Think back to the birth of your IT management infrastructure. When did a true plan fall into place? Generally, components of infrastructure include computing, data storage, networking, and server virtualization. It’s likely all four of these were originally set up based on the needs of a particular workload. A certain method of storage would have been chosen for a specific number of files and other specifications.

Unfortunately, these original infrastructures are difficult to manage. Since there is more than one vendor handling your components, it will likely cost you high premiums and can become overly complex. You’ll also find that multi-tiered vendor systems will complicate data transfer to the cloud.

Converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) are the solutions to your foundational IT problems.

What is Converged Infrastructure?

At its core, CI is a simpler, more strategic, and cost-effective method of fulfilling your IT needs. In this method of infrastructure, server appliances are all delivered in one compact set of hardware. This means your IT department will only have to seek out a single vendor for end-to-end support. You’ll also save yourself from having to invest in large amounts of physical space for a variety of hardware — CI is a single box system.

What is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

HCI is similar to CI in that it amalgamates IT infrastructure components. But, with HCI, your infrastructure will be delivered from one vendor by means of software. This software will likely include a single dashboard where you can manage and deploy your entire IT framework.

What Are the Differences Between CI and HCI?

Though both CI and HCI solve multi-tiered IT infrastructure problems, they are very different. CI is hardware-based while HCI runs via software.

CI contains different hardware components, meaning you can take it apart and stand-alone devices can be used as is. For example, the server can be removed and utilized on its own and you can isolate and use individual storage units independently.

Because HCI uses software, all the components must be managed together. They’re generally less customizable and users relinquish some control over what they get from the initial installation. Yet, using software means you can start with a certain amount of storage and increase as needed at a relatively low cost. CI physical hardware must be purchased and installed when more space is required, which can wind up costing a lot.

From a starting cost standpoint, HCI will be more expensive since you must buy software licences and the like. But opt for HCI if you’d prefer a higher initial cost but much lower maintenance fees in the future.


As a data storage service that offers cloud protection, StorageCraft has opted for the best in data technology. Contact us today to learn more about planning your IT infrastructure and how to incorporate the StorageCraft Recovery Solution.

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  • Thanks, Casey. This was a really interesting take on the NSA's new local data center. Despite the privacy concerns, I'm excited to see what this means for the state. Silicon Slopes is definitely filling up with some great names!

  • Rather than placing it somewhere that looks nice or aesthetically pleasing, make sure that it is located at a place that allows proper circulation of air.

  • Casey, congratulations on this blog post -- I could not agree more. I am the editor of the Varnex Insider magazine, and would like to talk with you about the possibility of publishing this blog in our next issue (with full credit to you and StorageCraft, of course). Please email me at the address I provided so we can talk about this. Thanks very much. -- John

  • Great post, thanks Casey Morgan for writing such an informative post. Every body knows the importance of backup but no one takes care of it. Thanks fro reminding and guiding for backups.

  • Hi there! I'm a little late responding to this post (business can get in the way of marketing, even when your business IS marketing ;-), but I wanted to jump in and mention that Thomma IS a real person. She was our company's content manager for a couple of years until she decided to devote all of her energies to her real love: fiction writing. She's a wonderful writer and researcher who did fantastic content work for our clients. You can find out more about her on her website: http://www.thommalyngrindstaff.com/.

    Hope that clears it up! Thanks for the link to our content!

    Kind regards,
    Marjorie R. Asturias
    Blue Volcano Media

  • I've been using VMware since the late 1990's. VMware has the monolithic hypervisor in it's server class products (as you described), plus an approach similar to Microsoft's in it's workstation class product known as VMware Workstation. I've been using VMware Workstation installed on top of Microsoft Server OSs for several reasons. All my production-level servers are running as Guests on such a platform. Cost savings include availability of commodity priced utilities for backup, anti-malware and such...

    In my experience, since 1981 in the software and server-room domains, Microsoft's periodic and frequent changes to its entire architecture has forced me to re-install, re-code, re-invest time and money, just to stay current and operational. I'll stick with VMware for my virtualization platforms, as it has required less maintenance, cost and re-work.

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