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Overview

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization

INTRODUCTION 

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is growing in popularity due to its ability to consolidate and simplify compute, storage, and network infrastructure for business-critical applications. As organizations contemplate HCI investments, many are looking to avoid proprietary lock-in—and traditional proprietary storage solutions. 

Built on the strengths of Red Hat Virtualization®, Red Hat Gluster® Storage, and Red Hat Ansible® Automation, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization simplifies planning and procurement, streamlines deployment and management, and provides a single life-cycle experience for virtual compute and virtual storage resources. Compute, storage, and management components are all open source, and organizations can choose among industry-standard hardware or implement validated configurations that best meet their workload needs. 

With advanced data reduction capabilities, virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU) support, and software-defined networking functionality, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization empowers organizations to: 

  • Deploy an open and versatile software-defined infrastructure with minimum footprint. 
  • Easily virtualize business applications, maximizing resource utilization through infrastructure consolidation and resulting operational efficiencies. 
  • Manage integrated compute-plus-storage resources with a single management interface. 

RED HAT HYPERCONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR VIRTUALIZATION 

Virtualized compute and storage resources are increasingly in demand by a broad range of internal corporate stakeholders, including departmental and lines of business teams, DevTest operators, and teams running remote facilities in industries such as retail or manufacturing. Often these remote operations include untrained IT professionals or individuals whose primary responsibility is not IT. These organizations are in need of solutions with a reduced physical footprint. They also require simplified procurement, deployment, manageability, and backup. 

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization is comprised of industry-proven components of the Red Hat stack. These components are specially configured to be deployed on the same servers, reducing physical footprint, saving deployment time, and streamlining the overall operations process. As an enterprise open source solution fueled by a thriving community, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization offers considerable flexibility in the range of configurations that it can deploy. It achieves that flexibility in part by using the proven foundation of: 

  • Red Hat Virtualization, an open, software-defined platform that virtualizes Linux® and Microsoft Windows workloads. Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), it virtualizes resources, processes, and applications—yielding a stable foundation for a cloud-native and containerized future.
  • Red Hat Gluster Storage, a software-defined storage platform designed to handle high-capacity tasks like virtualization. Unlike traditional storage systems, Red Hat Gluster Storage scales across bare metal, virtual, container, and cloud deployments.

  • Red Hat Ansible Automation, a simple, agentless IT automation technology that can improve current processes, migrate applications for better optimization, and provide a single language for DevOps practices across the organization. 

As depicted in Figure 1, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization dramatically simplifies traditional network, compute, and storage infrastructure, yielding substantial benefits that include: 

  • Savings from infrastructure consolidation, standardization, and price.
  • Smaller initial investment for proofs of concept. 
  • Easier procurement via a prepackaged product. 
  • Simplified deployment, management, and upgrades. 
  • Streamlined purchasing and support with a single vendor relationship. 
  • Built-in predictability from use case-specific performance and testing.
image container Figure 1. Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization helps consolidate network, compute, and storage infrastructure.

DATA REDUCTION, VGPU SUPPORT, AND VIRTUAL NETWORKING 

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization includes robust data reduction capabilities provided by deduplication and compression. The solution also adds support for vGPUs and software-defined networking, as described in the sections that follow. 

  • Data reduction. Organizations with large numbers of virtual machines need ways to reduce the redundancy of the data they store. Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization is designed to reduce the costs associated with the accumulation of large amounts of data. The solution integrates the Virtual Data Optimization (VDO) module for the Linux device mapper as supplied in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The VDO module provides in-line, real-time, block-level deduplication and compression at the 4KB level as well as management of VDO data reduction. 
  • vGPU support. Oil and gas companies and others need ways to deliver complex graphics with strong performance in virtualized environments. By supporting vGPUs, the solution allows organizations to increase visual clarity, improve performance, and decrease lag time when delivering virtualized graphics to users at remote sites. 
  • Open Network Virtualization (OVN). Software-defined networking is a critical component of hyperconverged infrastructure. OVN is an open source virtual switching project that separates the physical network topology from the logical network. OVN improves scalability and facilitates live migration of virtual networking components without hypervisor intervention. 

DEPLOYMENT AND MANAGEMENT 

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization improves operational efficiencies through the consolidation of underlying servers. For example, three virtualization hosts and three storage hosts—with their management infrastructure—can be consolidated into three physical servers with a single management interface. Table 1 lists deployment and management features of Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization. 

TABLE 1. RED HAT HYPERCONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR VIRTUALIZATION FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY

FEATURE FUNCTIONALITY
Central virtual resource management  The solution provides central management for compute, network, and storage resources via integration with web-based Red Hat Virtualization Manager, with a RESTful application programming interface (API) that also extends management and orchestration capabilities to tools such as Red Hat CloudForms.
Security and hardening Secure virtualization (sVirt) and Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) technologies help protect the hypervisor against attacks aimed at the host or virtual machines. Red Hat Virtualization Manager also supports network encryption, using transport layer security (TLS) and secure sockets layer (SSL) for authentication and authorization at both virtualization and storage layers.
Highly available resources Preconfiguration of Red Hat Virtualization Manager and three-way replication with Red Hat Gluster Storage provides high availability and data protection.
Automation and integration  Red Hat Ansible Automation offers configuration of virtual resources, such as compute, network, and storage. Red Hat CloudForms can orchestrate and monitor events for an even more streamlined operation.
Support for multiple guest operating systems Full support is provided for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, 6, and 7. Support is also available for Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2016, and desktop systems Windows 7 and 10. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, 11, and 12 are also supported.
Automation and customization A RESTful API allows for automation management and programmatic configuration.

CONCLUSION 

Delivered in an open software subscription model and built on robust and proven elements of the Red Hat stack, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization helps avoid costly proprietary licensing and lock-in. Beyond infrastructure consolidation, the solution offers sophisticated data reduction, vGPU support, and software-defined networking to make the most of virtualized environments. Organizations can depend on Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Virtualization for their important infrastructure consolidation projects.