Hyperconverged Infrastructure—sometimes seen as HCI—refers to an appliance or server that offers both storage and compute services from inside a single chassis.
Running VMs or containers hyperconverged—rather than on completely separate storage and compute silos—can greatly simplify management, as well as offer significant performance boosts.
Today, storage vendor iXsystems is launching a new R-series hyperconverged infrastructure appliance for its TrueNAS product line—and the first beta release of TrueNAS SCALE, a Debian Linux-based version of the TrueNAS storage distribution.
The new R-series appliances are designed to run either traditional, FreeBSD-based TrueNAS, or the new Debian-based TrueNAS SCALE. The series launches with four models—all rack-mounted—ranging from the 1U, 16-bay TrueNAS R10 to the up to 12U, 52 bay TrueNAS R50. All four models offer Ethernet connectivity up to dual 100GbE, as well as optional dual 32Gb Fibre Channel and Intel Xeon CPUs. The three larger models are expandable via separate JBOD shelves as well.
TrueNAS itself is an OpenZFS-based storage distribution, which can be purchased preinstalled on NAS hardware or installed by users on their own generic PC equipment. It offers users the rich feature set of the ZFS filesystem—including block-level checksums and data healing, advanced storage topologies, atomic COW snapshots, rapid asymmetric replication, and more—along with a broad range of network sharing protocols, including SMB, NFS, sFTP, and iSCSI.
Ars has been covering TrueNAS—formerly FreeNAS—off and on since 2011. In those nine plus years, it has been a FreeBSD-based distribution, and while it offered some limited compute functionality—based on FreeBSD jails, which were a mature solution before Linux containers were so much as a gleam in anyone's eye—it focused primarily on simple storage.