Converged and hyper-converged systems offer compute, networking, and storage in an easy-to-deploy and scalable form. Having a single point of contact when difficulties arise is a big positive to these systems. These systems also typically have a unified management interface, the result of the software which is the ‘secret sauce’ behind each offering. Since compute, storage, and network components are software-defined, managing them from a single pane of glass is a much simpler process than connecting with each component separately. An administrator can get a high-level view of how the system is running from the main dashboard, then drill down into the components to pinpoint desired performance data.
Evaluating Converged and Hyper-Converged Systems
When evaluating converged and hyper-converged systems, consider the manufacturers’ reputations for the various components, including the software. While some makers such as Nutanix have carved out a niche with their software, other well-known hardware manufacturers have made the focus their own hardware and partnered with other companies to obtain the software piece of the solution. With appliance-based configurations, sometimes the maker of one or more of the components is left out of the discussion altogether.
For New Deployments
It is important to note that most often converged and hyper-converged systems are new deployments – just because you have some of the pieces of a converged or hyper-converged solution already in your data center doesn’t mean that you can necessarily connect your existing hardware and infrastructure and make it into a manufacturer-approved solution. An initial deployment has to be of a minimum size to ensure redundancy; afterwards, scalability of compute, storage etc. is more flexible.
To Approximate Converged with Existing Hardware
With software one can approximate a converged solution with existing x86 servers and storage. This DIY option is attractive when current hardware still has life left but an updated management interface is desired to streamline admin processes.
Cisco UCS Compute
Dell PowerEdge Servers
VMware VSAN Storage
Cisco UCS Compute
IBM Storwize Storage
IBM + Nutanix
IBM Power servers
Lenovo + Nutanix
HX Series Appliances
Lenovo SystemX Compute
Lenovo Storage, Networking