Tech Corner

Benefits and Challenges of a Hyper-converged Infrastructure

The traditional on-premise data center is getting a makeover. Many enterprises are moving to the cloud, but many still want to maintain the granular control and access that on-premise infrastructure provides. 

So can there be a middle ground? Hyper-converged infrastructure, or HCI, is the answer!

Hyper-converged infrastructure taps into the ongoing trend in enterprise technology where software is leading the way. Unlike the old way of organizing servers and storage, data centers are looking into software-defined solutions to get the most out of their rather expensive equipment. 

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • What the case is for HCI and data centers.
  • How it is different from the cloud.
  • How it can benefit organizations.
  • What challenges they may face as they make the leap.

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What Is Hyperconverged Infrastructure? 

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) integrates cloud computing technology with on-premise hardware, bringing together the entire data center stack, including servers, storage, and other networking equipment.

Difference in a non-converged, converged, and hyper-converged network infrastructure

It combines or converges the infrastructure into a distributed platform with smart software at the helm that creates flexible blocks to replace separate servers and storage. In other words, it distributes resources via software to legacy servers with attached storage devices, like disk or flash. In even simpler terms, it combines legacy networking with virtualization. 

The operating stack in this scenario is hypervisors and software-defined storage, along with other software-defined management layers that essentially create a cloud experience with on-premise infrastructure, eliminating the need for using cloud providers. 

Data centers can size workloads better and scale up more easily. With operating functions distributed, the infrastructure performance improves considerably. 

With HCI, different hardware configurations are possible as per the workload requirement. For instance, workloads that don’t require GPU can be provisioned without GPU. A single interface allows administration, making the management of clusters simple. 

HCI essentially replaces legacy servers and arrays with modular blocks that offer flexibility and scalability. It’s a modern way of doing things that’s more streamlined and, of course, software-driven.

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HCI vs. Cloud

HCI is both similar and distinct from the cloud. Unlike the cloud, or particularly the public cloud, HCI leverages cloud computing with on-premise infrastructure, like a private cloud. 

The main distinction is that enterprises don’t own hardware with a public cloud. Instead, they set up their applications on the cloud provider's infrastructure. While that’s pretty common today, in many scenarios, enterprises may still want to have the autonomy of choosing the hardware. 

Secondly, setting up applications on the public cloud requires skills that teams that have been working with traditional on-premise architecture may not have. That’s why businesses end up hiring specialists when moving to the cloud. 

Like the cloud, HCI uses the same distributed system technology to bring flexibility and scalability to traditional data centers. In simpler words, it enables companies to build their private cloud that benefits from the many benefits of cloud computing. 

Combining HCI with a public cloud in a hybrid cloud approach is also possible. Such an architecture would allow applications and data to move between private and public clouds swiftly, tapping the benefits of both. 

Benefits of HCI

There are several benefits for enterprises with an on-premise data center that adopt HCI. 

Cloud Integration

Cloud migration can unlock higher optimization and productivity. 

However, migrating to the cloud isn’t cheap. Costs may prevent enterprises from adopting the cloud. According to McKinsey, $100 billion spent on cloud migration would go to waste in the current decade. 

Data centers, especially those with huge infrastructures, can take months to migrate. They also have to deal with disposing of their assets. HCI can reduce these costs by bringing the same software solutions cloud providers to rely on to use your existing infrastructure. 

With HCI, data centers can leverage the proven benefits of the cloud without giving up their precious infrastructure. 


Traditional data centers are vulnerable to storage silos. One benefit of the cloud, and by extension HCI, is simplifying design and provisioning. With today’s applications utilizing data-hungry technologies like AI and ML, there’s no time for the slow provisioning of resources. 

HCI makes it simple for data centers to manage resources and provide users with the necessary resources. 


Consider the benefit of scalability as an extension of the simplification. As HCI simplifies provisioning, it’s easier for data centers to scale up or down as and when needed. As everything is software-defined, scaling resources per the applications' needs is quick and easy. 

This is particularly beneficial for smaller data centers as they can better predict when they might need to scale up infrastructure and do so when the time is right. 

Reduced Tech Footprint

Enterprises constantly look for ways to reduce their IT footprint for various reasons (lack of space, cost saving, reducing carbon emissions, etc.). While HCI doesn’t reduce your IT footprint directly as you retain equipment, it does so indirectly by preventing companies from spending unnecessarily on acquiring new equipment. As your existing infrastructure gets optimized, the need to buy more equipment reduces. 

Better Disaster Recovery

HCI also improves data backups and redundancy, which in turn, makes disaster recovery efforts quicker. With a single interface for management, it’s easier to ensure that critical data is being backed up constantly. And with the help of software, backups can be done faster. 

Powerful HCI software can deduplicate and compress data at a fast rate. Similarly, recovering data is also just as fast. So when push comes to shove, you have all your data backed, making recovery easy. 

Challenges with HCI

Adopting HCI is relatively more straightforward than migrating to the cloud fully. Yet, it has its challenges. 

Particularly in cases of hybrid clouds, HCI may not work as effortlessly with a public cloud in all environments. Determining how resources are shared across different systems and which workloads are sent to the public cloud can be challenging. 

HCI relies on the infrastructure you own, unlike a public cloud. This means the onus of maintaining the equipment is on you. 

HCI brings legacy servers into the mix, which is great but not without cons. As legacy servers running beyond the end of service life don’t have OEM maintenance, it’s crucial to have maintenance from a third party. 

Lastly, as you move forward with HCI, it’s easier to come under a vendor lock-in, as you purchase components from the same manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues. 

Maintain Your Hyperconverged Infrastructure With OneCall

HCI is worth investing in for data centers with on-premise infrastructure, especially legacy servers that can be made much better with virtualization. However, even your hyper-converged infrastructure is only as good as the underlying hardware. And you need reliable maintenance to ensure that hardware is always available.

OneCall is the ultimate maintenance solution for data centers, providing coverage for major vendors. From large servers to more ubiquitous networking equipment, OneCall can help maintain all your infrastructure. You can use short-term maintenance for legacy equipment that’s not covered by the OEM anymore. 

Managing maintenance contracts becomes seamless with the OneHub dashboard included with OneCall. It brings all your maintenance agreements in one place, allowing management to monitor all infrastructure components. Maintain your hyper-converged infrastructure with OneCall today!

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