What is HCI and how can it benefit your business?

Business are demanding more from infrastructure as they seek to streamline, and ultimately speed up, their processes, increase productivity and manage the scalability of the business.

Much of this can be accomplished through technology but it often involves a significant investment in complex IT infrastructure that comprises of storage, computational power and networking solutions.

This in turn means companies need specialised teams to manage this infrastructure. As you might have noticed, this all creates something of a barrier for businesses looking to improve themselves.

Of course there is a solution to this in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) or hyperconvergence.

So what is HCI?

HCI sees the combination of storage, compute and networking in a single system that is easy to manage and makes data handling less complex.

“Hyperconvergence is an innovative IT framework that combines storage, computing and networking into a single system, simplifying data interpretation and enhancing productivity. By implementing hyperconverged infrastructure in data centres, businesses – small and large – will be able to reap many benefits that will allow them to be more efficient,” explains Hyperconverged System Expert at Lenovo DCG South Africa, Alan Browning (pictured).

HCI allows a business to reduce the amount of infrastructure it needs to deploy which in turn reduces the complexities of managing an array of services.

Research firm Gartner reports that HCI is the fastest-growing segment in data centre technology and other analysts believe that the HCI market will be worth $110 billion by 2021.

So how can HCI benefit your business? According to Browning there are four areas where hyperconvergence can beneficial.

The first and most obvious is cost efficiency.

“Hyperconvergence by way of design allows enterprise customers to break the cycles of procuring hardware platforms and allows IT departments to focus on delivering services to the business rather than operational issues,” says Browning.

By implementing HCI, business will see a dramatic decrease in operational costs the expert adds.

The next benefit Browning points out is the silos within the business being broken down.

“The greatest challenge hyperconvergence solves is that it breaks down the silos within organisations. Now the virtualisation administrator becomes the storage guy, the network guy and the compute guy, all rolled up into one, allowing him to provide multiple services at the same rate as public cloud providers provide their services,” Browning says.

For businesses that are focused on turn-around times, HCI also provides elasticity which in turn leads to increased agility for a business.

“An example of how hyperconvergence is beneficial for the function and productivity of a business, is its ability to impressively reduce the turnaround time for the delivery of products and systems to customers by scaling the environment with a new node via an IP address, allowing IT departments to forecast their immediate requirements more accurately,” the expert explains.

The final benefit is of particular importance for businesses that are playing in the fields of artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

Browning explains that while the public cloud has its benefits, when it comes to speed, the latency of the public cloud presents a stumbling block of sorts.

“When dealing with solutions that cannot tolerate latency and require “real-time” decisions, such as self-driving cars or pilotless flying aeroplanes, the cloud simply won’t suffice as no technology today can tolerate uploading 10GB of data to a public cloud every 30 seconds, which would be the case of a self-driving car that has over 128 sensors,” Browning says.

There is already a solution to this in the form of edge computing and Browning says that HCI works in tandem with AI and IoT to minimise latency.

The Lenovo expert explains that hyperconvergence is a substantial upgrade on the converged systems of old thanks to HCI reducing complexity and enabling business to react quickly.

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