What is Hyper Converged Infrastructure?

NetApp® HCI is an enterprise-scale hyper converged infrastructure that delivers predictable performance on a highly flexible, efficient architecture that is simple to deploy and manage. With NetApp HCI, you can run multiple applications with predictable performance to confidently deploy a hybrid multicloud experience across your entire data center.

Unleash the true power of your infrastructure by simplifying management and independently scaling both compute and storage resources. Our hyper converged architecture is Data Fabric–ready out of the box so you can access all your data across any cloud—public, private, or hybrid.

How Does HCI Work?

Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) is a convergence of compute and storage infrastructure that is easy to deploy and manage with a single UI. HCI removes complex manual steps in deployment and is designed for simplicity. Because it is designed to be administered by virtualization or cloud administrators, HCI eliminates the need for team members with specialized hardware skills in storage, compute, or networking. It scales incrementally and is designed for a pay-as-you-go cost model.

Benefits of HCI

  • Predictability. One of the biggest challenges in any data center is delivering predictable results, especially in the face of proliferating applications and workloads. Any time you have multiple applications sharing the same infrastructure, it’s possible for one application to interfere with the performance of another. NetApp HCI solves predictability challenges with industry-leading performance capabilities that allow the granular control of every application. NetApp HCI’s performance settings eliminate resource contention and variable application performance.

  • Flexibility. The relentless pace of business change means you need maximum flexibility to adapt to any workload while using existing investments. NetApp HCI offers a highly configurable design that enables cloud-native application development and agile operations for virtualized environments. Innovate and deliver applications faster on a platform designed for the applications of today and tomorrow.

  • Simplicity. A common goal of IT organizations is to automate all routine tasks, eliminating the risk of user errors associated with manual operations. NetApp HCI streamlines installation so that it takes minutes instead of hours, and simple, centralized management with VMware lets you control NetApp HCI through tools you already use. NetApp HCI thus allows you to focus valuable resources on higher priorities that drive business growth.

NetApp HCI Versus Other Hyper Converged Systems

All hyper converged solutions must be easy to buy, be simple to control, and have consolidated management. All HCI must also make private cloud easy, provide a single vendor for support, provide pay-as-you-go expansion and economics, be easy to plan and scale, and respond rapidly to business demands. Different HCI vendors approach these business objectives differently.

NetApp HCI took an enterprise approach to the current HCI market by separating compute and storage in our architectures. No data center or application requires compute and storage at the same rate or ratio. NetApp HCI provides flexibility to scale your infrastructure according to what your data center and applications require. This predictable performance is based on an HCI industry first: quality of service (QoS) that guarantees minimum performance by application. NetApp HCI integrates with hybrid cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and our proprietary Data Fabric.

Traditional HCI vendors chose to deliver a shared core architecture that virtualized the storage operating system or integrated it into the hypervisor. Running this architecture can consume up to 30% of infrastructure costs, and this approach leads to unpredictable performance at utilization rates of 70% or above. Software licenses are charged when applications only need more capacity. Traditional HCI also requires dedicated hardware and awareness of the location of customer data to ensure an optimal experience. It is simple enough for single application, remote office deployments but quickly escalates into complexity in multiapplication scenarios.

Why NetApp for Hyper Converged Infrastructure

Gartner predicts that by 2020, “at least 20% of all business-critical applications will have moved from traditional infrastructure to HCI.”1 No other hyper convergence solution delivers enterprise-grade features like NetApp HCI. These features include no-tax efficiencies such as inline deduplication, inline compression, and postprocess compression turned on by default.

The NetApp HCI architecture is designed for workload consolidation and VMware private clouds. NetApp HCI can scale to 40 storage nodes and 64 compute nodes, so you can scale at the ratio and rate that the application needs for compute and storage.

To learn more about HCI architectures, read the white paper Not All Hyper Converged Infrastructure Solutions Are Created Equal.

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