What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure? Three Cloud Experts Answer

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appears to have been confusing people ever since 2012, when the term was first coined by Steve Chambers and Forrester Research. While computing experts agree on the basics of HCI as a system of IT that’s intended to bring a more powerful virtualized infrastructure to big enterprise, there is still a lot of disagreement as to what defines and delineates HCI.

By the standard definition, in HCI the elements of computing, SAN, and networking are virtualized and all the networking and storage tasks are implemented virtually using software rather than physically in hardware. But since “hyperconverged infrastructure” originated in marketing lingo rather than in purely technical terminology, its meaning isn’t quite so defined. Divergence of opinion about what constitutes HCI shows that even experts are uncertain about the role and importance of the approach.

How are we to understand what HCI is and the role it’s likely to play in enterprise IT? We decided to go straight to the top to get a clear answer for you. We asked three experts with long-term experience in data center and enterprise IT how they define hyperconverged infrastructure, and this is what they told us.

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