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Understanding hyperconverged infrastructure

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Hyperconvergence is a software-defined approach to your whole infrastructure. A hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) provides advantages for remote offices, small datacenter deployments and private clouds, as well as for development testing and edge computing applications.

Hyperconvergence is an approach to IT infrastructure that consolidates compute, storage and networking resources into a unified system. A hyperconverged infrastructure consists of compute resources (virtual machines) managed with a hypervisor, software-defined storage, and software-defined networking. Hyperconvergence of virtualized resources allows you to manage your resources from a single, unified interface.

With software-defined compute and storage integrated together, you can reduce data center complexity and footprint and support more modern workloads with flexible architectures on industry-standard hardware.

The software-defined-everything approach of hyperconvergence calls for virtualizing storage infrastructure. Unlike traditional network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) systems, software-defined storage is designed to perform on any x86 system, removing the software’s dependence on proprietary hardware. This approach creates a software layer between the physical storage and the data request—allowing you to manipulate how and where data is stored.

Like storage, software-defined networking (SDN) virtualizes networking functions in a hyperconverged infrastructure. SDN allows an IT operations team to control network traffic in complex networking topologies through a centralized panel instead of handling each network device manually.

Hyperconverged infrastructures use a hypervisor, like KVM, to manage the virtualized resources of the infrastructure. A hypervisor, sometimes called a virtual machine monitor (VMM), isolates the hypervisor operating system and resources from the virtual machines and enables the creation and management of those virtual machines.

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