Am I suitable for hyper converged infrastructures?

Apple has introduced a level of hardware uniformity to the mobile phone market that has never been seen before. Despite receiving criticism from some, this change has enabled the achievement of software standards that would have otherwise been impossible.

Previously, developers working with mobile operating systems would need to gamble on which hardware would be best to invest time in. Since the iPhone, even start-ups can be confident of their app’s compatibility with over a billion Apple devices. Today, this compatibility mindset has found its way into data centres.

Classical data centre architecture relies on a clear division between computing, storage, and networking. They include a range of devices, from servers to switches to storage, often from different manufacturers. However, data centres full of hardware require significant space and produce large amounts of heat. Providing appropriate cooling increases the already high maintenance costs of running these facilities.

What is a converged infrastructure?

Specialists created converged infrastructures to improve the efficiency of hardware usage. This infrastructure expects each machine in the network to be working on something. As opposed to, defining unique tasks for hardware. Thus, this minimised the number of idle components and streamlined the whole process.

However, this created a barrier to entry. Converged systems are specifically made and tested for a client, which can take weeks. While possessing aspects of modular automation and easily replaceable components, this approach proved most welcoming to large businesses.


Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) takes previous advancements a step further. In the data centre, not only are computing, storage and networking spread across a network. The same system, or even the same machine, is now responsible for carrying out both of these processes.

Each module communicates with the network and completes tasks internally, speeding up the process. Implementing hyperconvergence is also advantageous to users, who can get hold of the required equipment easily and from one vendor.

Adapting quickly to the market is an essential skill in the industry and hyperconverged infrastructure comes with scalability in manufacturing. Adding new modules to their data infrastructure allows small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to experience convenient and incremental growth. This process eliminates the need to wait for weeks and enables SMEs to gradually improve their data infrastructure. However, it does come with an added cost.

Hardware companies, like Nutanix, offer hyperconverged infrastructure. They claim that by using their products, owners can reduce their data center costs by 40 per cent.

Think it through

Hyperconverged systems have clear appeal for SMEs. However, before effectively implementing them, one needs to consider certain factors. The reason why costs are reduced, and the system is more adaptable, is the elimination of redundancy.

Moving components closer together in a standardised format is key to the data centre's efficiency. Any redundancy left in the network, such as external storage centres, could undo this step forward.

Secondly, the price to pay for the convenience of installation and maintenance is a lack of customisation of the hardware. The plant manager should be aware of the unique quirks and traits of the chosen model.

Finally, and most importantly, HCI reminds us of the importance of understanding obsolescence. You must implement an incrementally scalable system with the awareness that you will eventually need to replace it. Those turning to new data centre infrastructures must manage obsolescence effectively. EU Automation recommends that every manufacturing company has an obsolescence management strategy, to avoid being caught out.

Not unlike the iPhone, HCI offers an overall more convenient experience for the user. The real difference is in the existing obstacles the infrastructure manages to solve and the potential advantages for growing manufacturers. Manufacturers are therefore evaluating hyperconvergence to see if it is suitable for their applications.