Let’s start out with defining Hyper-converge Infrastructure. You may be thinking this is just the latest buzzword of the month that will fix all the technology problems that IT has, or will ever have.
Not quite. According to Wikipedia, hyper-converge is really a “hyper-converged integrated system (HCIS) which refers to the integrating of virtualization, storage and compute in a data center.”
Does that mean IT geniuses have figured out how to cram all of IT infrastructure services in to a single technology? No, not really, but they’ve found a way to consolidate multiple technologies such as virtualization, storage, and compute into a single platform for ease of management, reduction in cost, and adoption of on premise cloud technologies. Why does it matter to you?
I’ll explain by telling a story. I remember a time when I was learning object oriented programming. My teacher explained that in order to build software using OOP, we have to plug together different objects just like you do when you build something with LEGO® blocks. You see, LEGO has a way of plugging each of its pieces together. This allows each piece to play a role in the overall structure you’re building. But each piece still has its individual function; for example, one piece could be part of a wing of a spaceship. Individually each piece is just a piece but when they are put together they become a masterpiece of Lego art.
Just like LEGOs and OOP, hyper-converged appliances take common pieces of today’s IT infrastructure and plugs them together into one highly-optimized appliance. These appliances have multiple capabilities such as compute, the ability to provide processor and memory resources so applications can run in a virtualized environment. These appliances can also provide storage for multiple purposes such as storage for file sharing and storage of data for databases.
But still, why does this matter and why should an IT organization care? Because IT is constantly trying to do more with less and, at times, to do it instantly and for no cost. The concept of hyper-converge infrastructure helps. Hyper-converged infrastructure allows organization to rapidly plug in compute, storage and application services across the enterprise. It’s just like those LEGOs spaceship masterpieces you created when you were younger.
Who I am I kidding? I still do that today. Don’t laugh — I know you do too.
There are many players in this game today, including IBM, Dell, EMC, HP and Cisco. Each of them bring their architecture and view of what hyper-converge infrastructure is or isn’t. I have provided references below for each of their products.
Will hyper-converge change everything? Time will tell. But this I know: technology is shrinking and business demands that our technologies do more, faster, quicker, and with less cost, less energy, and less time. I truly believe that hyper-converge is going to be around for a while. It might not keep the fancy name but the ideas and concepts behind it are here to stay.
Charles Wilson is our Cloud Solutions Advisor. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing cloud solutions for companies in such industries as financial services, real estate, manufacturing, and retail. He holds certifications as an IBM Certified Enterprise Architect, AWS Technical Professional, and AWS TCO and Cloud Economics.
LEGO is a registered trademark of the LEGO Group.