Converged or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?


Converged or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

HCI is a new addition to the datacentre toolkit.  As with any technology, the first questions we are asked are about use cases and how it compares to other options.  In this blog we look at different considerations to explain where we think HCI does and doesn’t fit.

Understanding the workload

Hyper-converged infrastructure, by its definition, means you don’t buy the pieces individually.  Each node comes with a pre-defined compute/storage ratio, so expanding one element means expanding the whole.  This means that if your workload requires a relatively large amount of storage capacity in relation to the processing power, you’re likely to need to pay for more CPU than you need in order to accommodate your data requirements.

Understanding the product capabilities

The specialist storage vendors have invested years of R&D into enriching the feature set of their products to give us the great capabilities we depend upon day-in and day-out.  The commodity flash drives that make HCI so inexpensive don’t provide some of those features and consequently may mean that the traditional infrastructure architectures and more familiar converged infrastructure designs remains the best options.  

Understanding in-house skills

HCI does a great job of simplifying deployment and management as well as scaling.  The skills needed to run modern infrastructures don’t come cheap, so the operational cost - especially in the training requirements for the team managing the infrastructure - is key to long term affordability.  In contrast to converged infrastructure which pools best of breed technology from multiple vendors, -therefore multiple skills sets – the single software layer used to manage and orchestrate an HCI environment helps to keep the human overhead lower.

Understanding your roadmap

Despite being an on-prem solution, HCI is most definitely a step towards a cloud ethos.  For organisations developing a cloud-first or cloud ready strategy, the software defined principles of HCI make it a logical consideration as workloads come up for review.

So, as always, our recommendation on CI vs HCI (or indeed cloud or any other infrastructure architecture, for that matter) will come down to what our customer is looking for, what their workloads are and what capabilities they need now and in the future.

To find out more about HCI, have a look here or contact your Account Manager to discuss how HCI could work for you.