Introduction

Today, a common first step towards the transformation of an organisation to a cloud is for an organisation to simplify its IT infrastructure and management by using hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) in their environment. HCI is a modern-day solution which integrates compute, storage, networking virtualisation, and management from a single pane of glass to reduce IT administration tasks significantly and create a foundation for modern datacentre and cloud architecture.

hyperconverged architecture peasoup

HCI solution adoption has been increased rapidly in the last few years, and PeaSoup is one of the first to have adopted this state of the art technology to facilitate their customers.

IDC predicts that the HCI solutions will exceed $7.6 billion by 2021 as the fastest growing converged infrastructure in the market. By deploying HCI solutions in environments, you can simplify deployment, reduce cost, improve performance and operation efficiencies with the ability to scale-up and scale-out easily.

 

What is Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined architecture that integrates compute, storage virtualisation resources into standard x86 servers. PeaSoup delivers a cloud solution based on HCI infrastructure utilising VMware’s vCloud Director.

This delivers a fully secure private cloud, as to not compromise security, with a backend public cloud model to have the mass of resources to deliver cost-effectively. This HCI approach is key for our customers by enabling a rapidly scalable cloud that has continuous higher performance levels with less risk associated with downtime. Our HCI solutions consist of four products on the back end: VMware vCenter Server, VMware vSphere, VMware NSX Security and VMware’s vSAN.  (see below for more details on VMware’s Virtual SAN)

  • The vCenter Server is responsible to provide central management functionalities, vSphere provides the virtualisation layer called hypervisor which offers compute, and networking capabilities
  • NSX provides full virtual firewalls and networking capabilities.
  • vSAN offers the hyper-converged storage that removes the need for traditional raidsets improving levels of storage performance whilst reducing the risk of storage failures.

In a traditional infrastructure topology, the networking is normally at the top, servers are in the middle, and SAN at the bottom with a guaranteed failure element of its spinning disks. The loss of spinning disks can be protected but it causes performance degradation as RAID takes time while rebuilding and backing up data for protection.

PeaSoup’s hyper-converged solution means our customer’s data resides in the compute layer on multiple servers at any given point. In the event of total server failure, customers would see no reduction in performance and as additional servers are added the benefit of better performance, scalability, and availability are achieved, hence we been through several upgrades but have never suffered any outage from maintenance.

HCI is built into the hypervisor where there are no third party costs or reliance on passing data streams through VM’s. This is a great way of simplifying the cloud model tieing into our ethos where every element is reduced in complexity and risk is minimised.

Why Hyper-Converged Infrastructure?

In this era, HCI has become a convenient option for any type of workload that sysadmins might have usually hosted in a traditional SAN based virtual environment and helps businesses to adopt a hyper-converged approach to data storage in the cloud.

In early days of HCI, businesses and organisations tried to solve a complex problem such as getting an adequate storage performance for virtual desktops and remains a popular architecture for VDI deployments, but as a business is growing, HCI also becoming a useful solution for implementing and managing a hyper-converged cloud.

Cloud architecture has taught organisations that they need infrastructure that can be easily used and can be scaled-out according to business requirements.

Organisations may adopt a cloud architecture for disaster recovery for avoiding the need to build a secondary datacentre. So, their workloads can be easily shifted between primary and secondary locations.

 

vSAN

VMware vSAN (formerly Virtual SAN) is a hyper-converged software-defined storage solution developed by VMware that combines together direct-attached storage devices which part of a VMware vSphere cluster (3-64 hosts per cluster) to create a distributed, shared data store. vSAN is an abstraction layer which is a part of the VMware ESXi kernel and runs directly on standard x86 servers. vSAN is a native component of vSphere cluster so, it does not require additional software, administrators can enable and configure it with the help of some clicks by using/enforcing defined storage policies. vSphere is responsible to handle cluster administration and storage policies.

VMware recently introduced its latest vSAN 6.7 which supports both hybrid and all-flash configurations using a two-tier architecture with a caching tier and a capacity tier. The caching tier requires at least one flash device per host.

 

Benefits of HCI

PeaSoup uses a vSAN architecture for their customers to pool together the storage of attached devices in a cluster environment to manage performance and hyper-availability with easy to use scale-up and scale-out capability. Following are a few advantages of vSAN:

  • Greater performance levels in disk speed
  • Reduced storage costs to get performance levels associated with SSD speeds
  • Reduced risk from the absence of raid sets.
  • Multiple copies of live data are held across multiple servers meaning storage or server failure is mitigating the risk of data loss or performance degradation
  • Adaptive data placement and improved failure handling
  • Performance Improvements through faster optimisation 

PeaSoup was the 1st in Europe and 5th worldwide to have deployed an HCI architecture and are fully versed with the operating of the service

Conclusion

Hyper-converged infrastructure or HCI is a technology that combines and consolidates all datacenter functions into a single infrastructure that can be easily managed, deployed and scaled out. It abstracts compute, storage, and networking resources into a single resource pool which increases efficiency and performance of infrastructure without requiring high levels of expertise to use.

From the administration and implementation of view, HCI reduces the issues and problems regarding complexities and incompatibility of traditional datacentres. By deriving from converged infrastructures (compute, storage, networking is consolidated), HCI offers software-defined approach to control and manage virtual datacentre environment. In HCI enabled environment, resources are software-defined and operations are independent of proprietary hardware such as any SAN or NAS. More organisations are using HCI infrastructure both in the cloud and on-premise the benefits to HCI are clear however with cloud the increased number of underlying hosts improves performance massively without having to increase costs. It has become more popular to utilise this in a hybrid cloud model to reap the benefits of both local and cloud-based HCI infrastructures.

It was the vision of the capabilities of an HCI infrastructure that led to the creation of PeaSoup Hosting back in April of 2014 as the VMWare implementation of this technology was released and this vision has enabled PeaSoup to provide a serious alternative to more traditional Infrastructure Cloud providers.

A “born in the cloud” company, formed to create a cloud service, designed and built with a fresh business and technology approach. PeaSoup objectives have been focused on delivering an innovative and top-quality “cloud” built it as an entirely software-defined environment and exceeding the individual customer’s needs.

The company supply cloud services designed by the customer and market demands and built with an ultra-modern technology architecture that provides unrivalled levels of data throughput performance, reliability and stability.

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