What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure in the Context of a Hybrid Cloud?

Author:
CloudHealth Tech Staff Cloud Tech Journalist
Published: September 16, 2020
4 Min Read

Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions offer a cost-effective way for businesses to expand on-premises data centers and a safe way to enter the world of cloud computing. In addition to enhancing a business’s scalability, there are also benefits for business agility and reducing management overhead.

One of the principal arguments for adopting cloud computing is its cost-efficiency, yet many businesses find costs to be higher than they originally forecast. This isn’t surprising when you add the cost of migration, data transfer, cloud services, and business disruption during the migration process. Some businesses also encounter issues with performance and security once workloads have been migrated.

After a period of time, the costs and issues are mitigated due to cloud optimization, but stories of significant upfront costs—and performance or security issues—have dissuaded some businesses from adopting public cloud. Instead, they’ve looked for other ways to achieve the scalability, flexibility, and agility of the public cloud. One of the more popular alternatives to public cloud migration is a private or hybrid cloud solution built on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).

What are Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solutions?

To best explain hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, you have to go back to a previous generation of siloed on-premises data centers when, if you needed extra capacity, you had to purchase additional hardware and configure it to be compatible with your existing systems. Some of the management overhead was eliminated when converged solutions became available, but these still involved purchasing hardware from a single vendor. For example, if a business wanted a different configuration from what vendors offered, they were out of luck. Additionally, if they wanted to add components to a converged architecture after installation, the process could be complicated and expensive.

Today’s HCI solutions include complete software-defined services for compute, storage, and networking, as well as security and unified cloud management in a single system. Nodes can be added incrementally or clustered together to create any configuration of resources required by the business, creating a more flexible and agile operating environment. Compared to a siloed or converged infrastructure, it’s a lot easier to move workloads around and assign more - or fewer - resources to workloads as necessary.

Appliance-based HCI solutions are the most popular deployment model, but organizations can opt for software-only HCI that can be deployed on any hardware. The choice belongs to the customer. They need to assess whether they can rack and stack their own hardware and save costs, or if they prefer the simplicity of an integrated hardware/software platform.

Why is HCI a Low Risk Entry into Cloud Computing?

The market-leading HCI solution is based on VMware Cloud Foundation and vSAN storage virtualization because it’s the only vSphere-native storage software for private and public cloud deployments. vSAN-powered HCI solutions integrate seamlessly with most public cloud services so businesses wishing to expand beyond the data center into a hybrid cloud environment can do so with less cost, complexity, and risk.

Whether an enterprise is using HCI or other servers to run their vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation workloads, they still need visibility into resource usage. For VMware customers that also use one or more public clouds, CloudHealth adds value by giving them visibility into their entire cloud ecosystem in one platform.

CloudHealth Hybrid extends CloudHealth’s multicloud optimization, governance, and security capabilities to vSphere resources - whether deployed on HCI or not. This way, cloud operations teams, business or financial analysts, and engineering teams can include their data center resources within CloudHealth’s multicloud reporting, policy, and governance engine. In addition, customers using VMware vRealize Operations to manage their hybrid cloud environment can use the VMware vRealize Operations Management Pack for CloudHealth to import and view CloudHealth public cloud cost and usage data within vRealize.

It’s also possible to optimize both the on-premises element and the public cloud element of the hybrid environment using the CloudHealth cloud management platform to enforce governance policies across the environment. It’s about giving customers choice without added complexity.

For a complete guide to managing your hybrid cloud, check out our eBook: The Enterprise Guide To Hybrid Cloud

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CloudHealth Tech Staff, Cloud Tech Journalist

The CloudHealth Tech Staff team is made up of industry experts who report on trending cloud news, offer cloud management best practices, and compare products and services across the major cloud providers. As a part of CloudHealth, the CloudHealth Tech Staff come from all different backgrounds making them unique leaders in this industry.

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