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August 2019, Vol. 17, No. 11

When converged and hyper-converged -- and cloud -- converge

The difference between converged and hyper-converged is becoming less clear cut. My advice is to beware of hyper-converged infrastructure products with "HCI" in their names. They may not be hyper-converged. NetApp HCI is a converged infrastructure that combines separate servers and SolidFire flash storage. Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Nimble Storage dHCI is a similar setup, except it uses HPE Nimble arrays and ProLiant DL servers. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) rebranded. Although those products can meet the needs of a typical hyper-converged infrastructure customer, they don't meet the definition of HCI -- at least not the two hardware appliances in the group. For NetApp and HPE, the "tell" is in the product name, because the vendor knows it doesn't fit the textbook definition of hyper-converged. NetApp calls NetApp HCI a "hybrid cloud infrastructure," while the dHCI in Nimble Storage dHCI stands for "disaggregated hyper-converged infrastructure," even if HCI is, at its core, an aggregated ...

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