michelangelus - Fotolia
Hyper-converged infrastructure benefits virtualized workloads by simplifying resource provisioning and management, easing capacity planning and troubleshooting, and enforcing security and compliance practices.
As with any virtualization, the software layer at the heart of any HCI platform decouples resources from the underlying hardware. This provides fluidity and flexibility in the way that IT administrators deploy and protect workloads within the HCI scope. It's easy to move workloads and establish high-availability configurations to protect VMs.
This notion of workload migration is certainly not new, but the ability to pool resources and organize those resources into tiers is one of the major hyper-converged infrastructure benefits. With HCI, admins don't really know -- or care -- where the system deploys the workload. The HCI platform finds all of the available resources on any underlying hardware within its scope and then categorizes those resources according to performance, cost or other criteria. This offers another level of abstraction for admins.
Now instead of provisioning a VM on Server A with a certain number of vCPUs and other resources, the admin -- or even the workload owner -- can simply request an instance for a desired workload type at a desired performance level, and the HCI platform can use automation and orchestration to provision the requested instance within the limits of established policy. This is sometimes dubbed cloud-like operation.
But these behaviors offer additional hyper-converged infrastructure benefits for the business. Since HCI is geared toward workloads rather than resources, the notion of IT silos is now basically obsolete. The system handles compute, storage, network and management together as a single ubiquitous environment that a single IT staff manages through a single pane of glass. Comprehensive logging and reporting can speed tasks such as capacity planning and troubleshooting.
In addition, the use and enforcement of policies helps organizations maintain security and compliance. For example, policies in the provisioning process might include setting safe and well-tested firewall configurations. Well-conceived policies can help a business validate its compliance posture by ensuring that admins provision resources in an efficient manner and perform sensitive tasks the same way every time.
Ultimately, HCI is another step forward down the path toward a software-defined data center, which can facilitate private -- and eventually hybrid -- cloud environments.
Dig Deeper on Server hardware and virtualization
Related Q&A from Stephen J. Bigelow
Learn how load balancing in the cloud differs from a traditional network traffic distribution, and explore services available from AWS, Google and ... Continue Reading
Access management is critical to securing the cloud. Understand the differences between AWS IAM roles and users to properly restrict access to AWS ... Continue Reading
Containers have rapidly come into focus as a popular option for deploying applications, but they have limitations and are fundamentally different ... Continue Reading