Tag Archives: Hyperconvergence

Calculating Hyperconvergence Costs

A look at what’s inside HCI and the cost considerations.

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Hyperconvergence Paves Way To Private Cloud

With its promises of greater data center agility and efficiency, hyperconverged infrastructure has been one of the hottest IT trends in the last couple of years. At Interop ITX, analysts from Enterprise Strategy Group provided insight into the technology and advice for enterprises before they take the plunge.

Hyperconverged systems – as well as their predecessor, converged infrastructure – are something of a flashback to the all-in-one mainframe systems IT shops used to buy from companies like IBM, ESG Analyst Dan Conde said. Mainframes gave way to the best-of-breed, do-it-yourself approach to IT infrastructure

“I liked that world where we could pick and choose and create the system we wanted,” Conde said. This freedom to choose IT components came with a price, though, which has led to interest in converged systems and hyperconvergence.

“We’ve suffered trying to mix and match things and make them work,” Conde said. “It was a pain because of the collective failure of the IT vendor community and standards bodies to make things work in a completely transparent way.”

Converged infrastructure like FlexPod or Vblock combine compute, storage, and networking in one system and bolt them together with management software, ESG Analyst Jack Poller said. “When you have a problem, you have one vendor you can complain to,” he said.

Scaling this type of environment requires adding another full rack. “You still have to do all the work to pull it together,” he told attendees.

Hyperconverged infrastructure take the integrated concept a step further by providing a Lego-like approach to storage, networking, and compute resources and using software to cluster them together into a single pool, Poller said. This enables scaling on a smaller level. “What’s important about hyperconvergence is the software stack,” he added.

Right now, hyperconverged systems, including those from Nutanix and SimpliVity (acquired earlier this year by HPE), are fundamentally about aggregating storage resources, Conde noted. Enabling software-defined networking may require additional specialized software.

For enterprise IT pros under pressure to improve agility and have regulatory compliance requirements that require them to keep hardware on premises, hyperconvergence is a way to build private cloud, Conde said.

“Don’t be afraid. If you want to do something with cloud speed on premises, use hyperconverged infrastructure,” he said.

An ESG survey found that 70% of 308 respondents plan to use hyperconverged infrastructure; 15% use it now. Fifty-six respondents said they plan to use converged infrastructure; 32% have deployed it.

The top drivers for converged and hyperconverged infrastructure adoption include improved service and support, improved scalability, and increased agility of virtual machine provisioning, according to ESG research. “It’s a way to make our private cloud as competitive as the public cloud,” Conde said.

The survey also revealed enterprise concerns with the technologies: Performance concerns around data locality, lack of flexibility when scaling, and vendor lock-in.

ESG also found that many enterprises – 57% of 308 those polled — plan to stick with their traditional best-of-breed approach to IT infrastructure.

While many organizations have deployed or plan to deploy converged/hyperconverged infrastructure, they don’t expect the new systems to completely replace their traditional on-premises infrastructure provisioning, according to ESG.


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Hyperconvergence Benefits Come With Challenges

Enterprises are adopting hyperconverged systems at a rapid clip to reduce costs and overcome the complexity of traditional storage infrastructure. However, as companies reap hyperconvergence benefits, deploying the technology isn’t exactly a cake walk.

Those are the top findings of a new report from Technology Business Research, a market research and consulting firm. TBR analysts surveyed 202 enterprise IT and business leaders and also conducted a dozen in-depth interviews to gauge the state of the hyperconvergence market and customers’ experience with the technology.

TBR estimates the market for hyperconverged platforms will grow at a 53% CAGR between 2015 and 2020, reaching $7.2 billion. “We expect that this investment will increasingly come at the expense of legacy infrastructure,” Krista Macomber, TBR senior analyst, told me in an interview.

TBR defines hyperconverged platforms as combining a storage controller, array and applications on one server; other attributes can include a building-block architecture using commodity hardware and the unification of enterprise storage and virtual machines.

The need to reduce costs and streamline IT operations is a top driver for enterprise adoption of hyperconvergence, Macomber said: “They’re looking to hyperconverged platforms to reduce the inefficiencies of legacy storage environments.” At the same time, companies are experiencing business benefits that go beyond cost reduction. For example, some companies told TBR hyperconvergence made it possible for them to implement a disaster recovery program.

According to TBR’s research, the first workloads companies target for hyperconverged platforms are data-centric, focused on operations like analytics and backup and recovery, as they aim to shift away from expensive and cumbersome legacy SAN systems. But enterprises are increasingly interested in deploying more business-centric workloads, such as ERP, on the systems.

Hyperconvergence pain points

Despite the benefits, customers are experiencing some pain points in their hyperconverged deployments, TBR found.

“Customers are realizing there’s more to the cost equation than up-front costs,” Macomber said. “New architectures like hyperconverged platforms change not only their data center architecture, but also the way the IT staff operates.”

In fact, internal resistance to change was the top challenge associated with hyperconvergence cited by survey respondents. The IT team needs to understand how the technology — as it seeks to eliminate silos between compute, storage, and networking — will mean a shift in some IT roles to more of an IT generalist, she said.

“IT is still sorting out how it will operate and shift to a more generalist approach,” Macomber said, adding that the shift doesn’t necessarily diminish the IT team’s position in the organization. “In fact, it can make it more strategic,” she said. “But there’s definitely a change in mindset and culture that needs to happen.”

Interestingly, even though the hyperconvergence market is growing fast, TBR’s study found that almost 40% of enterprises that have adopted the technology are unsure if they will made additional investments in hyperconverged products. The finding indicates that vendors aren’t effectively addressing customer requirements around fast and simple time to deployment, cost-effectiveness, and scalability, according to Macomber.

Scalability has been cited by others as an area where hyperconverged systems are limited.

Vendor landscape

The hyperconverged infrastructure market is a fairly crowded one with established vendors competing against pure-play startups such as Nutanix and SimpliVity. Macomber doesn’t expect the crowded landscape to change too much over the next year.

Integration of the Dell and EMC hyperconvergence portfolios, along with its impact on Dell vendor partnerships, will take time, she said. The pure-play companies are focused on maximizing their installed base while other multi-platform vendors like Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are investing in developing their hyperconvergence lines.

Long term, there will be market consolidation, but right now, “it’s still fairly early days” for hyperconvergence, Macomber said.

Hear more about hyperconverged infrastructure from Krista Macomber live and in person at Interop ITX, where she will present “Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure: Myths & Truths.” Register now for Interop ITX, May 15-19 in Las Vegas.

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