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Hyperconverged Infrastructure Explained

Three Reasons to Adopt Hyperconverged Infrastructure

What is hyperconvergence? Discover what’s involved and why organizations across industries are consolidating to help reduce complexity, cost and risk.

How it Works

How Does Hyperconverged Infrastructure Work?

Four tightly integrated software components make up a hyperconverged platform: 


  • Storage virtualization
  • Compute virtualization
  • Networking virtualization
  • Advanced management capabilities including automation 

The virtualization software abstracts and pools underlying resources, then dynamically allocates them to applications running in VMs or containers. Configuration is based on policies aligned with the applications, eliminating the need for complicated constructs like LUNs and volumes.

What Can You Do with HCI?

  • Build a private cloud: Deploy cloud-like infrastructure on-premises with lower costs, more control, and improved security. Choose from multiple hardware possibilities from our certified partners.
  • Extend to public cloud: Choose an as-a-service option from the largest HCI cloud ecosystem for faster speed of deployment and less time spent managing infrastructure.
  • Achieve true hybrid cloud: Manage a mix of VM- and container-based applications, deployed across a mix of data center, public cloud and edge environments with VMware hybrid cloud.

The virtualization software abstracts and pools underlying resources, then dynamically allocates them to applications running in VMs or containers. Configuration is based on policies aligned with the applications, eliminating the need for complicated constructs like LUNs and volumes.

Advantages of Hyperconvergence vs. Traditional, Three-Tier Architecture

HCI transforms the traditional IT operational model with simple, unified management of resources. This results in:

Increased IT Efficiency

Eliminate manual processes and the need for siloed operational expertise on your team. Now, a single, converged IT team can monitor and manage resources and improve storage capabilities. Plus, with HCI, IT resources are presented as pools of storage that can be dynamically allocated to deliver the right amount of capacity, performance and protection.

Better Storage, Lower Cost

Reduce your CAPEX by using a scale-up/scale-out architecture that requires only industry-standard x86 servers, not expensive, purpose-built networking. Then simply add capacity as needed with no disruptions. With HCI, you avoid vendor lock-in and eliminate overprovisioning, meaning greatly reduced infrastructure spending across your data center.

Greater Ability to Scale

Be more responsive to rapidly changing business needs. Set up hardware in a few hours; spin up workloads in minutes. Accelerate the performance of business-critical applications like relational databases. HCI scales better than traditional infrastructure. It enables a future-proof IT environment that allows you to scale up and scale out to easily meet specific application needs.


6 Ways Hyperconverged Solutions Make Your Business Future Ready

Is your IT infrastructure ready to support your remote workforce? Find out in the webcast.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solutions for Business Continuity

Enable remote working with an agile IT platform that scales both on premises and to the public cloud and simplifies disaster recovery.

Benefits of VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Broadest Flexibility

Ensure a common operating environment across hybrid cloud with vSphere, the industry-leading virtualization platform.


  • Get certified solutions with your preferred vendor
  • Use existing virtualization tools
  • Ensure consistent operations from edge to core to cloud

Simple Evolution to Full Stack HCI

Transform your environment smoothly with vSAN, the only vSphere-embedded, flash-optimized storage for virtual machines and containers.


  • Stay native to your hypervisor and leading clouds
  • Protect and optimize current investments
  • Reduce TCO by as much as 50%

Intrinsic Security

Gain a complete L2–L7 networking and security and virtualization platform with NSX Data Center.


  • Ensure intrinsic security, with data protection at rest and in flight
  • Bring one-click provisioning to your networking and security services
  • Defend against lateral threats across multi-cloud environments

Multi-Cloud Capabilities

Get a modern platform for infrastructure automation, consistent operations, and governance with vRealize Suite, the leading cloud system management software.


  • Access infrastructure and application resources easily, on any cloud
  • Unify resources under policy-based management
  • Choose from hundreds of public cloud providers

More About Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Why Switch to HCI

Check out the infographic to see why more organizations are making the switch to address today’s IT challenges.

3 Steps to Modernize Infrastructure for the Cloud

Learn how to build on your technology investments and future-proof your infrastructure environments.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Dummies

Understand what HCI is all about, how you can get started, and where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck in this Dummies guide.

vSAN Is the Leading Software for HCI

Learn more about the only vSphere-native, flash-optimized storage for private and public cloud deployments.

Deploy HCI Your Way

Find out which factors to consider when deploying hyperconverged infrastructure, explore the countless options, and then choose the one that’s right for you.

Join the Conversation

Follow us on Twitter @vmwarevsan and @VxRail, and learn more about HCI and vSAN on the Virtual Blocks blog.


Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about hyperconverged infrastructure.

Eliminating traditional IT silos and managing everything from a single tool means lower OPEX and CAPEX for your IT infrastructure. And with HCI, you don’t have to sacrifice security, flexibility or scalability. But some solutions make capitalizing on HCI efficiency easier than others. Learn why VMware has the most HCI customers in production worldwide in this infographic.

The components of hyperconverged infrastructure can be implemented separately and one at a time, depending on existing architecture and your IT needs. To deliver on its potential, an HCI solution shouldn’t be tied to a specific hardware platform. VMware HCI allows you the freedom to choose your preferred platform, fully integrate with your existing infrastructure, and protect and optimize existing investments.

Data center scaling and evolving can be a costly, complicated process. Luckily, a key benefit of HCI is its ability to scale and change as needed. VMware HCI in particular is designed for simplicity and scalability for rapidly changing business needs. Only VMware has the complete set of offerings for a fully software-defined data center in production today.

Hyperconverged and converged IT infrastructures both integrate the four components of a data center: storage, compute, networking and management. While hyperconverged systems accomplish this through software, making it hardware-agnostic, converged solutions rely on hardware. A converged infrastructure data center uses many of the same products as traditional IT, just with a simplified architecture and easier management.

Companies are using hyperconverged infrastructure to run most types of business-critical, or tier-one, applications thanks to its high availability. Other common workloads that run on hyperconverged systems include database software like Oracle,  virtual desktop infrastructure, collaboration applications, analytics, remote management, and testing environments.

VMware HCI allows you to integrate your existing storage within the hyperconverged infrastructure solution. vSAN is VMware’s software-defined storage solution for hyperconverged infrastructure. vSAN is natively integrated with VMware vSphere, which manages compute resources, including storage. This means you can access and use traditional datastores along with hyperconverged storage—all in the same cluster.

For more information, read the Solution Overview.

A hyperconverged infrastructure appliance combines all the data center components—storage, compute, networking and management—within a single, pre-configured hardware box. Deploying HCI with an appliance reduces operational costs and simplifies set-up and maintenance. You don’t have to worry about building the architecture or configuring and managing the underlying infrastructure. Dell EMC VxRail is a turnkey HCI appliance jointly engineered by VMware and Dell.

Common uses of hyperconverged infrastructure include:

  •  Virtual desktop infrastructure: HCI streamlines and simplifies VDI, which has the potential for lots of IT complexity and storage needs. HCI combines everything that’s needed for VDI into one package, and provides just enough storage needed, remaining cost-efficient.
  •  Edge computing: HCI makes it easy to design and build small edge or branch environments without a lot of on-site IT staff, and to scale up quickly as needed.
  • General workload consolidation and file storage: HCI makes sizing and migrating workloads simpler. These workloads can include infrastructure (DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, print servers), database servers, application servers and file servers. 
  • Testing and development: HCI gives developers a cost-effective testing environment that runs similarly to production but without a lot of investment needed.
  • Enabling a hybrid cloud environment: HCI can reduce the time and cost involved with transitioning to a hybrid cloud and when moving virtual machines between on-premises servers and private or public clouds.

Customer Success with VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure

HCI is well suited to a wide range of use cases, from business‐critical applications (BCAs) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to disaster recovery and more. See how VMware-powered HCI delivers simplicity, cost savings and scalability for our customers.

Anytime, Anywhere Deployment for Cubic

“We’re using vSAN for hyperconverged infrastructure because of its reliability; it’s stable and lives depend on it. VMware systems are designed to just keep running…it’s an unstoppable system.”


- Tom Lynott, Director of Software Architecture

HCI Prevents Outages and Saves Millions at Sentara

“Moving to hyperconverged and cloud infrastructure in one year, we’ve reduced [costs] by multiple, multiple millions.”


- Matthew Douglas, Chief Enterprise Architect, Sentara Healthcare

Angel MedFlight Saves Patients’ Lives at 40,000 Feet

“Without VMware, I don’t think we would have the uptime or reliability to be able to perform what we do on a global scale and do at 40,000 feet on a global scale and do what we do best, save patient lives.”


- Paul Green, CIO Angel MedFlight

Get Started with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Free HCI Assessment

Request Your Free HCI Assessment

Ready to get started on the simplest path toward hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud? Start by evaluating the readiness of your current environment for HCI with a free, online assessment.

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