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What Is Converged Infrastructure (CI)?

Benefits of Converged Infrastructure

The primary benefit of converged infrastructure is to scale and bring new services to market rapidly. This is done through simplifying deployments, validating configurations, and providing lower costs. Simplifying deployments with preset modular configurations gives speed and agility for new service deployments. Validating configurations reduces guesswork and provides templates for new application instances. Costs can be lowered by reducing hours for repetitive installation tasks and system testing. Standardized components can also lower costs by reducing infrastructure silos and therefore consolidating infrastructure.

CI vs. HCI

Converged Infrastructure solutions were developed to simplify the deployment of compute, network, and storage resources. Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions share the same goal, with a different approach. Although exact implementations and definitions may vary, Hyper Converged Infrastructure is typically built with software defined compute, storage and networking. Converged infrastructure simplifies the deployment of best in class hardware for compute, storage and networking. Hyper Converged Infrastructure is often deployed on commodity components; providing a simplified scale out architecture with commodity servers.

How Do You Deploy Converged Infrastructure?

The primary ways of deploying converged infrastructure are as a reference architecture and as a pre-racked configuration.

  • Reference architectures are pre-validated configuration guidelines that provide blueprints for type, quantity, and connectivity of converged system resources. This approach allows for rapid, trusted configurations that can leverage existing equipment. Compute, storage, and network resources are allocated and deployed according to vendor blueprint requirements and recommendations. With this approach, individual components can be easily scaled up or out as required by application administrators.
  • Pre-racked configurations have the compute, storage, and network components pre-installed in a data center rack. The components are often also pre-connected and cabled for rapid turn-up. This approach further accelerates deployments but often allows for scale-out only scalability.

NetApp offers key partnerships to help our customers easily deploy best in class components as a complete data center platform


FlexPod SF extends the FlexPod family by combining NetApp SolidFire storage with Cisco compute and networking to deliver a next-generation data center platform.

Flexpod Solutions

FlexPod combines NetApp storage with Cisco compute and networking to deliver an industry leading, proven converged systems platform.


NFLEX is a new partnership combining Fujitsu servers with NetApp storage for a pre-installed converged infrastructure platform.