Providing the flexibility and agility that business demands from IT, hyper-converged infrastructure platforms embody the software-defined data center. Hyper-convergence is a ground-up rethinking of all the services that comprise the data center. With a focus on the virtual machine (VM) or VM workload, all the elements of the hyper-converged infrastructure platform support the virtual machine as the basic construct of the data center.
With hyper-convergence, all components including compute, storage, backup to disk, and cloud gateway functionality, are combined in a single shared resource pool with hypervisor technology. This simple, efficient design enables IT to manage aggregated resources across individual nodes as a unified system. Regardless of how widespread physical resources are, hyper-converged systems handle them as though they were all sitting next to each other. Resources spread across multiple physical data centers are managed from a single, centralized interface, and all system and data management functions are handled within this interface.
The results are significant. Hyper-convergence provides faster time to value for data center expenditures and lower total cost of ownership for the entire solution. Hyper-convergence offers the economic benefits of the cloud while delivering the performance, high availability, and reliability that Enterprise demands.
Hyper-convergence is a way to enable cloud-like economics and scale without compromising the performance, reliability, and availability that you expect in your data center. Hyper-converged infrastructure platforms provide the following benefits:
- Flexibility to scale out or scale in resources as required by business demand
- VM-centric with a focus on virtual machine (VM) workloads as the cornerstone of enterprise IT, with all supporting constructs revolving around individual VMs
- Data protection is simplified by a hyper-converged infrastructure. Data can be restored in the event of loss or corruption
- VM Mobility: Hyper-convergence enables greater application/workload mobility
- High availability (HA): Hyper-convergence enables higher levels of availability than possible in legacy systems.
- Data efficiency: Hyper-converged infrastructure reduces storage, bandwidth, and IOPS requirements.
- Cost efficiency: Hyper-converged infrastructure brings to IT a sustainable step-based economic model that eliminates waste.
Hyper-convergence is the epitome of the software-defined data center (SDDC). The software-based nature of hyper-convergence provides the flexibility required to meet current and future business requirements without having to rip and replace infrastructure components. And as new features become available in updated software releases, customers gain the benefits of those features immediately, without having to replace hardware.
Agility is critical in modern IT. Business expects IT to respond quickly as new requirements arise, yet legacy environments force IT to employ myriad resources to meet those needs. Hyper-converged infrastructure platforms enable IT to more quickly achieve these positive outcomes. In a hyper-converged environment, all resources in all physical data centers reside under a single administrative umbrella, which simplifies workload migration in such environments, particularly in a solution that enables consistent deduplication as a core part of its offering. Reduced data is far easier to work with than fully expanded data and helps IT get things done faster.
One of the hallmarks of the Hyper-converged infrastructure platform is granular scalability. Hyper-convergence is a scalable building-block approach that allows IT to expand by adding units. Unlike integrated systems products that require large investments, hyper-converged solutions enable expansion of new resources in a smaller step size. As new resources are required, it’s easy to add nodes to a hyper-converged infrastructure.
Compared with their integrated system counterparts and legacy infrastructure, Hyper-converged systems have a low cost of entry, and include lower CAPEX as a result of lower upfront prices for infrastructure, lower OPEX through reductions in operational expenses and personnel, and faster time-to-value for new business requirements.
Automation is a key component of the SDDC that goes hand-in-hand with hyper-convergence. When resources are combined and centralized management tools are in place, administrative functionality includes scheduling opportunities as well as scripting options. The IT headache of creating automated structures with hardware from different manufacturers or product lines is eliminated. All components and resources are encapsulated in a single, simplified environment.
Virtualization is the foundation of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). Hyper-converged infrastructure platforms use virtual machines (VMs) as the most basic constructs of the environment. All other resources — storage, backup, replication, load balancing, and so on — support individual VMs. This means that policy in the hyper-converged environment revolves around VMs, as does system management options, such as data protection policies. In legacy environments, these are often defined in third-party tools. With hyper-convergence, integrated data protection policies and control happen at the VM level. VM-centricity is important as workloads are moved between different data centers and between services, such as backup and replication. The administrator works with the virtual machine as the focus, not the data center and not underlying services, such as storage.
Hyper-convergence enables organizations to deploy many kinds of applications as a single shared resource pool without worrying about the dreaded IO blender effect affecting VM performance. The focus on the VM in hyper-converged systems enables the system to see through the IO blender and to optimize based on the IO profile of the individual VM.
Hyper-converged infrastructure’s mix of storage enables systems to handle both random and sequential workloads deftly. Even better, with so many solid-state storage devices in a hyper-converged cluster, there are more than enough IO operations per second (IOPS) to support even the most intensive workloads — including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) boot and login storms.
The shared resource pool also enables efficient use of resources for improved performance and capacity. Hyper-convergence eliminates the need to create resource islands just to meet IO needs of particular applications. The environment itself handles all of the CPU, RAM, capacity, and IOPS assignments so that administrators can focus on the application and not individual resource needs.
Hyper-converged means that IT spends less while providing improved overall service. The hyper-converged infrastructure environment better handles far more varied workloads than legacy infrastructure can. IT performs better with more focus on the business and less on the technology.
Protecting data is critical. Many organizations do the bare minimum to protect their critical data because comprehensive data protection is expensive and really complex. To provide data protection in a legacy system, you must make many decisions and purchase a wide selection of products. In a hyper-converged infrastructure environment, backup, recovery, and disaster recovery are built in. They’re part of the infrastructure, not third-party afterthoughts to be integrated later.
The benefits of data protection via the hyper-convergence infrastructure are clear:
- Comprehensive backup and recovery, and affordable disaster recovery.
- Efficient protection without data rehydration and re-deduplication — and the inefficient use of resources that result.
- A single centralized console that enables IT to respond quickly.
Hyper-Unity Infrastructure Platform
Hyper-Unity is the first rugged all-flash hyper-converged, scalable infrastructure featuring Atlantis USX™. Hyper-Unity seamlessly integrates four ruggedized, eight-drive, RES-XR5-1U rack mounted servers, with a high-speed, 12-port Mellanox Infiniband switch, and Atlantis USX, the award-winning, patented Software-defined Storage (SDS) solution. Hyper-Unity is the first turn-key, Mil Spec, SWAP-optimized, hyper-converged infrastructure platform, to deliver all-flash performance for virtualized applications, at less than half the cost of traditional storage or other hyper-converged platforms.