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What Is Hyperconverged Storage?

Hyperconverged storage denotes a software-defined approach to storage management combining storage, compute, virtualization, and networking technologies into one integral unit using the same hardware. Each storage node in the cluster runs identical virtualization software.

Resources are virtualized on one node and shared with other nodes in the cluster providing clustered applications with a unified storage pool. The latter is centrally managed and monitored through a single console.

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HYPERCONVERGENCE IN A NUTSHELL

Converged vs Hyperconverged Storage

There is quite a significant difference when it comes to converged storage and hyperconverged storage. At a minimum, they differ in compilation, configuration, functionality, management, and scalability.

Converged Storage Hyperconverged Storage
Form Storage, networking, and compute components are pre-packaged into chosen server rack size and form from which they can be separated. Resources are presented as a software-defined network where the components are tightly integrated and cannot be separated from one another.
Storage Storage comes as a unit and is dedicated to a specifically designated compute node and not the cluster. Storage is connected to the node and shared with the general storage pool for the entire cluster.
Scalability Resources can be removed from and added to the server / datacenter rack in a granular scaling fashion. Resources function as an organic system, so scaling usually happens by adding new modules or nodes.
Resource Management Storage is managed separately but can be partially administered using hypervisor-level storage policies. Management of other resources often requires many other applications to service various infrastructure sections and calls for dedicated capacity. Hyperconverged platforms include hypervisor, software-defined storage, and virtualized networking that run on regular commodity hardware. All virtualized resources are managed through a single-pane-of-glass management web UI.
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Hyperconverged Infrastructure at Work

Hyperconverged Storage Pros and Cons

Like everything other in our lives, there are advantages and disadvantages to hyperconverged storage as well. Luckily, the disadvantages are few and rather nominal.

When it comes to hyperconverged storage pros:

  • High IT Agility.

    Companies start using the benefits of virtualization and automation, which greatly enhance IT resource distribution simplicity and efficacy.

  • Cost-Efficiency.

    Businesses can build hyperconverged storage systems from any readily available commodity x86 hardware to their taste and budget.

  • Simplified Routine.

    IT personnel are liberated from the tiresome storage provisioning and other ineffective routines in favor of innovation and leisure.

When it comes to hyperconverged storage cons:

  • Nuanced Scalability.

    Depending on the virtualization software and vendor, scalability can be limited to only adding a whole new node instead of granular scaling.

  • Vendor Lock-in.

    HCI industry giants tend to practice rigid hardware compatibility lists (HCLs), restricting scalability options and causing high unnecessary costs.

  • Feature Paywalls.

    Big HCI industry players set feature paywalls for most desirable features, like High Availability and Fault Tolerance, squeezing out more customer money.

Thankfully, these cons don't apply to StarWind. Hyperconverged storage from StarWind brings all the desired features with each license in a transparent manner.

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difference between software & hardware hci

Use Cases

Hyperconverged storage may be used to provision more impactful and well-rounded storage resources to your applications, in a general fashion. However, the abilities of hyperconverged storage, thanks to virtualization, are endless. Some of the options are much more suited and will get you the best bang for your buck.

Hyperconverged storage may be used to provision more impactful and well-rounded storage resources to your applications, in a general fashion. However, the abilities of hyperconverged storage, thanks to virtualization, are endless. Some of the options are much more suited and will get you the best bang for your buck.

Hyperconverged storage can be useful for, but not limited to, such use cases:

  • Server resources virtualization
  • ROBO and Edge deployments
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure
  • Data backup and disaster recovery
  • Public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud
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legacy and modern datacenter approach

StarWind Is a Leading Hyperconvergence Hardware Vendor

StarWind delivers software-defined storage and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions designed to build high-performing, flexible, and fault-tolerant IT infrastructures for Enterprise ROBO, SMB and Edge.

StarWind’s recognition as one of the leading HCI vendors was confirmed by its inclusion in the 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Hyperconverged Infrastructure. StarWind was also a Customer's Choice in Gartner® Peer Insights: 'Voice of the Customer' for HCI 2020.

Being one of the leading hyperconverged vendors, StarWind offers the following building blocks for your hyperconverged infrastructure:

Cost-Efficiency

Hyperconvergence vendors provide pencil out solutions that are free from large initial costs and eliminate the need to purchase expensive IT infrastructure components every few years. The hyperconverged platform is built on easy-on-the-pocket commodity hardware, while a building-block approach makes it simple to expand and scale IT infrastructure as needed.

Automation and Simple Support

Hyperconvergence implies consolidating all data center resources and integrating centralized management tools — automation. Hyperconvergence provides a unified approach to procurement, operations, and support. It also means updates simplicity. The client has only one hyper converged infrastructure vendor that provides new features in updated software.

High-Level Data Protection

Hyperconverged software operates to anticipate and handle the factor of hardware failure. Using commodity hardware, the client benefits from built-in failure avoidance and availability options. StarWind HCA includes backup, recovery, and disaster recovery functions out of the box. Hyperconverged technology provides for three-in-one real-time data protection.

Increased Performance

Hyperconverged network technologies allow deploying many types of applications and workloads in a single pool of shared resources. Hyperconverged storage cluster easily handles both random and sequential workloads. Even the most intense applications get the IOPS they require. Performance in hyperconverged architecture only increases.

Dab Hand IT Team

Hyperconvergence management software is all about managing VMs running on hyperconverged architecture without worrying about the fine-tuning of storage or networking for each VM. Any system administrator can work with HCI solutions: installation and configuration are easy and intuitive. Help is also provided by a dedicated IT expert team.

Infrastructure Resiliency

Converged infrastructures, even with in-built disaster-resistance (DR) options, are highly susceptible to technical or human error. While data before a crash can be retained, other parts of the infrastructure will suffer and maintenance will cause downtime. HCIs, thanks to cloud resources, replication, and other cache technologies allow your environment to work perpetually in case of disaster.

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HARMONIZATION INSTEAD OF SEPARATION

Hyperconverged Storage FAQ

Hyperconverged infrastructure vendors

Apart from StarWind, there are many hyperconverged infrastructure vendors out there. All of them are dependable. However, how they structure their business strategies, customer support, and customer satisfaction priority is another question. Other hyperconverged infrastructure vendors include: Nutanix, VMware, Microsoft, HPE, Dell, StorMagic, Scale Computing, and others.

For more information on HCI vendors, latest developments in and most likely prospects for the HCI market in the nearest future, check out Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for HCI 2021.

What is Hyperconverged secondary storage?

Hyperconverged secondary storage refers to non-production storage being unified and harmonized by HCI software. Instead of merging compute, networking, and storage (like in nodes for production environment), HCI merges non-primary storage into a unified pool for data backup, data archival, and disaster resistance. This greatly skyrockets its optimization, performance, and cost-efficiency.

StarWind SAN & NAS software-defined storage provides such an ability while also including extremely easy, unified monitoring and operation options.

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