often a steep learning curve and decisions that need to made which, if made incorrectly, can lead you down a path you did not expect. Regardless, it’s apparent that hyper-convergence is here to stay.
New applications and workload profiles, coupled with the economics around computing, continue to place increasing demands on the data center storage system. It also makes for a much more complex network environment. Today’s IT professionals want an easy way to deploy solutions and they want it to be both predictable and easy to manage. The hyper-convergence infrastructure offers a compelling solution to meet these needs, and not just for the data center, but for the enterprise and cloud providers as well.
If you are interested in learning more about hyper-convergence and the challenges that come with virtualization, a good resource to check out is hyperconverged.org, a website offering a range of free resources to help CIOs, CTOs, admins, and architects gain a clearer understanding of hyperconvergence. There’s even a Decision-Makers Guide to Hyper-converged Infrastructure and a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure for Dummies eBook. There’s also a number of converged/hyper-converged sessions from Microsoft Ignite archived at Channel 9, including: VDI for All: How Dell Infrastructure Appliances Simplify Desktop Virtualization for All Organization and Nutanix: Get Fit! Cut the Fat with Nutanix Hyper-Converged Infrastructure. Microsoft’s Storage Spaces Direct technology was also discussed at Ignite and helps enable hyper-converged scenarios. You can access this content on demand at www.ignite.microsoft.com.
This blog about storage and networking is sponsored by Microsoft.
Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.