What is it?
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure that virtualizes all of the elements of conventional "hardware-defined" systems, such as compute, networking and storage. HCI is implemented via hypervisor platform, such as VMware vSAN, KVM or Microsoft Hyper-V for virtualized computing, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking. HCI is typically run on standard, off-the-shelf servers equipped with Direct-Attached Storage (DAS).
Why you need it?
The aim of HCI is to reduce data center complexity, since all physical and virtual resources are managed via a single administrative platform – the hypervisor. Using this platform, multiple nodes can be clustered together to create pools of shared compute and storage resources, designed for convenient consumption. By simplifying management and increasing resource utilization rates, HCI can eliminate many inefficiencies and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).
The virtualized and consolidated nature of HCI also allows for increased scalability – the capacity of the system can easily be expanded by deploying additional modules.
Who needs it?
Due the simplification of IT resource administration and convergence of compute, storage and networking systems, HCI can be particularly appealing to small businesses or companies with limited IT personnel. A company needs to only purchase one physical server rather than several server and storage units. In addition, the simplified management of HCI (such as reducing storage management complexity and a simple dashboard to show CPU, memory and storage utilization rates) allows for the reduction in operational expenses and personnel.
How is GIGABYTE helpful?
GIGABYTE offers a large variety of Hyper-Converged Systems – multi-node server systems designed especially for HCI that combine dense compute capacity, storage and expansion slot availability for add-on networking, GPU compute or other add-on functionality. Different models are available both for Intel Xeon, AMD EPYC and even Marvell ThunderX2 (Arm). These systems are ideal for customers who want to implement HCI using their own choice of hypervisor platform.
In addition, GIGABYTE has partnered with several different HCI software platform vendors, such as Bigtera (VirtualStor Converger) or Diaway (Virtuozzo Infrastructure Platform) to offer a more complete hardware / software HCI turnkey package.
As environmental protection is becoming a pressing issue in recent years due to climate change and global warming, data centers – which traditionally consume a huge amount of electricity – are being designed to better meet the goals of energy efficiency and carbon reduction. When a national aerospace center in Europe wanted to expand their data center, with a requirement for servers that could maintain normal operation in an ambient temperature environment of 40°C without the need for air conditioning systems, GIGABYTE’s server team provided a solution with Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI), combining compute, storage and networking into a single system, and equipped with liquid cooling technology to successfully overcome the harsh high temperature environment, enabling the data center to efficiently process an enormous amount of space-related research data within a limited space.