Hyper-convergence is the latest stage in the evolution of data center infrastructure, and it promises to remove the storage roadblocks that impact the speed and efficiency of service delivery.

Businesses need to ensure higher levels of uptime and availability so that users can access essential data at any time. And, they need to deliver enterprise-class performance and access across national or international boundaries.

Data volumes growing

While maintaining access is a priority, IT teams also have to cope with the increasing volumes of data that have to be stored for efficient archiving, discovery, decision-making, compliance and support for key business processes.

In legacy or converged infrastructures, where storage and compute resources are separate, scalability is slow and expensive. A solution that offers improved scalability and flexibility is essential.

Scalability essential

Hyper-convergence meets these requirements by combining compute, storage, network and virtualization resources in a single software-defined system. Hyper-convergence is highly scalable, eliminating the need for surplus capacity, and it offers additional benefits for essential storage functions such as data backup, archiving, deduplication, recovery and restore.

When Hyper-convergence appliances scale, they add all the resources needed to support storage and its associated services. When legacy system storage reached full capacity, IT had to purchase additional units.

Dynamic scaling

With Hyper-convergence that’s no longer the case. All resources are aggregated to create homogenous resource pools that enable dynamic scaling. There are cost savings too because Hyper-convergence uses commodity servers rather than dedicated storage arrays.

Gartner comments that the Hyper-convergence approach to storage has great potential to replace small to mid-size disk arrays in virtualized environments. However, they point out that it may be less effective for large mission-critical applications.

More storage benefits

Where the comparative costs of Hyper-convergence and disk arrays are similar, it’s important to look at the other benefits Hyper-convergence brings to storage.

Data integrity, for example, is higher because Hyper-convergence platforms offer greater failure tolerance. Data protection is implemented across multiple nodes, which means that integrity would not be affected by failure in a single node.

Hyper-convergence supports demands for faster recovery time objectives and tighter back-up windows. It incorporates inline data deduplication at the time of ingestion, which is cost-effective and efficient compared to the traditional post-process facility.

Combining these benefits with the agility and scalability of Hyper-convergence provides a solution that helps IT meet demands for uptime and availability.

Hyperscale goes further

There is another stage of evolution on the horizon that could take scalability and flexibility even further. Organizations with massive data storage requirements such as Amazon or Google use hyperscale storage to build big data or cloud systems.

Hyperscale is a distributed environment in which the storage controller and arrays are separated. Data centers use large numbers commodity virtual servers, rather than physical servers whose cost would be prohibitive.

Although few small and medium businesses face the same storage challenges as Amazon or Google, commentators point out that hyperscale and Hyper-convergence solutions can be successfully combined in data centers to add further scalability as data volumes increase.

Supporting growth

Whether Hyper-convergence or a combined solution is used, the technologies remove the storage roadblock. They form a vital part of an organization’s growth strategy, ensuring its users can continue to make productive use of its most valuable resource – data.