Hyperconvergence vs. Convergence: Understanding the Difference

Hyperconvergence vs. Convergence: Understanding the Difference

Hyper-convergence and Convergence are used interchangeably in IT environments but refer to different data management approaches. While both Converged and HCI arose from the need to simplify data centre management, converged architecture relies on hardware, while HCI is a software-based approach to infrastructure design. Unlike traditional IT infrastructure, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure groups servers, storage arrays, and more components into a single optimized computing package.

That begs a couple of questions: what is converged and hyper-converged infrastructure? Why are companies interested in them? And most importantly, which infrastructure is the best one for your company?

Converged Vs. Hyper-Converged

Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure are interchangeably used today. And while some aspects are common to converge and hyper-converged systems, they are two distinct types of storage infrastructure.

The converged infrastructure is hardware-based systems with computing and storage capabilities, thus reducing the capabilities and configuration issues. These came first and are widely used by industries that constantly have to increase their storage capabilities. However, the problem with converged systems is — while scaling up by adding notes, the computing power remains the same. They are not fully software-defined, nor is any emphasis on uniting all the connected systems via software.

At the same time, hyper-converged infrastructures are fully software-based systems that unite computing, storage, and networking resources into a single block. Unlike converged systems, you cannot scale up hyper-converged systems. Instead, companies have to scale out once their storage needs are increased and must add nodes. The storage and computing scale up when adding nodes in the hyper-converged systems.

The bottom line is that hyper-converged systems cannot be separated or modified after deployment without hampering the business processes. At the same time, converged infrastructure allows one to add and remove nodes as per the requirement without affecting the functionality of the overall infrastructure.

Now that you have the basic idea of both converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, let us learn what is converged and hyper-converged infrastructure. In addition, let’s examine the benefits and drawbacks of using such systems.

What is Converged Infrastructure?

A hardware-based system, converged infrastructure combines networking, computing, and storage virtualization into a single building block. This allowed IT teams to quickly deploy data centers, where earlier components came into silos — resulting in inefficiencies and limitations. Since everything is preconfigured and optimized using software, there are minimal inoperability issues.

Another significant benefit of converged infrastructure is IT teams can use each component in the system independently. For instance, you can separate and use the storage as functional storage. At the same time, you can separate the servers and use them just as a server.

In addition, there are two methods to deploy converged infrastructure. The first and the most common one is a building-block method, where all components — networking, server, computing, and storage — come into a single building block. All that enterprises have to do is install the blocks. To add storage, companies can add nodes (or blocks). The other popular deployment method is the reference-architecture approach, where some spaces like — storage arrays and routers — are left for enterprises to add.

Benefits of Converged Infrastructure

  • Manage all aspects and overall performance via a single control panel.
  • Simple to add new apps and programs onto the converged infrastructure and grant access to specific users.
  • Scale up storage by adding new nodes — as long as it is compatible with the existing system.
  • It’s inexpensive to run and maintain converged infrastructure.

Drawbacks of Converged Infrastructure

  • Since everything is preconfigured, the system comes with its own templates and functions. This means you have to dedicate time to learn to use the systems.
  • You cannot add random hardware. For instance, many IT companies want to add hardware systems that aren’t available with the vendor. And since the system doesn’t allow you to add random hardware from vendors, you have to use the systems without that.

What is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

The software-defined storage systems and hyper-converged infrastructure combine the storage, networking resources, compute into a single building block. Often used on the private clouds, all hyper-converged systems are virtualized. There isn’t a need to use proprietary storage. This also reduces the cost of the infrastructure significantly, as there is no need to deploy hardware separately.

The hyper-converged infrastructure allows you to manage storage spaces using virtual containers. The overall structure, however, is dependent on unified storage management for better performance and to avoid failover. Another prominent aspect of hyper-converged infrastructure is that they rely on industry-standard x86 hardware — not dedicated to vendors.

Benefits of Hyper-converged Infrastructure

  • All aspects of data centers — from storage and computing to servers — are united into a single building block. And that’s why it is simple to deploy these systems.
  • One can manage all aspects of the hyper-converged systems via the control panel. You can customize the components via the control panel itself. Since everything is virtualized, installing servers, patching SANs, or configuring individual components is simple.
  • Reduces the complexities faced by the IT teams. Additionally, there is a need for minimal IT staff when dealing with hyper-converged systems — thus, reducing the overall cost of data center deployment.

Drawbacks of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

  • Like with converged infrastructure, companies will be stuck with the components available by one vendor only. This means you cannot install your hardware to meet some special requirements.
  • Scaling the hyper-converged systems is difficult. For instance, instead of purchasing a single node, you must pay for network resources, memory, and computing altogether. The initial costs will be low, but it will cost you dollars whenever you want to scale up the data center requirements.


Converged and hyper-converged infrastructures are a good investment if you want to avoid complexities faced by the IT staff members as well as reduce the cost associated with the data centers. The primary benefit of these systems is they come up with computing, storage, and networking resources. Plus, these components are preconfigured, so it is simple to deploy them.

At the same time, you must not confuse converged and hyper-converged systems. This article has explained the main difference between the converged and HCI architecture. And that is: if you need computing, storage, and networking servers — independent of one another — it is best to go with the converged systems. However, suppose you are looking for business value, fewer overheads, hiccups, and complexities. In that case, hyper-converged architecture is best — but it will not offer the configuration of one component later.

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