What is Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI)?
Hyper-converged (or hyperconverged) Infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT computing infrastructure that virtualizes all of the elements of conventional "hardware-defined" systems. HCI includes, at a minimum, a virtualized environment (a hypervisor), virtualized software-defined storage and virtualized networking (Software Defined Networking - SDN) technology. HCI typically runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers.
Hyper-converged infrastructure grew out of the concept of converged infrastructure. Under the converged infrastructure approach, a vendor provides a preconfigured bundle of storage, server and networking hardware and software in a single physical chassis with the goal of minimizing compatibility issues and simplifying management.
Converged infrastructure bundles consist of discrete hardware products sold as a single SKU. Even with Hyper-converged solutions, the software-only environment can be so tightly integrated that they cannot be separated. Hyper-converged solutions, however, can offer easier operational management than vendor-specific converged solutions.