In existing situation, we are in need of software plane which enables following key requirements:
- Virtualize, Unifies, Optimize and Manage DC components such as compute, storage & network.
- Integrate with automation & cloud platform.
- Support for Disaster Recovery.
Here We Go …
Hyper-Converged Infrastructure [HCI]
HCI is a software based architecture which tightly integrates the compute, storage, network and Virtualization. Here the vital part is that the local storage of physical servers which are part of cluster are unified and provided as a pool of shared storage resource to utilize Virtualization features. By adding automation and network virtualization capability to HCI you can turn it as a complete SDDC.
In HCI, we are having two variants –
- Software piece which converges storage resource built directly in hypervisor layer.
- Third party software piece which converges storage resource runs in a virtual machine that sits on top of hypervisor.
In this post we are going to see about the hot features pertaining to In-built HCI – vSAN further.
How the hyper converged Infrastructure paves path to SDDC?
Traditional Infra comprises Rack/Blade Servers, Purpose-built Storage arrays and network components as separate units. To form a vSphere cluster, we need to get shared LUNs from storage array, In this model the data flow from server to storage array has to pass-through the intermediate fabric \ network switches. Data path is long & multiple components involved with this approach.
But in HCI, compute and storage are tightly coupled, data getting stored in local storage [Flash & Magnetic Disk] which in turn highly reduces the length of data path and latency.
In Recent Days, Technology advancements focused on bringing the data closer to processing unit resulted in introduction of flash devices in PCIe bus & memory channels [DIMM slots]. These kind of hardware level developments also encourages the evolution of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure further.
Here we are having flexibility to Scale-out & Scale-up as per the demand. Scale-out can be done by adding new host to cluster. Scale-up by adding drives to host. In both the cases we can expand both capacity and cache layer in uniform manner. This Scalability mechanism helps to optimize the cost involved as we are expanding the cluster based on demand.
HCI delivers superior performance by following two things:
- Hot VM data resides in Cache layer backed by Flash devices \ SSDs which enables high speed data access.
- SPBM (Storage Policy based Management) provides granular-approach to VM Level. This allows administrator to change policy on demand to meet application requirement. SPBM definitions captures – capacity, performance, availability metrics in to account. It’s Cool right.
HCI started to offer storage efficiency features such as Erasure Coding, Compression and Deduplication. Which means effective utilization of storage resource happens in line with demand of User VMs.
Policy definition is key here to maintain data availability in case of node\host failure. For example, If the policy is defined to tolerate one host failure then two copies of VM data maintained across different nodes. In essence, to tolerate “N” failure “N+1” copy of VM data maintained. So, HCI is capable of providing enterprise class availability.
Unified management availability with vCenter & web client. You could manage the vSAN cluster with same user interface which you used to take care your virtual infra. Even if you extend vSAN with network virtualization capability (VMware NSX) it is also manageable in same platform. Single window to manage your SDDC.
vSphere Replication is a solution which can be used for replicating VMs asynchronously with required RPM, HCI is a well suitable and cost-effective platform to support it. We can customize the replication configuration per VM level, In essence granular approach available to set here as well.
To Conclude, I see all of these points as a solid proof that HCI going to play vital role in the rise of SDDC.
Thanks for reading the post and do share your views 🙂
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