In a hyper converged infrastructure, some of the main functions typical of a data center are structured and managed at a software level without the need (to be verified) to acquire and manage specific hardware. The main elements that distinguish a hyper-converged platform are virtualized storage, networking, and computing, supervised by suitable management software.
In the traditional data center, there is an implementation of technologies dedicated to storage supported by machines dedicated to processing. In contrast, the hyper-converged data center marries a different concept, in which the resources of a few physical machines are available to software that manages them according to computational needs or virtual instance storage. Hyperconvergence, therefore, leads to leaner infrastructures, with fewer physical machines per data center, all made possible by a high optimization of resources.
The management software performs the task of a real abstraction of physical resources, making them available to managed virtual machines or containers. This assignment occurs dynamically based on the needs of a virtual machine or container; hence the first advantage of hyper-convergence emerges, capable of offering high operational flexibility with the possibility of allocating resources in an extremely dynamic way.
Through the management software, it is also possible to monitor the total amount of resources used, thus having full control over the infrastructure and any need for upgrades which will benefit from extremely high scalability. Indeed, it is good practice to size the data center infrastructure for the expected workload: the need for additional resources for a hyper-converged data center is achieved by integrating new servers with existing machines in the data center. The management software will immediately make new hardware resources available for new containers or virtual machines.
Scalability of this type allows considerable simplifications of the data center: at a strategic level, investments can be made for the purchase of a certain number of servers with identical characteristics to the benefit of management and maintenance operations. By identifying the standard attributes of one’s own machine, it will also be possible to access economic advantages when purchasing volumes.
If, on the other hand, there is a momentary drop in the load and some physical machines are no longer needed, it will also be possible to shut down these resources. In this way, there will be an economic saving due to reduced energy consumption and the heat generated; however, these machines can be reactivated and configured by the management software when more storage or computing resources are needed.
By shifting the focus to security, a hyper-converged solution offers important advantages. By its very nature, a hyper-converged solution tends to optimize and limit the number of physical machines in the data center, so even on the security front, it will be necessary to supervise and operate on a smaller number of machines. Furthermore, these machines will be connected and organized in an all in all simple way: they will in fact have to make computational and storage resources available to the management software which will then have the task of carrying out the abstraction we have already talked about.
As far as hyper-convergence is concerned, there is one last advantage that concerns the possibility of supporting the new solutions also with existing data centers: the hyper-converged environment will support the traditional data center, and the workloads can be performed in the best environment. In a similar scenario, it will also be possible to plan controlled migration from the old data center to the hyper converged infrastructure: once this operation is completed, the management software alone will govern the entire data center.
Hyperconvergence has the ability to take control and manage operations extremely granularly, considering hardware resources as entities that can be aggregated and do not depend on a single physical machine. The management software will create the necessary virtual machines and virtual storage volumes, materializing a well-defined virtual infrastructure. In case of problems and in situations where the disaster recovery plan is applied, this virtual infrastructure can be easily replicated, even in other sites or through other providers, with the possibility of exploiting cloud technologies.
These replication options can be useful not only in crisis scenarios but also in order to manage temporary situations and anomalous and short-lived workloads. Once again, the great level of flexibility that hyper-convergence solutions make possible emerges, flexibility applied to different and multiple economic and technical aspects.
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