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Hyper-converged Infrastructure: The Software‐Defined Data Center

The Rise of the Software‐Defined Data Center

The Software‐Defined Data Center (SDDC) revolutionizes how IT services are delivered. What was once static, inflexible and inefficient now becomes dynamic, agile and optimized. The SDDC builds on the success of server virtualization and completely modernizes the data centre.

In this new, software‐defined world, all IT infrastructure elements (including compute, storage, management and networking) are virtualized and delivered as a service on industry-standard servers and components. Resources are automatically deployed, with little to no human involvement. Everything is highly automated, controlled by software and governed by policies that incorporate the logic of business requirements for IT.

In an SDDC, you don’t spend weeks provisioning the infrastructure to support a new application. You can get an application running in mere minutes, meaning speedy time to value and really happy business executives!

In many ways, the SDDC is the natural extension of server virtualization. Just as server virtualization helps you gain more value out of your computing systems, the SDDC helps you squeeze more value out of all the resources you use to host an application, especially storage. The software‐defined approach is a much‐needed framework for greater IT agility and more responsive IT service delivery, all at a significantly lower cost. It’s the key to the data center of the future.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Now we know that the SDDC helps IT pros overcome many common challenges stemming from legacy issues. But, how exactly do you achieve this? The fastest, most direct and most popular route to the SDDC is the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI). SDDC provides an ideal architecture for private, public and hybrid clouds, extending virtualization concepts to all data center resources and services.

HCI is the natural evolution of data center architectures. This ongoing evolution first moved us from traditional silo‐based infrastructure to converged infrastructure. And now it’s moving us to HCI.

What is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

Hyper‐converged infrastructure collapses compute, storage (including storage networking) and management onto virtualized, standard hardware, enabling a building‐block approach to infrastructure with scalable capabilities. Originally, HCI just included virtual compute and virtual storage, but it can now be extended with full virtualized network resources for a complete software-defined data center.

In HCI, all key data center functions run as software on the hypervisor in a tightly integrated software layer. HCI is fundamentally about this final architecture; as a result, there are

different paths to the same end — from turnkey appliances to flexible hardware platforms installed with the hyper‐converged infrastructure software.

In an HCI environment, compute, storage and management resources are delivered through industry-standard x86 architectures. The server platform runs a hypervisor and pools

direct-attached storage devices — either flash devices like SSDs or hard disk drives — together from across multiple servers in the cluster to create shared storage, which acts like that provided by traditional storage area network (SAN) or network‐attached storage (NAS) devices. Sometimes overlooked, a key here is that HCI does not virtualize or pool together storage from external storage systems as some traditional storage virtualizations solutions do. The shared storage is only composed of the direct-attached storage devices in the server.

If you want to take a deeper look at the Software-Defined Data Center and the benefits of a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, download our latest Ebook.

For more information about how First Technology can assist, please get in touch with Jolene Strydom on 021 525 7000 or

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