How HCI Works

How Does Hyperconverged Infrastructure Work?

A hyperconverged platform has four tightly integrated software components: 

• Storage virtualization

• Compute virtualization

• Networking virtualization

• Advanced management, including automation 


Virtualization software abstracts and pools resources, then allocates them dynamically to applications in VMs or containers. 

What Can You Do with HCI?

• Build a private cloud: Deploy on-premises with lower costs, more control and better 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.


Advantages of Hyperconvergence Over Traditional, Three-tier Architecture

HCI transforms traditional IT operational models with simple, unified resource management, delivering three key benefits:

Increased IT Efficiency

Replace manual processes and siloed operational expertise with a converged IT team that can monitor and manage resources. HCI pools and allocates resources dynamically to improve capacity, performance and protection.

Better Storage at Lower Cost

Reduce your CAPEX with scalable architecture that requires only standard x86 servers—not expensive, purpose-built networking. HCI scales without disruption and overprovisioning, reducing infrastructure costs.

Greater Ability to Scale

Respond to rapidly changing business needs in real time—with HCI, you can set up hardware in hours and spin up workloads in minutes. Now you can accelerate business-critical applications like relational databases with HCI,  which scales to meet specific application needs—and future-proofs your IT environment.

Accelerate Enterprise Cloud Transformation

Spotlight on HCI

Top Infrastructure Considerations for Modern Apps

How hyperconverged infrastructure supports IT modernization strategies.

Top Use Cases for Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Learn about the top five use cases for HCI

Benefits of VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Broadest Flexibility

Manage operations across your hybrid cloud in a common operating environment with vSphere, the industry-leading virtualization platform.

• Get certified solutions from your preferred vendor

• Use existing virtualization tools

• Ensure consistent operations, from edge to core to cloud, across vSAN architectures

Seamless Evolution to Full-Stack HCI

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

• Stay native to your hypervisor and leading clouds

• Protect and optimize current investments

• Reduce TCO by up to 50%

Intrinsic Security

Gain a complete L2–L7 networking and security and virtualization platform with NSX Data Center. With this solution, you can:

• 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

What You Need to Know about Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Transform to Cloud Infrastructure

vSAN+ is the premier HCI offering,  delivering cloud-connected services for IT admins to centralize management and enhance efficiency.

3 Steps to Modernize Infrastructure for the Cloud

Learn how HCI builds on your technology investments and future-proofs your infrastructure.

Lower Your Data Center Costs with HCI

Find out how you can reduce total cost of ownership by more than 45% with capital and operational savings from HCI. 

Why Customers Choose HCI

See why more organizations are making the switch to HCI to address today’s IT challenges. 

Deploy HCI Your Way

Find out which factors to consider with HCI, explore deployment options, then choose one that’s right for you.

Join the Conversation

Follow @vmwarevsan and @VxRail on Twitter, and get expert insights on HCI and vSAN on the Virtual Blocks blog.


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

By eliminating traditional IT silos and enabling IT management from a single tool, HCI lowers OPEX and CAPEX—without sacrificing security, flexibility or scalability. Learn why VMware has the most HCI customers in production worldwide in this infographic.

The components of hyperconverged infrastructure can be implemented separately, depending on your existing architecture and IT needs. 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 evolution can be a costly, complicated process—but HCI can scale and change as needed. VMware HCI is specifically designed for simplicity and scalability to meet rapidly changing business needs. VMware offers the only fully software-defined data center in production today.

Both hyperconverged and converged IT infrastructures integrate storage, compute, networking and management. Hyperconverged systems use software and are hardware-agnostic, while converged solutions rely on hardware and use many traditional IT products, only with simplified architecture and management.

Companies use hyperconverged infrastructure to run most business-critical, tier-one applications. Other common workloads that run on hyperconverged systems include database software, virtual desktop infrastructure, collaboration applications, analytics, remote management and testing environments.

VMware HCI allows you to integrate your existing storage with vSAN, VMware’s software-defined HCI storage solution. vSAN is natively integrated with VMware vSphere, so you can access and use traditional datastores along with hyperconverged storage—all in the same cluster. 

For more details, read the Datasheet.

An HCI appliance combines all 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 architecture set-up and infrastructure maintenance. 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, supporting complex IT and storage needs while remaining cost-efficient.

• Edge computing: HCI makes it easy to design, build and scale edge or branch environments without dedicated on-site IT staff.

• Workload consolidation and file storage: HCI makes it easier to size and migrate workloads across infrastructure (DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, print servers) and database, application and file servers. 

• Testing and development HCI gives developers a cost-effective testing environment that runs similarly to production.

• Enabling hybrid cloud environment HCI reduces the time and cost of transitioning to a hybrid cloud, easily moving virtual machines between on-premises servers and private or public clouds.


Customer Success with VMware Hyperconverged Infrastructure

HCI solutions address 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 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

The simplest path toward hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud starts here. Get a free online assessment evaluating your current environment’s readiness for HCI.

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