It used to be that, when you bought a server with a NIC card and some internal or direct attached storage, it was simply called a server. If it had some tiered storage – different media with different performance characteristics and different capacities – and some intelligence for moving data across “tiers,” we called it an “enterprise server”. If the server and storage kit were clustered, we called it a high availability enterprise server. Over the past year, though, we have gone through a collective terminology refresh.
Today, you cobble together a server with some software-defined storage software, a hypervisor, and some internal or external flash and/or disk and the result is called “hyper-converged infrastructure.” Given the lack of consistency in what people mean when they say “hyper-converged,” we may be talking about any collection of gear and software that a vendor has “pre-integrated” before marking up the kit and selling it for a huge profit. Having recently requested information from so-called hyper-converged infrastructure vendors, I was amazed at some of the inquiries I received from would-be participants.