It’s been some time since I’ve specifically written anything on the topic of Hyperconvergence. This isn’t to say that the subject has gone away, being ignored or anything like that. Quite to the contrary, hyperconvergence is bigger than ever…
Back in our early start with hyperconvergence, with Scale Computing we began to see the storage element of the puzzle being taken care of and eventually through their HC3 we saw one of the first more affordable pieces of this type of technology. Vierity being the spice of life, along came Simplivity with it’s Dell based hardware model and Nutanix – both really professionalising the market.
The traditional vendors also have got in on the act with Cisco’s Flexpod and Expresspod. HDS has UCP and there’s a load of other new entrants to boot. We also started with a software-only version of hyperconverged infrastructure which is only just making footsteps in the UK.
It’s true to say that Unleashed are old hats at hyperconvergence and that the topic is becoming very much more business as usual rather than something out of the ordinary.
What exactly is hyperconvergence?
Well, like anything new there’s no definitive answer nor a formal definition. In essence it’s a coming together of various technologies, storage, compute and networking with a single pane of glass management tool.
That doesn’t sound like anything new or exciting? I have to admit, when I first heard the concept, I laughed and said when I was an IT contractor in the 90’s the first network I installed had one of those things. It was called a server.
Virtualisation has really made us think more widely about this type of architecture. It made sense to split storage from our compute resources and now as software defined networking has become more mainstream, that too. The other difficulties about putting resources into different pots means we need a great network behind it. Some people like to call this network a fabric, a bus, to me it’s just a network. It may not be the network that you have to connect to your LAN, but it’s a network none-the-less.
All the technologies are different, Cisco like to use their Nexus switching, Brocade have their technologies. Things can be integrated by Fibre Channel or even good old Ethernet. Speed is the key.
So in essence, hyperconvergence is the re-integration of the single components of an old architecture, the compute, the storage, the network. However where it differs is the virutalisation. Everything, the compute, the storage, the network resources are all virtualised and as such allows better availability and more resilience and performance than ever before.
Where is this going?
When we started working with hyperconverged technologies, things were proprietary, and solutions involved single vendors. This is slowly changing allowing you to build a single solution from multiple vendors and allowing a single management view. VMware are moving towards this, with the integration from many of their approved vendors.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) which has become more mainstream in recent years has really been the missing link. Soon, we believe standards will develop for hyperconverged systems.
As we move forward everything on your network will talk to each other and you’ll be able to leverage much more usability and performance from your hardware.
What about now?
These systems are available now, the vendors in the market are maturing with some good solutions. Whether you’re looking for speed or better resilience that you can currently get with traditional solutions there is an option for you. Everything tends to be fully supported in VMware with HyperV based solutions available from some manufacturers.
We believe each business is different with a unique set of needs and challenges – so if you’re interested in hyperconvergence why not give us a call and we’ll pop round for a coffee and a chat?