Composable infrastructure treats compute, storage, and network devices as pools of resources that can be provisioned as needed, depending on what different workloads require for optimum performance. It\u2019s an emerging category of infrastructure that\u2019s aimed at optimizing IT resources and improving business agility.\nThe approach is like a public cloud in that resource capacity is requested and provisioned from shared capacity \u2013 except composable infrastructure sits on-premises in an enterprise data center.\n\nIT resources are treated as services, and the composable aspect refers to the ability to make those resources available on the fly, depending on the needs of different physical, virtual and containerized applications. A management layer is designed to discover and access the pools of compute and storage, ensuring that the right resources are in the right place at the right time.\nThe goal is to reduce underutilization and overprovisioning while creating a more agile data center, says Ric Lewis, senior vice president and general manager of the software-defined and cloud group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which offers the Synergy composable infrastructure platform.\n\u201cWhen a customer logs onto a public cloud, they grab a set of resources: compute, storage, fabric. \u2018I need this much stuff to be able to run this application. Please give that to me," Lewis says. "I\u2019ll run this application, and when I\u2019m done, I\u2019ll give it back to you and you can use it with somebody else,\u2019\u201d\n\u201cWhat we did with composable infrastructure is build that into the platform. We can do the same dynamic resource sharing.\u201d\nComposable vs. converged vs. hyperconverged infrastructure\nConverged infrastructure involves a preconfigured package of software and hardware in a single unit that enables simplified procurement and easier operation than traditional servers, storage and networking switches. A converged infrastructure is typically designed for a specific application or workload, and while the compute, storage and networking components are physically integrated, the management of those discrete resources often remains siloed.\nHyperconvergence adds deeper levels of abstraction and greater levels of automation for easy-to-consume infrastructure capacity. In a hyperconverged environment, the software-defined elements are implemented virtually, with seamless integration into the hypervisor environment. Organizations can expand capacity by deploying additional modules.\nLike a converged or hyperconverged infrastructure, composable infrastructure combines compute, storage and network fabric into one platform. But it\u2019s not preconfigured for specific workloads like a converged or hyperconverged infrastructure is.\n\u201cAs long as you want to do software-defined storage for virtualization \u2013 that\u2019s really solved well\u201d with hyperconvergence, Lewis says. But, with data-center customers in particular, \u201cthey\u2019re not just doing virtualized environments, and they\u2019re not doing all of them on software-defined storage. They\u2019re doing big-scale things where they\u2019re running virtual machines. They\u2019re also running bare metal,\u201d he says. \u201cCustomers want a simple environment for VMs, bare metal, containers and for their new cloud-native applications.\u201d\nHyperconverged infrastructure also has a scalability limitation; typical hyperconverged environments scale to 20 or 30 nodes, Lewis says. \u201cHyperconvergence is great, but it doesn\u2019t solve all workloads, and it doesn\u2019t scale to the level that customers are going to want to scale to.\u201d\nComposable infrastructure, which is also described as \u201cinfrastructure as code\u201d or \u201cdisaggregated infrastructure,\u201d takes things a step further, with more fluid resource pools.\nFlexible, reapportionable resources\nIn a composable infrastructure world, resources can be reconfigured to compose the exact-sized infrastructure environment each workload needs. A developer could request a virtual machine with any combination of compute, network and storage capacity, for example, and when the workload is done running, those infrastructure resources are delivered back to the pool for other users to access. One workload could be a compute-heavy application requiring a lot of CPU power, while another could be memory-heavy.\n\u201cThe application can grab whatever it needs at the time that it runs, and when it\u2019s done, it returns it to the pool. It\u2019s not just sitting there dedicated to running VMs, like a hyperconverged environment,\u201d Lewis says. The result is that the on-premises infrastructure looks more like public-cloud infrastructure-as-a-service environments.\nHPE is among the first to make a composable infrastructure platform available.