The Differences Between Converged Infrastructure and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

With the continuous development of technology, virtualization is becoming more common in enterprises. The greater the need for storage, the more redundant data the virtualized workload generates.

 Therefore, the development of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) and Converged Infrastructure (CI) is being encouraged, which are network optimization solutions in terms of scalability and management. What are HCI and CI? What is the difference between HCI and CI? Here is a detailed comparison of HCI and CI.

Comparison Of Converged And Hyper-Converged Infrastructures

Converged and hyper-converged infrastructures make it easier to support virtual desktop infrastructure and desktop virtualization because they’re designed with ease of installation and complex tasks in mind.

CI combines four major data center components in a single chassis: compute, storage, networking, and server virtualization. An HCI enables denser integration of more components using software tools.

In both converged and hyper-converged infrastructures, all elements are compatible to work with each other. This will allow you to purchase the necessary storage and networking devices for your company at a time, and they are known to be of great importance in the virtual desktop infrastructure. This simplifies the process of deploying such an infrastructure – something that has been long awaited and welcomed by many companies that need to implement desktop virtualization.

Despite their value and innovativeness, there are several questions about these technologies regarding their intended purpose and differences. Let’s try to figure out what functionality converged and hyper-converged infrastructures offer and how they differ.

What Is Converged Infrastructure?

Converged infrastructure integrates compute, storage, networking, and server virtualization into a single chassis so they can be managed from a single location. Management capabilities may include virtual desktop infrastructure management, depending on the chosen configuration and manufacturer.

The hardware that comes with the converged infrastructure kit is pre-configured to support any target: virtual desktop infrastructures, databases, special applications, and so on. But in fact, you do not have enough freedom to change the selected configuration.

Regardless of how you choose to expand your VDI environment, you should be aware that scaling up later will be costly and time-consuming. Adding individual components becomes complex and robs you of many of the benefits of a converged infrastructure. Adding work machines and expanding storage capacity in an enterprise infrastructure can be just as expensive, which means that any virtual desktop infrastructure deployment needs to be properly planned.

On the other hand, all components of a converged infrastructure can work for a long time. For example, a complete server of such infrastructure works well even without the rest of the infrastructure components.

What Is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

The hyper-converged infrastructure was built on top of the converged infrastructure and the concept of a software-defined data center. It combines all the components of the data center familiar to us in one system. All four key components of a converged infrastructure are in place, but sometimes it also includes additional components such as backup software, snapshot capabilities, data deduplication functionality, intermediate compression, wide area network (WAN) optimization, and more. 

A converged infrastructure relies primarily on hardware, and a software-defined data center often adapts to any hardware. In a hyper-converged infrastructure, these two capabilities are combined.

HCI is supported by a single vendor. It can be managed as one system using a single set of tools. To expand the infrastructure, you just need to install blocks of necessary devices and resources (for example, storage) in the main system block. And this is done literally on the fly.

Since the hyper-converged infrastructure solution is software-defined (that is, the operation of the infrastructure is logically separated from the physical hardware), the mutual integration of components is denser than in a conventional converged infrastructure, and the components themselves must be nearby in order to work correctly. 

This allows hyper-converged infrastructure to be used to support even more workloads than conventional converged infrastructure. This is due to the fact that it has the ability to change the principle of definition and configuration at the program level. In addition, you can make it work with specialized applications and workloads, which pre-configured converged infrastructures do not allow.

Hyper-converged infrastructure is especially valuable for working with virtual desktop infrastructure because it allows you to scale quickly without additional costs. Often, things are very different with classic virtual desktop infrastructure – companies need to buy more resources before scaling, or wait until virtual desktops use allocated space and network resources, and then add new infrastructure in fact.

Both scenarios require significant financial and time costs. But, in the case of hyper-converged infrastructure, if you need to expand storage, you can simply install the required devices in an existing stack. Scaling can be done quickly – within the time required to ship the equipment. In this case, you do not have to go through a complete process of re-evaluation and reconfiguration of corporate infrastructure.

In addition, as you transition from physical PCs to virtual desktops, you need devices to perform all the computing tasks typically performed by laptops and PCs. A hyper-converged infrastructure will help with this a lot, as it often comes with a large amount of flash memory, which has a positive effect on the performance of virtual desktops. This speeds up I/O operations, smooths out heavy workloads, and allows you to run virus scans and other monitoring activities in the background (without distracting users).

The flexibility of a hyper-converged infrastructure makes it more scalable and cost-effective than a converged infrastructure because it has the ability to add computing and storage devices as needed. The initial capital investment for both infrastructures is high, but the investment should pay off in the long run.

What Is The Difference Between CI And HCI?

While converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure are similar in many ways, hyper-converged infrastructure takes the same design philosophy a few steps further by increasing the consolidation of IT resources for easier, end-to-end management.

The underlying converged infrastructure emerged as a way to more conveniently handle the individual components of hardware settings for the cloud and other platforms. The range of hardware components managed in a converged infrastructure typically consists of servers, network equipment, and storage devices. Experts have described converged infrastructure as a series of components networked together with a management layer on top.

A hyper-converged infrastructure, in contrast, facilitates project consolidation by adding other additional features such as compression, data backup, and data deduplication resources, as well as things like WAN optimization and snapshot resources.

One way to describe hyper-converged infrastructure is that vendors “put it all in one box” so that everything is integrated and easy to manage on a cloud platform. Both converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure are about moving business systems into the cloud, where end-to-end systems and management practices are needed to maintain service efficiency.


From the above description, hyper-converged infrastructure and converged infrastructure are the two main solutions for network optimization in terms of scalability and enterprise management. Compared to CI, HCI is a rapidly growing and more valuable technology area in today’s industry. In addition, it also helps to become a new mechanism for integrating cloud computing and the big data chain, thus further helping the IT industry to transform and innovate rapidly.

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