There is no precise definition to differentiate the terms hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and HCI storage. The commerce space uses both terms. However, vendors appear to mention HCI more often than HCI storage. When does one use HCI or HCI storage?
Currently, the terms imply the same meaning: the merging of the compute, networking, and storage functions built on commodity hardware, such as x86 or white box, that uses software-defined networking (SDN) to centralize management of those functions. It’s a cost-effective solution for enterprises striving to streamline their data center operations.
When to use HCI or HCI Storage?
Browsing the web, the definition listed above applies to both terms. However, it’s noteworthy that the HCI brings about HCI storage as it is the architecture for the storage. The infrastructure is the strategic placement of storage, compute, networking components under a hypervisor. As Data Center Knowledge points out, “in hyperconverged infrastructure, the management layer – storage, for example – is controlled at the virtual layer.” An HCI may be bought already assembled from a vendor, or it may be pieced together by the criteria an enterprise determines for its storage needs.
During the Tech Field Day in Austin, Texas, NetApp recently offered up three ways HCI architecture may be set up. View the diagrams below.
Storage in a Virtual Machine and Hypervisor on Bare Metal
Hypervisor and Storage Combined on Bare Metal
Independent Hypervisor and Storage
Why use HCI Storage?
HCI storage brings several benefits to an enterprise:
- It’s cost-effective
- It simplifies the management process for storage, compute, and networking into a single pane of glass.
- It offers increased data protection. According to hyperconverged.org, “in a hyperconverged environment, however, backup, recovery, and disaster recovery are built in.”
- HCI offers a speedier deployment than traditional data centers.
- It’s more flexible, scalable, and maneuverable.
- It can operate as a virtual machine