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Break down the challenges, benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure

Last updated:March 2017

Editor's note

In any IT organization, an ultimate goal is simplicity. So it's not surprising that hyper-converged infrastructure -- which, at its core, combines networking, storage and compute into a single package -- has a wide appeal among IT pros.

Although it's tempting to hop on the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) bandwagon, investigate all of your options before adopting an HCI system. There are many benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure, but there are drawbacks too, and the technology isn't a good fit for every workload. In some cases, converged infrastructure (CI) is a better option -- it all depends on your needs. Use this guide to weigh the pros and cons of hyper-converged infrastructure, and to learn best practices for adoption.

If you do decide to take the next step with hyper-converged infrastructure, it's crucial to implement it correctly. Understand how to properly manage the system to take full advantage of its benefits. After fully exploring the ins and outs of hyper-converged infrastructure, you may be able to deliver greater value to your organization.

1The difference between hyper-converged infrastructure and converged infrastructure

Both converged and hyper-converged systems condense compute, storage and networking into a single chassis and break down data center silos -- so how do they differ? There are key architectural differences between the two technologies. For example, one of the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure is that it allows users to add nodes of compute and storage as needed, increasing flexibility. But CI still has its strengths, and likely won't disappear from the data center anytime soon.

2Overcome hyper-converged infrastructure implementation, management challenges

Though one of the end goals of hyper-converged infrastructure is simplicity, implementation of a new system can be anything but simple. Find ways to ease the process, which includes choosing the right hardware and carefully replacing legacy systems. Once you've implemented the technology, ensure you manage it correctly to reap the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure -- which can include capitalizing on certain components that pave the way toward software-defined data centers (SDDCs).

3Hyper-converged terms to know

Before you make a decision about hyper-convergence, it's important to understand the terminology.