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VMware Hyper-Converged Software

Powering the industry’s largest Hyper-Converged Infrastructure ecosystem

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is transforming the way private datacenter infrastructure is being built –see this post for an overview of HCI.  It eliminates the traditional hardware silos of compute, storage and networking, to move all the intelligence into a single software layer running on industry-standard x86 servers.  By doing so, HCI makes private infrastructure a lot simpler, higher performing, and more cost-effective.  In essence, the infrastructure starts looking like the datacenters of web-scale companies such as Google or Amazon.  We’re seeing these benefits play out across thousands of VMware customers that have deployed and expanded their HCI deployments over the past year.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure relies on both great hardware and great software.  The hardware consists of industry-standard x86 building blocks, serving as the foundation for the entire datacenter.  This hardware convergence relies on critical innovations such as flash and faster CPUs.

At the same time – it’s clear that HCI is first and foremost about the software.  Software innovation is what makes HCI possible.  Compute, storage, networking and management are now delivered as software. For storage specifically – this requires a software-defined, distributed, shared storage model with all the data services typically provided by external SAN or NAS – but all delivered as software on the hypervisor.  This distributed software is very hard to build, hence why only a few vendors are able to pull it off.

Let’s introduce you to VMware Hyper-Converged Software

At VMware, we believe we have an incredibly valuable and innovative set of software assets that enables HCI:

  • vSphere is, of course, the most widely deployed and proven hypervisor in the industry. It also delivers basic Virtual Machine networking capabilities with vSphere Distributed Switch.
  • Virtual SAN provides high-performance, enterprise-class shared storage
  • vCenter Server provides unified management across the stack

We are calling this stack of software VMware Hyper-Converged Software (VMware HCS).  We decided to give it a unique name because 1 – it behaves as a single, tightly integrated layer of software, and 2 – it serves as the software foundation for a very strong ecosystem of HCI solutions.

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VMware HCS enables a broad ecosystem of HCI vendors with many consumption options.  Whether you’re deploying the HCS stack on open x86 systems with Virtual SAN Ready Nodes, or deploying it as an appliance, or as a full-blown SDDC with EVO:SDDC – this stack remains the common software foundation enabling Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

VMware HCS is also by far the most widely deployed hyper-converged software stack in the industry – see this post on market momentum of VMware HCI: more than 3,000 customers, more than 20,000 units (CPU socket licenses) sold in Q4 2015, and nearly 200% YoY growth … impressive stats!

And now, with the introduction of Virtual SAN 6.2, we’re bringing great new capabilities like deduplication, compression, erasure coding, and Quality of Service to organizations of all types and sizes – see this post on What’s New in Virtual SAN 6.2.  Virtual SAN 6.2 puts us in a great position to continue driving HCI leadership.  In fact, you can now deploy high-performance, all-flash Virtual SAN systems at a much lower cost than hybrid HCI solutions from other vendors.

We’re very excited about VMware Hyper-Converged Software and Virtual SAN 6.2 as we enter 2016.  This is going to be a pivotal year for HCI as many more customers start experiencing the benefits of the VMware HCS stack and the datacenter transformation continues full speed ahead!


The next step is try it yourself! The Virtual SAN Hands-on-Labs gives you an opportunity to experiment with many of the key features of Virtual SAN. To find out where Virtual SAN would fit in your environment, sign up for a VSAN Assessment. This free, one-week analysis can reveal where Virtual SAN can reduce cost, eliminate complexity, and increase your agility. Sign up today!


This post originally appeared on the Storage & Availability blog Virtual Blocks and was written by Gaetan Castelein. Gaetan is a Senior Product Marketing Director at VMware, and is currently working on VMware’s Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) offerings.