The Definitive Guide to Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)

By Insight Solutions

Conversations around Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (CI and HCI) are on the rise, because they have similar attributes to public cloud: they're easy to scale, easy to consume, and reliably high-performance. But, unlike public cloud, CI and HCI provide cost control and the convenience of being in your own environment.

Will the popularity of CI and HCI continue to increase? It seems likely, particularly because security has become top of mind. Organizations need to control their infrastructure in a secured manner. Many of our clients, specifically large enterprises, are rethinking the all-public cloud approach. According to the Insight-commissioned IDG survey, 64% of organizations who have made the most progress with IT modernization shifted from an all-public cloud strategy to a hybrid cloud approach last year.

These trends indicate that organizations are learning the value of evaluating and aligning workloads to best-fit platforms. Questions around the scalability and agility of public cloud versus the security and cost control of on-premises solutions are driving the hyperconverged infrastructure conversation. What is most critical? Is there a compromise? What is the ideal platform strategy?

Answers to these questions will differ from company to company and partnering with a group like Insight Cloud + Data Center Transformation (CDCT) can help you make these decisions in a methodical and defensible way. We can also help you determine whether CI and HCI solutions make sense in your environment based on your business requirements and goals. But, here, we’ll provide some general pointers you can keep in mind as you consider your options.

What’s the difference between converged and hyperconverged?
Converged vs Hyperconverged graph
Learn more about the differences between CI and HCI in this infographic.

Benefits of HCI
Hyperconverged infrastructure enables a multicloud environment through unified management. This capability is critical, as it imparts the ability to automate and orchestrate infrastructure or components like APIs that provide programmability going to or from the public cloud.
Automation and orchestration can help you refocus on the business rather than the day-to-day activities of keeping the lights on, responding to alerts, and provisioning new servers or applications. These capabilities allow an IT organization to increase their strategic capacity to help the business, rather than just maintaining the status quo.

HCI solutions deliver the following benefits:

  • Lower management costs
    • Faster and simpler deployment
    • Streamlined provisioning, management, and expansion
    • Non-disruptive lifecycle
    • Consolidation of technical silos
  • Flexibility in design and growth
    • Runs most workloads
    • Start with a few nodes and grow to many (web scale)
    • Fewer design requirements
    • Optimize CapEx by aligning investments with requirements
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    • Combines OpEx efficiencies with flexibility
    • Build based on environment size and needs (from Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) to data center)
Many organizations look to HCI when implementing or improving Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or server virtualization as a way to reduce complexity and minimize upfront costs. View this infographic to learn six of the most common use cases for HCI, including real-world examples.

When hyperconverged isn’t the answer
Some organizations run exceptionally demanding workloads that require significant resources across one or more tiers of infrastructure. Although these are the minority of workloads, they typically are business-critical and should not be overlooked when selecting HCI or other infrastructure solutions. Such high-demand workloads may not be suited for hyperconverged infrastructure, which can be limited in terms of scaling to support large workloads.
How Insight CDCT helps
Insight helps companies in a number of ways; one is through our Consulting Services organization, which has deep expertise and a proven methodology aligning workloads and platforms.
Before any workload decisions can be made, it is crucial to understand the IT environment and any unique requirements. We find that many of our clients do not have a clear view of their IT estate. There are many reasons for this ranging from mergers and acquisitions, to rapid organic business growth, to, even, the prevalence of shadow IT.
Although there are many third-party tools available on the market, most are complex, time-consuming, and provide inaccurate reports. Our Consulting Services team often leverages our proprietary discovery engine, SnapStart, which is designed to increase discovery by 10-20X, reducing the costs and time required to initiate modernization or transformation projects.
We would be happy to help you evaluate CI and HCI solutions and, more importantly, clarify your priorities. What's important for the success of your business? Is it ease of management? Is it scalability or public cloud integration? Is it interoperability with existing infrastructure? Gain a partner in Insight CDCT.