Over the past several years I have been in countless discussion around Converged Infrastructure (CI) and what it is and the benefits that it provides. The one thing that I keep noticing is that there is a large variance in what CI means to different people. So I thought that in effort to get feedback from others and provide some of mine I would write this post to get the discussion started.
There are a number of vendors in the market today, that are selling some form of a converged infrastructure product or solution.
My definition of Converged Infrastructure
In my mind I think that for something to be considered CI it must do two things. It must converge at least two hardware or infrastructure pieces, such as compute and networking or server and storage. I think that it must also do a good job of converging the management of these converged pieces in a single place. For example Cisco UCS converged compute with network and storage networking. UCS manager is a single point of management to setup and maintain this type of CI. UCS has dramatically changed the server market over the past few years and laid the foundation for what others consider CI in the next section.
Under my definition I think that Cisco UCS, VMware EVO:RAIL, Nutanix, Simplivity and a few others are doing this effectively today. They may call it different names but it comes down to converging hardware and making it easier through software. I will attempt to explain through the image below. The following van is an elegant solution created at the factory that was purpose built and fully integrated. Each part of this vehicle was built to be one solution, there are no out of place windows, radios and tables. Everything was considered when designing it for the purpose.