Hyperconvergence is the latest buzzword that industry experts say will steam roll the technological revolution. Globally, the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) already has a market size of $4.1 billion, which is set to increase to $17.1 billion by 2023. That’s a 32.9 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), quite a feat for a relatively new technology.
Scale Computing is right at the cusp of this innovation by providing “out of the box” practical solutions. The hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) gives the best private cloud for SMBs. The architecture is designed with “hyper” focus on sustainability and optimization of the KVM into smaller and smaller pieces.
Types of Virtualization Infrastructures
The Inverted Pyramid of Doom
Most companies are familiar with the traditional 3-2-1 architecture that is often called The Inverted Pyramid of Doom. The name is because of the way the virtualization infrastructure is designed. Virtual Machines (VMs) run on 3 or more host server clusters, which are in turn connected to 2 network switches. Either 1 or more shared storage appliances (SAN or NAS) supply the backup.
Hyperconvergence is much more reliable than the 3-2-1 architecture.
While this traditional virtualization architecture was the norm, companies faced quite a few challenges. First off, the hardware components weren’t specifically designed for virtualization. You also had to buy the components from different vendors, thus creating numerous complex layers. The management and support services required individual training and certifications. This forced the companies to hire multiple experts that knew the technical aspects of each components.
Another major issue was of compatibility as even an update of one component can screw up the entire system. Upscaling the system also had challenges as you usually had to swap the old with the latest, fastest system components, rather than have the ability to scale the current infrastructure. But perhaps the biggest flaw is the way the infrastructure is designed, with the “1” storage component. This made the infrastructure vulnerable to system crashes, which in turn compelled companies to adopt expensive redundancy fail safes.
Most vendors look at convergence systems as a more advanced 3-2-1 system that help solve many of the previous issues. Compatibility problems were addressed by combining the different components into a single layer or system and SKU. The hardware and software (usually 3rd party hypervisors like VMware or Hyper-V) were pre-tested, pre-installed, pre-wired and delivered in a rack formation. Companies just had to buy which combo of components was suitable for their needs.
The problem with such systems however is that it still follows the 3-2-1 architecture. Where instead of the previous SAN and NAS functionality, virtual storage appliances (VSAs) are running as VMs which consume large amounts of CPU and RAM. Efficiency too is comprised as there are still components (hypervisor and storage) from two different vendors that require several different protocols and file system layers.
Why Switch to Scale Computing Hyperconvergence
Hyperconvergence in the truest sense is using hypervisors like KVM and specialized hardware components to provide hyperconverged appliances. Often called the “datacenter in a box”, these HCI have all the functionalities of the 3-2-1 virtualization. You just need to do the cabling and minimal networking configurations.
Scale Computing endorses the usage of native hypervisor for higher efficiency and performance. The native hypervisor allows the company to architect and embed storage directly using the hypervisor to the VMs. This eliminates many of the previous issues like inefficient storage protocols, files systems and VSAs.
Another reason to switch over is the single-vendor support as all the hardware and software is integrated into the single HCI appliance. The server compute resources, the storage, the hypervisor and often disaster recovery and backup features are part of the HCI infrastructure. This makes things like support, update, patch and management of the system seamless.
What You Get in the Hyperconvergence
Most IT solutions are costly, which is why many SMBs refrain from switching their current systems. The HCI might not be the lowest initial Capex investment, but in the long run, the Opex savings over time is great. The total cost of investing in HCI, in fact can save you over 50 percent over the traditional 3-2-1 infrastructure.
Besides the cost, which is an important aspect for companies, you also get a competitive edge:
Most HCI systems are deployed as a cluster of appliances for high availability. When a disk drive or even entire appliances fail, the cluster can absorb the loss without collapsing the entire system. Best is that you can add more appliances to the cluster as needed due to the HCI scale capability. Scale Computing’s HC3 system goes further in allowing clustering of dissimilar models and configuration appliances which can keep costs to a minimum.
Scale Computing offers native hypervisor architecture that provides a single management interface. This is by far much better than the multiple management consoles and interfaces of the 3-2-1 systems or the 3rd party hypervisors from others that needs 2 different management interfaces. Using the single point of approach design, management time and effort is decreased along with simplification of the management tasks.
Scale Computing’s HC3 system can be up and running within an hour. This rapid deployment is because the racking and networking from different vendors for the 3-2-1 systems or dependence on 3rd party hypervisor and VSAs vendors is avoided. Your fully functional system doesn’t require any time allowance as Scale Computing is your single vendor support for the entire virtualization architecture.
Software and Hardware Updates
Scale Computing’s architecture eliminates the need for downtime maintenance by providing regular system software and firmware updates. The process is automated across the entire cluster, with all the software layers (hardware firmware, hypervisor, storage and management) updated together to eliminate component combability issues. Also, to prevent any disruption of service, the VMs are automatically moved from appliance to appliance in the cluster during updates to keep all the systems functioning.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Every IT environment needs a backup, failover, failback and recovery solution. Unlike 3rd party solutions, the Scale Computing HCI infrastructure offers the features natively. Usually embedded in the storage layer, innate awareness of block changes is designed for cleaner backup, replication and recovery.
The Cloud Advantage
The ability to scale according to requirements is the biggest attraction for cloud computing systems. Most companies use a hybrid of on-prem and cloud architecture to get the most benefit. HCI, as a fully functional virtualization architecture is flexible enough to run alongside other IT solutions as well as integrate easily with cloud computing systems.
Scale Computing, for example, can give you a nested virtualization in cloud platforms using the HC3 Cloud Unity TM. You achieve a simplistic private cloud solution with unified management experience. Unlike the previous 3-2-1 architecture, HCI allows your IT department to focus more on apps and workloads than the daily management of the infrastructure.
Questions to Ask for Hyperconvergence
- Do you use native hypervisor?
- Does the architecture require additional purchasing of the hypervisor licensing and support?
- Do you offer hypervisor-embedded storage?
- Does your HCI solution use VSAs?
- Can you scale using dissimilar appliance models and configurations?
- Do you offer native backup and disaster recovery capability?
- Does your HCI system integrate with Cloud Computing?