A converged infrastructure reference architecture (CI reference architecture) is a document that specifies the components, design and configuration pf a converged or hyper-converged appliance, which includes storage, compute and networking resources within a single-box system.
Ideally, a reference architecture should be comprehensive and precise, specifying product numbers for components, for example and including best practices. Reference architectures are usually written as instruction manuals and are considered products in their own right. The documents range from dozens to hundreds of pages in length.
By following the guidelines, an organization can create their own converged or hyper-converged appliances, rather than purchasing a vendor's appliance. For a vendor, a reference architecture is faster, simpler and cheaper to produce than a physical product.
Companies that offer CI reference architectures include HP, NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems and EMC.