What is HCI?
Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), also known as software-defined infrastructure (SDI), integrates the three pillars of a datacenter—compute, storage and network—into a unified, virtual system that is controllable via APIs. The goal is to reduce complexity and eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual processes through automation. The result is that administrators gain greater visibility and control over resources, users and services across the whole datacenter.
Servers are virtualized, either at the hardware level via a hypervisor (i.e. virtual machines (VMs)) or at the OS level via the kernel (i.e. containers). An HCI solution may support VMs only, containers only, or both VMs and containers. An API moderates visibility and access to servers and their running processes.
Storage is direct-attached and horizontally distributed. This design eliminates single points of failure in networked storage systems, like monolithic appliances, switches and proprietary firmware. An API moderates visibility and access to storage media and their data.
Networking is software-defined and configurable—independent of the host. Virtual network interfaces, virtual LANs and virtual fabrics create isolation between applications. An API moderates visibility and access to virtual networks and their traffic.
How is Idyl different?
Not all HCI products are created equal, though. In fact, many vendors claiming hyper-convergence are simply legacy virtualization solutions with a few new features bolted on top. Idyl Cloud is built from the ground-up with unified management in mind. This approach enables high-level management from a single pane of glass. Idyl Cloud is a hyper-converged cloud that stands out in several big ways:
Container-native. Containers can operate securely on bare-metal—instead of inside VMs—allowing workloads to share resources more efficiently. Native containers lead to greater virtualization density and also eliminate the performance penalty imposed by a hypervisor. Traditional VMs are supported too via integration with the KVM hypervisor.
Multi-tenant. Multiple tenants can share the same physical server because process isolation is rooted deep within the OS kernel. Built upon an open-source descendent of Solaris, Idyl Private Cloud uses the same technology trusted by the US military and major financial institutions.
Network Isolation. Each container or VM is executed in the context of a zone, which has its own full network stack, independent of its physical host, including virtual network interface card (VNIC), MAC address and IP range. This allows a tenant to create virtual devices, network fabrics and virtual LANs to easily achieve network isolation for sets of containers without bridging, port mapping or any other steps to connect containers that may reside on separate hosts.
RBAC. Role-based access control (RBAC) gives systems administrators the ability to limit the scope of allowable operations for certain users as necessary.
CloudAPI. The CloudAPI exposes useful operations of Idyl Private Cloud as a REST API over HTTPS. This API gives the user a consolidated view of their entire datacenter, including an overview of the physical layer as well as the applications and services running atop the hardware.
Object Storage. Object storage allows administrators to use common CRUD operations and HTTP verbs to store, retrieve and manipulate the objects without worrying about low-level file storage functions. Idyl Object Storage is an S3-compatible solution that’s great for storing backups, logs, multimedia files and more.
Docker. Simplified. Docker deployments are simplified by virtualizing the entire datacenter as a single Docker host, enabling a multi-container application to span a cluster of physical machines. The result is that the complexity of a cloud-native deployment is abstracted away.