Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

I Virtualized Years Ago. Why This and Why Now?

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is the next “big” thing happening in the IT world. I put big in quotes because while the idea intrinsically has a lot of value, the product itself is quite small! Say goodbye to losing sleep over aging/clunky hardware, slower application response rates, lagging I/O performance, storage scarcity, limited computing power, and slower networks. Nearly everyone can benefit from HCI, particularly if they’ve already virtualized.

Didn’t the Cloud Promise This to Me?

The Cloud today is where computers were half a century ago, requiring a huge physical presence and associated costs. HCI is a paradigm shift.

Simply put, managers can significantly lower their hardware and software costs, while benefitting from technology that is easily iterable. This ensures that your applications respond quicker because your storage and computing power increases.

If I was to sell you this myself, I’d include the following technical jargon: software defined infrastructure, advanced memory management, SSD based high speed caching, global distributed scaling, and the fact that you can have a single pane of glass for advanced hardware and software management. This all adds up to high availability without the cost of adding redundant hosts/nodes.

This is a simple graphical illustration from Pivot3 depicting the difference between Traditional and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

How is This Getting to Market?

There are many players in this emerging market. Some have the backing of big hardware providers, while some are carving a niche via their software. A few providers are the result of mergers and acquisitions, making it important to canvas HCI providers with the same skepticism and enthusiasm required to get on the Cloud in the first place. The coming few quarters will dictate who truly saturates the market, and what options are the best for your particular setup.

Why Are You Telling Me This?

My personal opinion, as someone who has reviewed and qualified several offerings out in the market, is that there are a few offering an exciting solution, at a cost that is justified, and pays for itself. While providers have to be canvassed thoroughly, I have no doubt that this technology has the ability to provide agility and production stability for years to come, and the flexibility to transition to whatever comes next!