An Introduction to Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Virtualization of compute, storage, and networking—all in a highly scalable node.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) Basics:

  • Designed for fast deployment and scale-out, hyperconverged infrastructure combines compute, storage, and networking into a modular node.

  • Hyperconverged infrastructure enables a software-defined data center, improves agility, and helps IT teams manage costs.

  • Intel® Select Solutions are deployment ready and verified for performance, helping accelerate your hyperconverged infrastructure adoption.

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Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) combines virtualized computing, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking into a single server. These nodes scale quickly along with your needs. With Intel® architecture-based hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, you can invest incrementally over time, taking advantage of next-generation capabilities across compute, storage, network, memory, and accelerator technologies.

The rising demand for cloud services, along with the need to replace outdated hardware and lower operational costs, is leading enterprises to adopt hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) in the data center. With hyperconverged infrastructure, compute and storage workloads run together on a server. Servers are clustered into a virtualized pool of compute and storage resources over a standard Ethernet network.

Hyperconvergence offers a straightforward path to a private cloud or hybrid cloud because it is a modern, software-defined infrastructure that can be quickly deployed and easily managed. In addition, it works well with hybrid cloud tools, enabling self-provisioning and portability for strategic workload placement.

Benefits of Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Simply put, hyperconverged infrastructure empowers the software-defined data center. It improves scalability and agility while enabling an overall software-centric architecture.

High Scalability and Agility

Most businesses start with three or four nodes in a hyperconverged cluster and add more as they need performance and capacity. This modular scale-out takes the guesswork out of how to build your data center infrastructure.

Flexibility

Hyperconverged infrastructure is a proven architecture supporting a range of workloads. Within a hyperconverged system, it’s possible to customize your servers to the needs of specific workloads. For example, you can choose from a wide range of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors for high compute capability, Intel® Optane™ Solid State Drives (SSDs) for low-latency storage, Intel® Optane™ persistent memory to support large memory workloads, and Intel® Ethernet Products (available in 10, 25, 40 and 100GbE) to accommodate your network adapters, controllers, and accessories needs.

Low CapEx and OpEx

Hyperconverged infrastructure lets you start small and grow incrementally, making it easier to manage up-front capital costs and avoid overprovisioning. By investing over time, you can take advantage of advances in each technology generation. Furthermore, hyperconverged infrastructure can be managed by an IT generalist familiar with virtualization tools, helping lower operational costs.

Data Distribution for Durability

With hyperconverged infrastructure, data is distributed across the cluster, ensuring no single point of failure. Deploy multiple clusters to enhance durability and support business continuity. If data in one location is not accessible, it can be recovered from the other cluster.

Hyperconverged infrastructure lets you start small and grow incrementally, making it easier to manage up-front capital costs and avoid overprovisioning.

Intel® Technologies for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Intel is driving platform innovation and next-generation capabilities across every infrastructure domain—from compute to storage to network to memory to accelerator technologies. With Intel® architecture-based hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, you have a clear path forward for the data-centric era.

Intel® Technologies and Software for Hyperconverged Infrastructure
Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors
Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors deliver optimized performance for demanding workloads. These processors power the applications running on your hyperconverged cluster, as well as storage I/O and data services such as deduplication, compression, and encryption. Intel invests in generational improvements in virtualization technologies to optimize performance and enable easy migration of virtual machines (VMs) between generations of Intel® processors. In addition, Intel® Volume Management Device (Intel® VMD) enables hot swap of NVMe SSDs while LED management helps simplify SSD status identification.
Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT)
Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) enables encryption and compression acceleration on standard platform solutions to help increase the performance of your hyperconverged infrastructure.
Intel® Optane™ Persistent Memory
Intel® Optane™ persistent memory is an innovative memory technology that delivers a unique combination of affordable large capacity and support for data persistence.
Intel® Solid State Drives (Intel® SSDs)
Intel® Optane™ SSDs deliver the low latency, high endurance, and quality of service required for metadata, caching, and tiering in hyperconverged solutions. Intel® 3D NAND SSDs supply high-capacity storage to enable a large number of workloads.
Intel® Ethernet Products
As deployments scale, the network becomes more critical to ensuring strong performance of hyperconverged infrastructure. Intel® Ethernet Network adapters, controllers, and accessories integrate virtualization technologies in hardware to deliver outstanding I/O and compute performance. Intelligent offloads leverage the computing power of the Intel® Xeon® processor where appropriate and implement complementary accelerations in the network controller.
Software Optimizations and Tools
Independent software vendors (ISVs) use Intel® tools and libraries to optimize their hyperconverged infrastructure software performance and efficiency.  Explore the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit and learn how to harness the full potential of AI and computer vision across multiple Intel® architectures.

Intel® Select Solutions

You can speed your hyperconverged infrastructure evaluation and selection with Intel® Select Solutions. These deployment-ready solutions for the data center have been verified for optimized performance on real-world workloads. They’ve been benchmark-tested to eliminate much of the guesswork for your IT team. Intel® Select Solutions are part of our collaboration with a broad ecosystem of hardware and software partners in data center technology.

By upgrading your data center to modern hyperconverged infrastructure, you can support ever-expanding workloads while managing your capital and operating costs. All this leads to an easier path to the hybrid cloud with scalable performance, centralized management, and improved orchestration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hyperconverged infrastructure combines compute, storage, and networking into a single physical server, or node. These nodes are highly scalable. More can be added as performance and capacity needs increase.

Hyperconverged infrastructure empowers the software-defined data center. It improves scalability and agility, offers flexibility in server configuration, and can help IT teams manage costs.

Servers are clustered into a pool of compute and storage resources over a standard Ethernet network. As a software-defined infrastructure, hyperconvergence offers a straightforward path to a private cloud or hybrid cloud.

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