Converged infrastructure (CI) can be subdivided into traditional, large converged systems and smaller, modular hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Both combine compute nodes, storage and (sometimes) networking into an appliance bundled with a software stack to virtualize system resources. Converged infrastructure (CI) are typically large, rack-scale, mainframe-style systems that combine compute, storage and networking into a packaged, turnkey product. CI systems generally are expanded by increasing the capacity and capabilities of each integrated unit, what’s known as scale up capacity expansion. Popular converged systems include the Dell EMC VxRack and VxBlock HPE ConvergedSystem and Hitachi Unified Compute Platform.
HCI refers to small, usually 1 or 2U systems that consolidate one or more multi-core servers with a local storage array. The nodes are controlled by a centrally-managed HCI software stack that provides a hypervisor, software-defined storage and virtual networking that pools resources among all nodes in an HCI cluster. As with converged systems, Dell EMC with VxRail (from EMC and VMware) and the Dell XC Series (powered by Nutanix) are popular HCI options as are Nutanix-badged products and others in the Nutanix ecosystem. Other options include products from Cisco HyperFlex (based on UCS) and HPE (Symplivity) along with pure-play HCI vendors like HyperGrid (Gridstore), Pivot3 and Scale Computing.
Additional Difference between Converged (CI) and Hyperconverged (HCI) Resources