Disaggregated HCI (dHCI)

What is disaggregated HCI?

dHCI stands for "disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure". It is an IT infrastructure solution that blends disaggregated architecture's scalability and flexibility with the advantages of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).  Traditional HCI pools computing, storage, and networking resources into a single appliance; by contrast, discrete HCI divides these resources into modules that can be scaled individually. This enables businesses to prevent overprovisioning and optimize their infrastructure for certain workloads while still enjoying the benefits of HCI's simple administration and deployment.

HPE dHCI solutions feature built-in data services such as data security, data mobility, and data optimization, that can be linked with HPE's existing infrastructure management tools to provide a unified user experience.

How does dHCI work?

Disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure (dHCI), combines the flexibility and scalability of disaggregated architecture with the simplicity and convenience of use of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Below are the fundamental parts of a dHCI system and how they interact: 

  • Compute nodes: These are the servers that run the applications and virtual machines. They are similar to the nodes in a traditional HCI system.
  • Storage nodes: These nodes are responsible for providing storage capacity to the system. They can be either all-flash or hybrid storage nodes.
  • Networking: The network fabric connects the compute and storage nodes, providing high-speed data transfer between them.
  • Software: The software layer of a dHCI system is responsible for managing the infrastructure, providing data services such as data protection, data mobility, and data optimization, and integrating with other infrastructure management tools.

The computation and storage resources in a dHCI system are disaggregated, which means they are physically distinct from one another. Applications can directly access the storage as if they were connected to the server since the software layer exposes it as though it were local to the compute nodes.

What are the benefits of dHCI?

Organizations using dHCI (disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure) gain from a number of advantages, such as:

  • Scalability: This feature enables businesses to scale computing and storage resources independently, allowing them to tailor their infrastructure to particular workloads and prevent overprovisioning.
  • Flexibility: It enables businesses to select the best storage for each application, which may boost efficiency and cut costs.
  • Simplicity: HCI's simplicity of administration and deployment is retained in dHCI. The software layer provides VM-centric operations to simplify management and storage resources appear as though they are local to the compute nodes thus easing the administration. Compared to conventional SAN/NAS storage, this makes the system simpler to administer.
  • Built-in data services: dHCI comes with built-in data services, such as data protection, data compression, and data deduplication thus eliminating the need for additional software and hardware.
  • Integration: For a smooth user experience, dHCI integrates with the familiar VMware vCetner interface and can be combined with various infrastructure management tools. This makes managing the entire IT infrastructure easier and helps businesses to maximize the use of their current management tools.

All things considered, dHCI offers a scalable, adaptable, and simple-to-manage infrastructure solution that can assist businesses in enhancing performance, cutting expenses, and streamlining management.

What is the difference between HCI and dHCI?

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and disaggregated HCI (dHCI) are both approaches to data center architecture that aim to simplify management, reduce costs, and improve agility. However, there are some key differences between the two.

  • HCI integrates compute, storage, and networking resources into a single appliance or cluster, with the storage and compute resources typically located in the same physical device. In contrast, dHCI separates compute, storage, and networking resources into distinct physical components that are connected by a high-speed network fabric. The management software for dHCI is designed to manage the resources as a single system, even though they are physically separated.
  • As dHCI enables independent scaling of the computation and storage resources, it is often more versatile than HCI. In other words, enterprises don't need to install more HCI equipment; they can just expand computing or storage capacity as needed.
  • Due to the utilization of a high-speed network fabric to connect computing and storage resources, dHCI is often quicker than HCI. This enables more bandwidth and reduced latencies, which might be crucial for applications that demand high levels of performance.
  • As it takes specialist knowledge to manage distinct computing and storage resources, dHCI can be more challenging to administer than HCI. Yet, by presenting the resources as a unified system, the management software for dHCI is intended to make this process simpler.
  • When separate computing and storage resources are needed, along with a high-speed network fabric to connect them, dHCI can be more expensive than HCI. However, the advantages of dHCI's flexibility and performance can make up for the price.

Generally, dHCI offers a different strategy by isolating computation and storage resources and linking them via a high-speed network fabric. HCI and dHCI both promise to simplify administration, save costs, and enhance agility.

Who is dHCI suitable for?

Disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure, or dHCI, is a versatile, scalable, and simple-to-manage infrastructure solution that can be used by businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. It is especially well-suited for enterprises with varied workload demands that require the ability to grow computing and storage resources independently.

  • dHCI can accommodate virtualized applications with different performance and capacity needs.
  • It enables businesses to grow storage capacity independently of computational resources and can provide databases with high-performance storage.
  • dHCI can serve business critical applications such as databases that demand resiliency and high-performance storage and computation resources.
  • It is capable of supporting cloud-native apps.
  • It has built-in data resiliency, data efficiency, and data protection features.

In conclusion, enterprises with workloads that have fluctuating needs and necessitate the capacity to expand computing and storage resources should consider dHCI.

When should I use dHCI?

You should consider using dHCI (disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure) when:

  • You have mixed workloads with varying demands
  • You need resiliency and high-performance storage
  • You need to simplify infrastructure management
  • You need to improve data protection and disaster recovery
  • You need to integrate with other infrastructure management tools

If you have workloads with varied needs, dHCI is the perfect answer since it offers high-performance storage and enables you to grow compute and storage resources separately. If you want to streamline your infrastructure administration, dHCI is the best option since it keeps the simplicity and management ease that hyperconverged infrastructure offers. Since dHCI has built-in data protection and disaster recovery features, it is the perfect choice because it can be seamlessly connected with other infrastructure management tools.

Challenges of dHCI

While dHCI (disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure) has several advantages, there are some drawbacks as well:

  • Due to the need for separate compute and storage nodes, which can raise the overall hardware cost, dHCI can be more expensive than conventional hyperconverged infrastructure.
  • The setup and management of dHCI might be more difficult than that of conventional hyperconverged infrastructure. To tailor the system for certain workloads, a thorough understanding of computing and storage architecture is necessary.
  • For some workloads, dHCI might not perform as well as dedicated storage systems. This can be because the network fabric connecting the computation and storage nodes has constraints.
  • There may be some scaling restrictions with dHCI. The system's scalability may be constrained, for instance, if the network fabric linking the nodes is not built for high bandwidth and low latency.
  • Although dHCI may be connected with other infrastructure management systems, integration may require additional effort and expertise to ensure seamless operation.

HPE and dHCI

Disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure (dHCI) solutions are available from HPE in a variety of forms to suit various client requirements. The following is a list of some of the dHCI solutions HPE provides:

  • HPE Alletra dHCI: This is HPE's flagship dHCI solution, fusing HPE Alletra arrays with HPE ProLiant servers and HPE networking. A versatile, scalable, and high-performance infrastructure that can handle a range of workloads is offered by dHCI.
  • HPE ProLiant  DL Gen9/Gen10/Gen10+/Gen11 model servers: These servers are designed for dHCI applications including VMware hypervisors and includes capabilities like as the latest processor technologies and memory.
  • HPE Alletra dHCI available through HPE GreenLake: With this consumption-based option, businesses can pay for their infrastructure on a pay-per-use basis. The solution can be set up on-site, at the edge, or in the cloud and comes with HPE Alletra dHCI and HPE's operational services.