A lot of companies have decided to build their own datacenters so that they can maintain a proper IT infrastructure for their business operations. However, over the years the traditional enterprise datacenters slowly became obsolete as technology continued to evolve.
Nowadays, traditional infrastructure is expensive, difficult to maintain, and lacking in scalability features, among other things. For instance, you’d need a lot of hardware to build a data center on the company’s premises.
That hardware would include physical servers to host web applications, email servers, DNS, domains, separate storages, failover clusters, and many more. Considering the fact that cloud computing exists today, creating such data centers is pointless.
Still, there are companies that want their highly scalable enterprise datacenters and they want them built fast and efficiently. Fortunately, the solution comes in the form of a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). With that in mind, here’s how to build a datacenter using HCI.
What is HCI?
In IT, hyper-convergence refers to a framework that combines computing power, storage, networking, and software into a single system. This system was created in an attempt to overcome issues that traditional infrastructures have, such as high data center complexity and low scalability.
Therefore, HCI is a software-centric architecture that combines all resources through virtualization and it’s stored in an x86 hardware. These off-the-shelf servers with 4-layer stacks offer more computing power, cost savings, and reduced rack space. All they need to function is a hypervisor that encompasses virtualized computing.
Implementing the HCI
HCI usually consists of a minimum of three hardware nodes for high availability and all the integrated technologies can be managed from a single system with an adequate toolkit. Now, you can obtain the necessary equipment from a single vendor or obtain the standalone software from another vendor if you have existing x86 servers.
However, it’s always better to opt for a single and reliable hyper-converged infrastructure vendor so that you can ensure proper benefits, costs, and deployment options. Moreover, before you proceed, you must determine your business needs so that HCI you’ve opted for can meet those needs. For example, here are a few things you should consider.
- How much computing power will you need? (CPU and RAM to support virtual machines (VMs))
- How much storage space will you need?
- How many replicas of your data will you need actively available? (Required for high availability)
- Will you be spreading data across two datacenters for increased redundancy?
- How many hypervisor flavors will you need? (Hyper-V, ESXi, etc.)
Once you’ve decided on the hardware needs, you must decide how many nodes to implement. As mentioned before, HCI works with a minimum of 3 nodes but it can be scaled vertically by adding additional nodes. For instance, in case of a disaster where you lose some of the nodes you want the rest of the nodes to be able to take the workload and keep the VMs running 24/7. Once that’s done, the proper hypervisor has to be installed on each node.
Benefits of using HCI
HCI technology is very flexible, which is ideal for businesses that require solutions based on their current needs. In other words, HCI is budget-friendly and you can customize it the way you see fit. For instance, in most cases, 80% of costs go to hardware while 20% of costs are software related. However, this allows you to mix the right levels of hardware/software to meet your current business needs.
This is based on the amount of performance you want from your HCI. Scalability comes in the form of stacking nodes. As mentioned before, each stack combines resources so adding one node means computing power and storage combined. Scaling down simply means removing a node if you no longer need it. Here are a few more benefits of using HCI:
- Can be easily deployed in minutes
- High-performance infrastructure (Large storage space, fast networking throughput, fast read/write speed, etc.)
- Up to 70% reduction in overall CapEx (Capital Expenditure) and OpEx (Operating Expenses)
- Up to 90% reduction in power, cooling, and space
- Enhanced security (Distributed firewall and other cybersecurity measures)
- Simplified on-demand IT framework and distributed management platform
Difference between converged and hyper-converged infrastructure
Converged infrastructure is hardware-focused, while hyper-converged infrastructure is software-focused. This doesn’t seem like much of a difference, especially since both infrastructures are extremely beneficial, depending on business requirements.
However, one fundamental difference between these two is that converged infrastructure offers no integration between the host and storage layers. On the other hand, hyper-converged infrastructure provides higher integration between layers and components within the box and it does it well through software.
This means more benefits, features, and options. For example, you can have a full overview of all the storage space and free space. You can then decide to move virtual disks between the nodes without interrupting VMs.
Building an enterprise datacenter in a fast and efficient way is not only possible but also available for all businesses that wish to do so. The HCI technology offers businesses a way to host their IT needs on-premise while overcoming all the issues that came with traditional data centers.
Author’s Bio: Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.