Managing a corporate data centre has traditionally been highly complex, requiring employees with technical skills to operate and maintain the system. However, in recent years a new approach to data centre architecture has emerged which aims to simplify this work. Known as hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), it promises to make management of complex systems a lot easier.

This approach is increasingly common. One study showed that the market for HCI products will reach $33 billion by 2026 (up from $4 billion in 2018). What is more, data from Statista shows that almost 70% of firms following a hybrid cloud strategy are using an HCI for the on-premises part of the set-up.

So, what exactly is a hyperconverged infrastructure – and do you need one?

What is a hyperconverged infrastructure?

To understand HCI, let’s first revisit the traditional architecture of a corporate data centre. A company’s data centre normally incorporates three elements:

  1. Servers: Used to run email systems, content management software (like SharePoint) or other corporate applications.
  2. Storage: Holds all your electronic files when not in use.
  3. Networking: This is literally how the servers and storage ‘speak’ to one another, as well as connections to individual desktop computers, printers and so on.

This traditional approach has served companies well – but it has a number of drawbacks for corporate IT in the 2020s.

First, you need to employ highly skilled people to manage the different aspects of this architecture. It is also relatively complex to scale the infrastructure up, and it struggles with the needs of modern workers (especially if they’re connecting to your data centre remotely). Hyperconverged infrastructure tries to provide a solution to these problems.

With an HCI, you effectively eliminate the storage and networking part of the architecture. Using HCI software, the storage, computing and networking is combined into a single system thanks to virtualization, so everything happens on your servers. If you ever wish to expand or scale your network, you simply plug in an additional server.

So, why would you choose this approach?

Benefits of a hyperconverged infrastructure

There are several reasons to choose an HCI. These include:

  • Flexibility

With an HCI, you can quickly expand (or shrink) your architecture in a way that would be much harder with traditional data centres. To add new computing power, storage or applications, you simply install them virtually.


  • Designed for growth

HCI is particularly popular amongst small and medium-sized businesses that are growing and want to add capacity to their systems rapidly.


  • Keep it on premises

HCI is similar to using a public cloud, in the sense that you can quickly add and remove new apps, tools or users whenever you want. However, unlike public cloud, everything remains in your own datacentre – which in sectors like finance or government can be very attractive.

  • Requires fewer resources

Running a traditional data centre typically requires you to hire a number of skilled staff with technical know-how to operate your company’s architecture. With HCI, by comparison, you can manage it all through a software interface. This is faster, easier, and requires less people to do the job.


  • Well-suited to hybrid cloud strategies

Hyperconverged infrastructure is, in many ways, like having your own private cloud on your company’s premises. But it is also relatively easy to connect this on-premises system with a public cloud to make your own hybrid cloud. Setting up a hybrid cloud with an HCI is simply a lot easier than doing so with traditional data centre architecture.

Related: The difference between running business processes in the cloud and on-prem


  • Easier to run

With an HCI, you eliminate all the complexity of networking and storage and the physical work of connecting different bits of hardware to your architecture. As a result, running an HCI is simply a lot more straightforward than operating traditional enterprise architecture.


So, should you use a hyperconverged infrastructure?

Hyperconverged infrastructure can be a very effective model and will certainly serve some businesses well. It is especially popular among small and medium-sized businesses that are growing fast but also need to keep data on-premises and maintain complete control over it. It’s also a good option for those following a hybrid cloud strategy. For other firms, however, an HCI won’t necessarily be the right option – using the public cloud on its own is often cheaper and easier to run than an HCI.

If you are planning to modernise your data centre, FITTS can help. Our teams can look at the different options which would be suitable for your company (including setting up an HCI) and help you implement the right technology for your needs.

Contact us today to discuss your plans to modernise your data centres.