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Hyperconvergence is a term which describes an approach to building datacenter infrastructure that was developed by companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook for their hyperscale computing platforms.

Amazon, Google and Facebook pioneered what we now call Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) as a way to lower the cost and complexity of their hyperscale computing platforms.

They recognized that the traditional way of deploying and managing infrastructure (separate silos of compute, network, and storage, utilizing proprietary vendor hardware) was far too costly, complex and cumbersome. 

They understood that the real intelligence and functionality resides in software and that the proprietary hardware was merely an expensive wrapper. So, they developed an approach that tightly integrated the virtualization, compute, network, and storage functionality at the software layer and ran it on commodity servers that could be deployed in massive scale-out compute grids which are easily managed with fewer resources. 

Once this approach was implemented and proven by the hyperscale companies, several vendors commercialized it and the Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) sector was born.  HCI is currently one of the fastest growing segments in the IT market because customers can achieve the simplicity and agility of cloud without migrating their environments and experiencing the latency concerns and lack of control that is intrinsic with a migration to a public cloud environment.

 
 
 

Core Benefits

Hyperconverged Infrastructure provides a number of significant benefits:

  • Simplicity – Ease of management from integrating formerly separate functional silos of storage, networking, and virtualization/compute and managing everything from a single pane of glass.
  • Resiliency – Each node has compute and storage resources which are independent and self-sufficient. This “shared nothing” architecture enables you to achieve a very high level of resiliency without the need for specialized hardware.  
  • Availability - While the hardware nodes are independent, the HCI software consolidates their resources into logical “pools” of compute and storage which seamlessly maintain availability in the event of individual node failure.
  • Scalability – Increasing capacity is done by simply adding a node to the cluster and that node's compute and storage resources are easily added to the logical consolidated pool. No more capacity planning or procurement/budgeting headaches.
  • Flexibility - Start small and scale in a granular fashion based on your needs.
  • Lower Cost and Faster Time-to-Value – Due to the decreased management overhead and ability to use commodity hardware.
 
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HCI and Cloud

Cloud-based infrastructure services have gained popularity because they also reduce complexity and enable customers to more easily consume IT resources. However, cloud is not the right choice for all workloads, in fact, particularly for small-to-midsized environments, cloud is likely not the right choice for most workloads.  The majority of IT workloads are relatively static in terms of growth, they don’t fit snugly into t-shirt sized compute instances, and they are best suited to run locally to their users – all of which describe the type of workload that is not a good fit for cloud-based infrastructure. In addition, many customers have the majority of their users in a single location, so placing the IT infrastructure in that location provides a vastly improved user experience and also increased reliability. With cloud resources, user experience is predicated on the quality and availability of the internet connection and in many cases, high bandwidth/highly available links from the customer location to the cloud can be expensive, difficult to configure and/or simply not available.

In addition, many customers who have deployed workloads to the cloud are realizing much higher-than-expected costs as well as decreased flexibility and are beginning to migrate these workloads back on-premises. This is referred to as the "boomerang effect" and it's especially prevalent for static workloads; systems that are always on and expected to remain so indefinitely.  The economics and flexibility/scalability of cloud computing are compelling for transient and "bursty" workloads. However, if an application is going to be deployed and used indefinitely, the expected economic savings from cloud computing often turn into increased cost and reduced availability to gain flexibility from which the vast majority of workloads cannot benefit.

The value proposition of HCI is that it can provide the best of both worlds – the simplicity, agility, and ease-of-management of cloud with the performance, control and security of on-premises infrastructure. No need to compromise.

 
 
 

The NodeWeaver Difference

While all hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are conceptually similar, they are certainly not all the same. Most vendors effectively negate much of the value proposition of HCI by adopting the same approach that the “traditional” vendors they are trying to supplant have been doing for years - rebadging commodity hardware and bundling it with their software to create proprietary appliances and building rosters of highly compensated sales and marketing teams whose roles are to convince customers to pay an unnecessarily high price tag for their products.

NodeWeaver understands that infrastructure is really just a tool that is used to deliver the applications that are driving value and that the key to unlocking that value is making their solution as reliable, efficient, and cost-effective as possible. NodeWeaver redefines the economics of hyperconvergence by delivering the core benefits of HCI at the lowest cost in the industry.

 
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