Converged infrastructure (CI), also known as converged architecture, is an approach to structuring an information technology (IT) system to group multiple components into a single, optimized computing appliance. Components of a CI may include servers, data storage devices, networking equipment, and software for IT infrastructure management, automation, and orchestration. As opposed to multiple IT assets living in different silos, hardware components can be bundled with management software to arrange the resources as a single system.
This approach allows organizations to lower IT management costs, increase the speed of software and service deployment, and manage computer resources in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Businesses use CI to reduce complexity in data center management and create sustainable computing infrastructure for Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO) scenarios without needing a large, physical space and dedicated IT personnel.
A few useful features include:
- Simplifying management infrastructure by streamlining day-to-day maintenance
- Providing storage capacity that is easily scalable
- Reducing provisioning time
- Reducing response times to marketplace changes and business priorities
- Easy implementation of private or hybrid clouds
- Greater control of multiple functions and devices
Converged infrastructure vs. hyper-converged infrastructure
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) uses intelligent software to combine x86-based servers and storage resources into a software-defined solution. CI has distinct hardware that can be separated and used independently. Separate is not supported with HCI. It is geared toward small and mid-sized enterprises that don’t require customization, whereas CI is best for large enterprises because it is customized to support the specific application workload of the enterprise.
HCI is more flexible, maneuverable, and scalable than CI. It shares storage to all compute and virtual machines and is software-defined, whereas CI relies on hardware and employs building blocks. HCI does not replace CI or vice versa. Both technologies contain unique features and benefits.