VMware Hyper-converged software integrates management, compute, storage, and networking capabilities into a single software stack hosted by industry standard x86 hardware. A hyper-converged infrastructure provides a building block approach to the software defined data centre with scale out capabilities at a lower cost.
The legacy IT environment is comprised of technology silos with dedicated hardware and support teams. Through virtualisation the data centre of today has evolved to the point where software defined solutions are seamlessly and intelligently integrated to provide faster and more reliable IT services. The graphic below from Simplivity shows the evolution of hyper-convergence.
Deploying VMware hyper-convergence software can increase performance and scale while lowering costs, eliminate the need for purpose-built hardware, consolidate hardware, and enable IT to take an application-centric focus. Popular use cases include business critical applications, virtual desktops, remote office/branch office (ROBO), and disaster recovery.
VMware builds its hyper-convergence software on the enterprise-class vSAN (Virtual Storage Area Network) platform, bundles it in with market leading hypervisor ESXi and adds vCenter for management. NSX can be integrated for network virtualisation along with vRealize for private or hybrid cloud automation. At the time of writing there are two deployment options:
Virtual SAN Ready Node
Virtual SAN Ready Nodes allow you to deploy hyper-converged infrastructure with one of the leading x86 server vendors VMware has partnered with, giving you maximum flexibility of hardware, software, licenses and support. vSAN currently has a limit of 64 hosts in a cluster which should provide enough scalability for most environments, but expect to see this raised in future versions.
VMware and EMC have leveraged known and proven building blocks in vSAN, vSphere and EMC software to produce the only fully integrated, preconfigured and pretested VMware hyper-converged infrastructure appliance on the market. The VxRAIL gives you the power and features of a whole SAN in two rack units, all EMC software features such as replication, backup and cloud tiering are included in the cost. A fully populated hybrid appliance supports up to 80 cores and 24 TB of raw storage, in a 64 node cluster that’s 1280 cores and 384 TB of raw storage.