Hyperconverged is a new approach to building IT infrastructure. Hyper-converged appliances take Compute, Storage and Networking and integrates them tightly by placing them in a single machine built from commodity hardware. Hypervisors are used to run applications and a layer of software for orchestration and management is laid over the top. The whole appliance from component to software is provided by a single vendor. Effectively a hyper-converged system is a close to being a datacentre in a box managed from a single console.

In addition, hyper-converged systems run in node cluster configurations. This means that as demand for resources increases, additional nodes can be non-disruptively added into a cluster. Meaning that scaling up is simple and efficient.

Hyper-converged technology is what has made cloud computing possible. The ability to add nodes to scale up, is exactly how and why cloud service providers can meet ever increasing resource demands without constant downtime, reconfiguration and constant maintenance windows.

Because hyper-converged systems use one management software for compute, storage and networking the ability for fewer people to manage massive infrastructure becomes possible. This is a key feature that helps with economies of datacentre scale.

The concept of hyper-converged infrastructure had been expanded from its predecessor, converged infrastructure where vendors provide pre-configured bundles of hardware and software within a single chassis to minimise compatibility issues and simplify management. Converged infrastructure hardware can be separated to be used independently unlike a hyper-converged system which cannot be broken into separate components.

In short hyper-converged infrastructure allows It departments to build on premise clouds, that meet the demands for flexibility, scalability, simplified management, and uptime. They enable web scale computing to be built in house.

Hyper-converged technology enables a shift from datacentres that were built for predictable workloads, to today’s requirement where data driven business need IT to be flexible and support unpredictable requirements.

Nutanix is arguably the most pioneering hyper-converged specialist company. They have been instrumental in educating the industry in what hyper-convergence is and where it plays. The approach they take is to focus less on the fact they develop and sell hyper-converged appliances and more on what their technology delivers, such as web scale and enterprise cloud computing. This is important as one of the key features of hyper-convergence is to simplify management and remove the need to be expert in the underlying technologies. As an example, Nutanix even introduced their own hypervisor (acropolis) which helps reduce cost but is also a clear pointer that hyper-converged systems are about the outcomes they deliver rather than the technology they are built from.

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