Hyperconvergence has grown because of its simplicity, ease of use and ability to do more with less; less specialized skill around storage, and less upgrading the storage down the road. It’s very much a cloud-like offering. Users have the ability to add capacity and performance through scaling. There's rapid adoption from customers because of the simplicity in using the same platform, one software and in many cases — one number for support. It very much becomes an appliance of the data center.
Is it taking over the traditional converged infrastructure space?
In many cases yes. As environments are becoming more virtualized, customers are looking for simpler ways to manage those environments. In many large environments there are still many specialized applications that require bare metal, or extreme performance that aren’t always as good of a fit for the hyper-converged technologies. Customers are latching on because they see certain environments as particularly good fits for hyper-converged infrastructures – I call those environments purpose-built infrastructures.
What are some particularly good use-cases for Hyper-Converged Infrastructures?
I think about the different things that customers have in their data center and you look at a traditional infrastructure – we talk about all sorts of applications that keep the lights on for the business. Maybe those are the ERP systems or some data warehouses or file servers – there are all sorts of applications depending on the type of business that they would have running in their environments. In particular, use cases around hyper-converged are those new ventures – the new projects that come up. Whether it is something around virtual desktops or login inside analysis through Splunk. Others you want to try out, but you can’t invest a lot money in the rest of your infrastructure or don’t want to mess around with the current infrastructure. You’ll end up with an infrastructure that runs very well and one where you’ll have a very predictable cost growth as well. As that project takes off, as that environment grows, you can scale out more linearly. That scaling is similar to the flexible web-based structure of Amazon and Google – as they can’t predict the capacity they’ll need up front.
Who are the major players in this market?
When it comes to the major players, it changes on a daily basis. There are definitely some leaders like Nutanix, Simplicity, EMC VSPEX Blue, VMWare’s EVO product, and HP converged systems. Like we said before, this space is very hot and changing quickly. I’m constantly watching who’s the most innovative in this space and seeing who will rise to the top.
How do we know that hyper-converged isn’t just a fad?
Well honestly the success of hyper-converged isn’t just bringing storage and compute together- as the moniker might suggest. The reason why it’s here to stay and why it’s starting to stick is that it’s a change in the paradigm of what the data center is. The reason it’s being bought is because it’s a well-intergrated platform with management built into it. It’s very cloud-like, it scales like a cloud, it’s consumed like a cloud and it takes less specialized skill. It’s making managing that entire environment much easier and automating the complexity away. Think about smart phones, today; you buy a device, it has all of the software and management taken care of, and you just load your favorite apps on it. Think of those as the business-critical applications that a company relies on. You don’t have to assemble it from parts to make it work. That’s the hyper-converged model in a nutshell. Buy, deploy, and run.
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