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What Is Converged Infrastructure?

Converged architecture is the combination of computing, networking, storage, management software, and automation capabilities into a single, unified solution. Converged infrastructure can simplify and accelerate deployment while reducing risk with validated solutions.

How does converged infrastructure work?

Converged infrastructure typically includes the following elements:

  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Networking
  • Hypervisor
  • Management software
  • Automation and orchestration capabilities

Converged infrastructure solutions can be designed, tested, and prevalidated for a variety of applications and industry use cases.

Converged infrastructure vendors may deliver equipment tested, preracked, and ready to use. Alternatively, the equipment can be assembled at a customer site, along with a reference architecture document, which is a detailed guide on how to deploy and configure the solution.

What is hyperconverged infrastructure?

While converged infrastructure consists of disparate components that are grouped together, pretested, and prevalidated, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) combines compute, virtualization, storage, and networking in a single cluster.

Starting with as few as two nodes, users can easily scale out to match computing and storage resource needs. Hyperconvergence brings cloudlike simplicity on-premises and within a single, easily managed platform.

In addition, in an HCI solution, all of the storage is integrated into the server. Converged infrastructure systems use storage arrays, and the server has no local storage.

Converged infrastructure capabilities

Unified management

A unified operational model provides a place to manage and observe all components within the system.


Compatibility

At the most basic level, converged infrastructure improves hardware interoperability and, more importantly, validation for use with certain applications and uses.


Rapid deployment

Historically, the elements of technology deployments, such as computing and networking resources, are purchased separately and assembled in-house. Conducting product research, assembling components, testing, and validating systems are time-consuming. These processes must be rigorous because of the enormous downside of system failure.

Because converged infrastructure systems are already prevalidated, they can reduce the time needed for in-house assembly and testing.


Flexibility

Organizations can choose the right-sized solution for their environment and have confidence that a converged infrastructure solution has been validated to help ensure its components work seamlessly together.

Benefits of converged infrastructure

Performance

Prevalidation of converged infrastructure systems helps ensure not only basic functionality, but also provides an environment that's optimized and sized for specific applications and use cases.


Agility

Converged infrastructure systems typically result in faster deployments and demand less guesswork and testing by IT teams. Simplifying deployments with prevalidated configurations provides speed and agility for new application and service deployments.


Resilience

Converged infrastructure systems are engineered with component and connections redundancy for high availability, reducing downtime and business impact.


Cost savings

Converged infrastructure is often compared to do-it-yourself (DIY) deployment of compute, storage, and network components. DIY deployments may require additional procurement, sizing, testing, and validation time. Converged infrastructure can lower costs by reducing planning and administrative costs, as well as delivering higher resource utilization.