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What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure?

Josh Moore
02/10/2021
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The popularity of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) just keeps growing. Analysts predict the global HCI market will expand from $7.8 billion in 2020 to $27.1 billion by 2025. Is this a bandwagon your business should jump on? Let’s explore what HCI is and how it can benefit your business by answering 4 key questions.

What is HCI?

Before HCI came on the scene, the standard set-up in most data centers was 3-tier architecture: servers, storage and networking as independent modules on separate platforms. HCI combines those three components into a single stack on a single platform. This drastically streamlines and simplifies the management of your data center.

thumb-hyperconverged-infrastructure-video

*Graphic courtesy of Nutanix.

What are the Key Advantages of Hyperconverged?

Less Complexity

Because the main components in 3-tier architecture are separate, you’re mixing 3 different technology stacks in your data center. It requires a lot of hardware and it’s much more difficult to manage. Even something as essential as adding more storage can take days or weeks because you have to make upgrades across a variety of components from different manufacturers.

As a single stack solution, HCI requires far less physical hardware and is quite easy to manage. Upgrading the system is a snap – or, more accurately, a click. Everything within an HCI system is built by one manufacturer and is managed from a single dashboard. With the click of a button, you can upgrade your entire data center – software, firmware, networking and all – with no interruption to your end users.

Easier Troubleshooting

In a 3-tier system, troubleshooting is challenging because you have to move between separate management interfaces for the different components. If you end up needing vendor support, you have to coordinate with multiple vendors to track down issues across your servers, storage and networking components.

HCI is a homogenous system from a single manufacturer. You only have to work with one management interface and one vendor, making finding and solving problems faster and less stressful.

Cohesive Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

HCI systems are purpose-built to provide great disaster recovery. Built-in software synchronizes your workloads, applications, file storage and more between your main facility and a DR node at another location. That way, if there’s a disaster at your main data center, the offsite DR node can continue powering your business. This redundancy gives you excellent resiliency in the case of a cyberattack or other emergency.

What are Common Use Cases for HCI?

You don’t need hundreds of virtual machines or a gigantic network in order for HCI to be the right solution for you. HCI can work in any size organization – and in a variety of situations.

Virtual desktop infrastructure: VDI can involve plenty of IT complexity and storage needs. With HCI, you have everything needed for VDI in one streamlined package – plus it provides just the right amount of storage, helping you stay cost-efficient.

Edge computing: Many companies want cloud-based features and functions while keeping things on premise because of an ERP application, warehouse management program or POS system that must be run on premise near the client workstations. HCI makes it easy to create edge or branch environments and scale them up or down quickly as needed.

File storage and workload consolidation: Sizing and migrating workloads is much simpler in an HCI system. It helps you streamline all sorts of data, including DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, print servers, database servers, application servers and file servers.

Hybrid cloud: If your business is transitioning from on premise to a hybrid cloud, HCI makes it faster and less expensive to do so. It’s also easy to move virtual machines between on-premise servers and private or public clouds with HCI. In short, HCI gives you the benefits of the cloud with in-house control.

What’s the ROI from Hyperconverged?

You may think that with all the advantages HCI brings that it would be too expensive for the average business to afford. But actually, it can help you save money over the long term.

First, you save hardware costs. Instead of buying all the individual components needed to build a data center (compute, storage, networking), you’re buying one solution that does it all.

Second, you save administrative costs. With a traditional data center, you need skilled people managing a variety of different functions (networking, virtualization, storage, etc.). That gets expensive quickly. HCI combines the different functions into one system and can be managed from one dashboard. That frees up your staff to focus on more high-value projects.

Third, there’s the savings that comes from HCI’s smaller physical footprint. Because it requires less space, you don’t need to allocate as much space for your data center and there’s less space to cool and secure.

According to Nutanix, one of the world’s leading hyperconverged companies, businesses that move to HCI experience:

  • 477% 5-year ROI
  • 9-month payback period
  • 61% less management time
  • 97% less unplanned downtime
  • 62% lower cost of operations over 5 years

You can try out their ROI Calculator to see how much your business can save with HCI.

Get More Answers

Hyperconverged is a truly revolutionary solution. Every client we’ve helped move onto HCI has given us similar feedback: “wow!” If you’d like to learn more, visit our Hyperconverged Infrastructure page. You can also read our HCI case studies:

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