Placing hyper in front of a term implies a more powerful meaning to the term’s original context. However, this implication is not true in the case of converged infrastructure (CI) and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). These converged solutions both merge the storage, compute and networking components in a data center, but the systems achieve equitable results differently.
These converged solutions benefit an enterprise in several ways. The benefits include decreased cost of deployment, maintenance and operation, along with simplified management. Dell EMC lists another benefit to employing a CI as it “offers a reduced footprint and less cabling and can be deployed much faster than traditional infrastructure.”
While the goal is the same for both CI and HCI, the methods to achieve that goal differ in a few distinctive ways.
The Difference Between Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructures
- The chief difference between converged and hyperconverged infrastructure is that the former relies on hardware and employs building blocks. The latter is software-defined.
- HCI is more flexible, maneuverable, and scalable than CI.
- HCI is “often deployed on commodity components; providing a simplified scale out architecture with commodity servers.”
- Another main distinction between CI and HCI involves the rack system. The 2018 Future of the Converged Data Center report explains the difference between the two: “CI is typically a large, rack-scale platform that combines compute, storage and networking into a packaged, turnkey product while HCI usually refers to 1U or 2U (rack-unit) systems that consolidate one or more multi-core servers with a local storage array.”
- The architecture varies between the two approaches. As BMC states, the “converged architecture storage is attached directly to the physical server” and the HCI architecture “has a storage controller function that runs as a service on every node in the cluster.”
- HCI shares storage to all compute and virtual machines (VMs), whereas CI does not.
- Note that HCI does not replace CI. These technologies each contain unique benefits. Learn more about when to use one over the other by reading the 2018 Future of the Converge Data Center report.