Hyperconverged Systems Show Promise in Reducing Data Center Complexity

By Jeff Burt  |  Posted 2016-06-29 Print this article Print
Hyperconverged systems

"What's really attracting them to this [hyperconvergence] model is the cloud-type consumption model," Brannon told eWEEK. "It's a cloud model, but on-premises."

Hyperconverged systems are tightly integrated offerings that include networking, virtualization and a single management plane along with the single solution for compute and storage. They remove many of the silos typically found in data centers.

The hyperconverged space was initially embraced by midmarket customers, and while enterprises increasingly are adopting the infrastructure, the majority of the business right now remains in the midmarket, IDC's Sheppard said.

Gina Longoria, an analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told eWEEK that hyperconverged infrastructures bring greater efficiencies, ease of use and cost savings to midmarket businesses that are looking for ways to keep up with changing data center demands without having to add IT staff or a lot of new equipment.

"It's the quickest path on the market to get up and running on a new workload," Longoria said. "It really makes it simple for people."

However, vendors say they are seeing strong enterprise adoption.

Officials with Simplivity point to a recent report the company released that showed that when compared with Amazon Web Services (AWS), its HyperConverged Infrastructure software delivers 22 percent to 49 percent in cost savings.

SimpliVity officials have announced a multi-million dollar deal to replace legacy IT equipment for a financial services firm in the global Fortune 50. In addition, Howard Ting, chief marketing officer at Nutanix, said his company has more than 3,100 customers, including a number of the Global 2000 companies.

"We feel that we're just scratching the surface of the opportunity," Ting told eWEEK. "Today, [hyperconverged infrastructure] is in the top three to five things IT organizations are talking about and budgeting for. It's become mainstream very, very quickly."

A recent study by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and IT technology analyst firm the Evaluator Group reflected the growing enterprise interest. According to the study, 47 percent of enterprises surveyed—businesses with more than 1,000 employees—were using or evaluating hyperconverged offerings for infrastructure consolidation efforts and 42 percent are doing so for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) efforts.

Common uses of hyperconverged infrastructures include VDI, server virtualization and consolidation, data protection, test and development and to serve large remote and branch offices, according to vendors and analysts. However, many expect the number of use cases to grow as adoption of these systems increase.

A Lot of Options to Choose From

Customers have plenty of options when looking for hyperconverged infrastructure offerings. Dell has partnered with Nutanix in the development of its XC Series appliances and in April Dell officials not only announced the company was building out its XC Series with new solutions, but also introduced a reference architecture that integrates technologies from VMware. Dell also said it was reselling hyperconverged systems from VCE, EMC's converged platform business. The company already sells systems that include VMware's VSAN software.

The moves not only expanded Dell's portfolio, but also gave the industry a glimpse of what it may be able to do once it completes its $67 billion acquisition of EMC and its federated businesses, including VMware and VCE. EMC sells VxRail and VxRack hyperconverged systems that use VMware's vSAN and its own ScaleIO storage software.

Lenovo, armed with IBM's x86 server business, also is partnering with Nutanix as well as Juniper Networks to build out a hyperconverged infrastructure business. The company's Converged HX Series integrates Nutanix's software onto its servers to bring compute and storage resources into a single shared, virtual infrastructure that officials said can be used by every size of business from enterprises to SMBs.

Cisco's HyperFlex HX-Series uses the company's own UCS systems and Nexus switches along with the software-defined storage (SDS) platform developed in conjunction with SpringPath.

Hitachi Data Systems this month rolled out its first hyperconverged product, the Unified Compute Platform (UCP) HC V240, which includes Hitachi servers and storage software. The package also is certified for VMware's VSAN Ready Node platform and runs the virtualization vendor's HyperConverged Software stack.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is looking to leverage their own technologies in developing their hyperconverged offerings. HPE offers its ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual appliances that use its ProLiant Apollo Gen9 servers. In March, it announced the HC 380, which runs its StoreVirtual VSA storage software on its ProLiant 380 systems. The HC 380 is primarily aimed at the midmarket and enterprise branch offices.

However, with hyperconverged solutions, "software is the critical element," Moor Insights' Longoria said. "You need some type of software layer on top of it to make it come together."


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