The term, “Hyperconverged” often scares potential customers away at first. The term sounds complicated and expensive, something that AT&T or the NSA might run in their data centers, but certainly not something that a Auto Parts store or a Hotel might own, but in practice, just the opposite is true.
The hyperconverged market is growing because an increasing number of I.T. professionals now see the solutions as a way to address their top challenges.
Things aren’t getting easier in the data center, in fact, with the adoption of remote devices and users, web-enabled apps and “Shadow-IT”, services like Dropbox and AWS. More and more CIO’s and IT Managers are feeling the pressure to bring faster, more powerful and less expensive services to the table. The problem is, most IT shops aren’t built for this kind of flexibility. Many still use the 5 year plan; purchasing enough horsepower based upon their best guess and historical data to figure out just how much data will grow, processing resources will be consumed and how many users will be added prior to launching into a full year-long campaign of solution-vetting and vendor selection. Those days are gone.
So why HCI? A recent Forrester Total Economic Impact study found that customers leveraging HCI solutions averaged a savings of more than three hours per day, per person, that were previously devoted to data management and workload balancing.
As legacy storage becomes outdated and hyperconverged systems mature, improved data services are being bundled into traditional devices such as servers and storage arrays, making their stand-alone counterparts unnecessary. Features such as efficient erasure coding and built in back and replication, perhaps even a choice in hypervisor support (or one that’s included at no charge) bring simplicity and power to a typical admin user.
In a legacy environment, there are backup specialists, storage managers, network teams, operations managers, etc., but in the HCI world, those resources are now free to do more valuable duties, as many of the tools that required specialized training (and budget) to manage are now automated and part of the base OS. This can lead to tremendous value for small-ish IT shops that have people wearing many hats, and quite often, there aren’t enough skills to go around.
The HCI Market has become crowded, and it’s nearly impossible for the average CIO to understand the complex differences between leaders like HPE/Simplivity and Nutanix, to name two of the top brands. What is HCI 2.0 vs. 3.0? What is erasure coding? With over 38 HCI solutions on the market today, the key to narrowing the field is to first see what basic features are included for simple operation; tight virtual machine (VM) integration, adequate data protection, storage, compute and backup included and a simple user interface for managing everything under the covers.
Once you get beyond that, the differences can be incredibly important if you are a grocery store vs. a credit union, a lawyer’s office vs. a church, but the technology still applies, big or small. That’s where choosing a specialist in new technologies comes in handy, someone that lives more in emerging markets like these than the traditional legacy shops of the 90’s and 2000’s. More on that later…
The truth is, we’re in the middle of a MAJOR inflection point for innovation in the data center, even thought the names may not change, the underlying tech is going through a massive evolution, forced by well-funded startups and led by the former executives of many of the major vendors who simply refused to innovate. One big factor is software. So how does the software-defined trend affect Hyperconverged systems, anyway? The answer is straightforward, the less “things” we have to manage…servers, storage, switches, backup & deduplication appliances and the like, the faster we can accomplish these day-to-day tasks, and the less money we have to spend to get them.
For all the hype, HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure) solutions are great at saving time and making things easy for businesses to manage. That is the secret to their newfound success. For more information, or to get a downloadable version of the Forrester Guide to Ranking the HyperConverged players in the marketplace, click here.