Hyper-convergence — Bringing Compute, Storage & Network Closer

        Hello and Welcome to TechSimplify. Today we are going to talk about IT Infrastructure, how it is changing and what the future holds for us. As of now we are using Converged Infrastructure, but in past couple of years there has been shift from traditional Converged Infrastructure to Hyper-converged Infrastructure. So what is Hyper-converged Infrastructure or simply Hyper-convergence?

Hyper-convergence is an IT framework that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system in an effort to reduce data center complexity and increase scalability. Hyper-converged platforms include a hypervisor for virtualized computing, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking, and they typically run on standard, off-the-shelf servers. In 2012 Steve Chambers and Forrester Research coined the marketing term hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) to describe a fully software-defined IT infrastructure that virtualizes all the elements of conventional “hardware-defined” systems.

The primary difference between conventional converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure is that in HCI, both the storage area network and the underlying storage abstractions are implemented virtually in software (at or via the hypervisor) rather than physically, in hardware. Because all the software-defined elements are implemented within the context of the hypervisor, management of all resources can be federated across all instances of a hyper-converged infrastructure.

A hyper-converged system is typically sold as a commodity hardware box, but it can also be sold as software that can be installed on a buyer’s existing hardware or as hardware purchased specifically for the installation. A hyper-converged system allows the integrated technologies to be managed as a single system through a common tool set. Hyper-converged systems can be expanded through the addition of nodes to the base unit. Most hyper-converged systems require a minimum of three hardware nodes for high availability. A grouping of nodes is known as a cluster.

Why Hyper-converge Infrastructure ?

hyper-01
Source – target.com

Hyper-converged infrastructure did not exist as a concept two or three years ago. Today, it is one of the fastest-growing methods for deploying IT in the data center, as IT departments look for ways to adjust to their new role in business and new demands that are placed on them. Gartner expects it to go from zero in 2012 to a $5 billion market by 2019, becoming the category leader by revenue in pre-integrated full-stack infrastructure products. The category also includes reference architectures, integrated infrastructure, and integrated stacks.

To understand why hyper-convergence has gotten so popular so quickly it’s necessary to keep in mind other trends that are taking place. There’s pressure on IT departments to be able to provision resources instantly; more and more applications are best-suited for scale-out systems built using commodity components; software-defined storage promises great efficiency gains; data volume growth is unpredictable; and so on. More and more enterprises look at creation of software products and services as a way to grow revenue and therefore want to adopt agile software development methodologies, which require a high degree of flexibility from IT. In other words, they want to create software and deploy it much more often than they used to, so IT has to be ready to get new applications up and running quickly.

Hyper-converged Infrastructure in action!

When it comes to Hyper-converged Infrastructure, Nutanix and Simplivity come out on top, but Cisco and Dell EMC look to take charge in the Hyper-converged market too.

1. Nutanix

Nutanix pioneered hyper-converged infrastructure, and continues to evolve the platform. We are helping to define the new era with an Enterprise Cloud that bridges the wide gap between traditional infrastructure and public cloud services. Nutanix Enterprise Cloud unifies your private and public clouds, and simplifies the management of multi-cloud deployments with one OS, one click.

hyper-02

Features

  • Turnkey Infrastructure – Integrated server, storage, networking and virtualization resources along with end-to-end systems management and operations management capabilities.
  • Fast Deployment – Deploy infrastructure in minutes, so IT teams can elevate their focus to the applications and services powering the business.
  • Software-Driven – Supports a wide variety of different hardware platforms – including three of the four most popular server platforms in the world.
  • Flexible – A single cluster can have unlimited nodes, with node types having differing amounts of storage, CPU and memory resources, so you can run multiple workloads with maximum efficiency.

2. HPE Simplivity

HPE SimpliVity is a enterprise-grade hyper-converged platform that speeds application performance, improves efficiency and resiliency and restores VMs in seconds.

Gartner names HPE a leader

HPE was recognized as a leader in the February 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyper-converged Infrastructure. Full Report.

HPE SimpliVity 380

The HPE SimpliVity 380 gives IT leaders the agility and economics of the cloud with the control and governance of on-premises IT. It delivers a powerhouse hyper converged solution capable of running some of the world’s most efficient and resilient data centers. This solution dramatically simplifies IT by combining infrastructure and advanced data services for virtualized workloads onto the bestselling server platform in the market. HPE SimpliVity 380, available on HPE ProLiant DL380 Servers, is a compact, scalable 2U rack-mounted building block that delivers server, storage, and storage networking services. It also delivers a complete set of advanced functionalities that enables dramatic improvements to the efficiency, management, protection, and performance of virtualized workloads at a fraction of the cost and complexity of today’s traditional infrastructure stack. The HPE SimpliVity 380 was built from the ground up to run virtualised enterprise applications.

Data centre consolidation

Minimize your data centre footprint. Placing all your IT infrastructure below the hypervisor on a scalable x86 platform reduces your data centre devices by 10:1, resulting in lower upfront costs, greater operational efficiency and improved performance.

Data protection

Protect your data in a fraction of the time required by legacy solutions. With built-in, end-to-end data protection, HPE SimpliVity reduces storage and bandwidth requirements, resulting in more recovery points and enhanced VM protection.

Hybrid cloud

Get enterprise-level performance and reliability with the efficiency, flexibility and economics of cloud. HPE SimpliVity is a natural fit for a hybrid environment and offers the cost benefits of public cloud without the inherent risks of moving data offsite.

Hyper-converged all-flash

HPE SimpliVity all-flash storage delivers twice the performance of hybrid solutions with half the latency, at an entry point that costs 20% less than competitors. Don’t compromise on quality. Improve cost savings over leading all-flash solutions and get even higher levels of performance, data integrity and availability.

3. Cisco HyperFlex

Cisco HyperFlex enables multi-cloud IT with an adaptive platform that powers any application anywhere with the simplicity of hyper-converged infrastructure. Built on HX software innovations, HyperFlex delivers a simplified solution with industry-leading performance, independent scaling, support for multiple hypervisors, and flexible cluster scaling with availability zones. Cisco HyperFlex offers a variety of flexible hyper-converged infrastructure configurations engineered on the Cisco UCS platform.

Architecture

HyperFlex is engineered on the Cisco UCS platform. It is part of a data center architecture that supports traditional, converged, and hyperconverged systems with common policies and infrastructure management.

Bridge to next-generation IT: HyperFlex is built on an API-driven architecture for the inter-operability required by DevOps style IT. It integrates into orchestration tool sets and cloud services.

Ready for emerging applications: The HX Data Platform is designed to support multiple hypervisors, containers, and bare metal to power existing and new cloud-native workloads.

Continuous innovation: HyperFlex will continue to expand the boundaries of hyperconverged infrastructure, drawing from innovation in Cisco UCS and ACI.

Cisco HyperFlex Systems run on HyperFlex HX Data Platform Software, version 2.6. The software supports VMware vSphere, versions 6.0 and 6.5.

Features

— Simplify your daily operations. Integrated data management functionality for applications includes instant provisioning, cloning, snapshots, replication for disaster recovery protection, and data-at-rest encryption.

— Always-on inline data reduplication and inline compression provide highly-efficient resource utilization, reducing the IT footprint.

— The HX Data Platform is designed for independent scaling of compute, caching, and capacity, giving you full flexibility to scale your environment based on evolving business needs.

— Incoming data is more securely distributed and optimized across servers and storage tiers in the cluster to eliminate performance bottlenecks and achieve high IO performance.

— The HX Data Platform is designed for independent scaling of compute, caching, and capacity, giving you full flexibility to scale your environment based on evolving business needs.

4. Dell EMC VxRail

Dell EMC VxRail is powered by VMware vSAN and Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, VxRail delivers continuous innovation with future-proof performance, predictably transforms with next-gen simplicity, and creates certainty with hardened security advancements. VxRail meets any HCI use case, including support for the most demanding workloads and applications.

Dell EMC VxRail Appliances offer extreme configuration flexibility, future-proof performance and capacity with NVMe cache drives, 25GbE connectivity, and NVIDIA P40 GPUs, hardened security and simplicity needed to meet your most demanding application and workload requirements without disruption. Dell EMC VxRail Appliances built on the latest PowerEdge servers powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, now featuring the high memory option processors, offer configure-to-order platforms that deliver data services, resiliency, and QoS, enabling faster, better, and simplified delivery of virtual desktops, business-critical applications, remote office infrastructure, and more.

hyper-03

VxRail Appliances deliver the performance and reliability you need for the widest range of workloads, all with full life cycle management from a single point of support. In short, VxRail is the fastest and easiest way to transform your VMware infrastructure and accelerate your journey to a multi-cloud strategy.

Benefits of Hyper-converged Infrastructure

1. Lower Costs

This is the most obvious benefit of Hyper-converged Infrastructure and also it is one of the most important factor when designing your IT solution. The fastest data centre in the world isn’t actually all that useful if you have to spend your entire profit margin on software licenses and an army of specialist staff.

Hyper-convergence uses an economic model similar to that of public cloud providers, avoiding large up-front costs and large infrastructure purchases every few years. This is achieved by using low-cost commodity hardware, and by scaling the data centre in small, easy-to-manage steps.

2. Smaller, More Efficient IT Staff

As nearly all the legacy data centre hardware gets folded into a hyperconverged environment, the staffing needs of the IT department change. Rather than having specialist staff with deep subject matter knowledge for each separate resource area, hyper-convergence can give rise to infrastructure generalists. In hyper-convergence, the most complex stuff is handled under the hood. IT staff need only to have enough broad knowledge to apply infrastructure resources to meet individual application needs.

3. Greater Gains Through Automation

Well, there is no point in all the hype in bringing the core components of any IT infrastructure closer, without the element of Automation for managing the infrastructure. Automation is a fundamental part of managing hyper-convergence. When all data centre resources are truly combined and when centralized management tools are in place, administrative functionality includes scheduling opportunities as well as scripting options.

4. Simplified Procurement and Support

Hyper-convergence provides a single-vendor approach to procurement, operations, and support. In this respect, hyper-convergence is similar to the offerings of systems integrators. Customers get one point of contact for the life of the system, from initial inquiry to system stand-down.

However, hyper-convergence is usually less expensive than integrated systems. It is also simpler, especially in the matter of upgrades. In a hyperconverged system, there is only a single manufacturer and only one upgrade to be done. As the vendor adds new features in updated software releases, customers gain the benefits of those features immediately, without having to replace hardware. Reduced complexity in these processes translates directly to saved time and lower operational costs.

5. Increased Data Protection

Hyper-convergence software is designed to anticipate and handle the fact that hardware will eventually fail. This is why multiple appliances are necessary in the initial deployment to achieve full redundancy and data protection. The use of commodity hardware ensures that customers get the benefit of these failure avoidance/ availability options without having to break the bank.

6. Improved Performance

Hyper-convergence enables organizations to deploy many kinds of applications and workloads in a single shared resource pool without worrying about reduced performance due to the IO blender effect. Hyper-converged systems include both solid-state storage and spinning-disk in each appliance. The mix of storage enables systems to handle both random and sequential workloads easily.

Future

Few years back, the world was introduced to the value a hyperconverged appliance delivers to IT. Smaller, easier to set up, deploy, use…well, just about everything! According to Gartner, “HCI (or hyper-converged infrastructure) is the fastest-growing segment of the overall market for integrated systems, reaching almost $5 billion by 2019.” And in 2016, Gartner reported that the hyperconverged segment grew by 79%.

The future for hyper-convergence is composable technology within the hyperconverged solution. The idea that a hyperconverged infrastructure could allow IT to efficiently move resources to whichever Line of Business (LOB) needed it in a given week or day, opens up a whole new world of possibilities for users.

IT expects their hyperconverged solutions to continue to evolve and change to work for the changing needs of the business. Bottom line: The future of hyperconverged is cloud-like agility, flexibility, and speed, delivered through composable technology.

Well folks! That’s about it for today, I hope you enjoyed this blog post, it was unique, different and it gave you at least some perspective about what future holds for our IT Infrastructure. Share your thoughts ideas suggestion for future post, always great to hear the feedback. We will be back soon, very soon with another technology, explained in the simplest terms possible, until then take care 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s