HCI: A Cure For IT Complexity?
Feb08

HCI: A Cure For IT Complexity?

All-in-one computing, or IT in a box, is experiencing huge growth under the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) label, but while it has quickly moved from hype to mainstream, it still has a long way to go before the software-centric architecture – that integrates compute, storage and virtualization resources in a single system, typically x86 hardware – becomes the preferred way to build your IT infrastructure. HCI first showed up on the Gartner Hype Cycle in 2015, paired with Integrated Systems and taking its initial step of its Hype journey, Innovation Trigger, with the expectation of reaching the Plateau of Productivity in 5-10 years. Just a year later, in Gartner 2016 Hype Cycle For Storage Technologies, HCI was poised atop the very Peak of Inflated Expectations, with an estimated mainstream adoption of less than two years. On Tuesday Gartner released its inaugural Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure, which placed Nutanix, along with Dell EMC, VMware and HPE in its Leaders category. Honorable mentions went to: Cisco, Huawei and Pivot3 (Challengers); Stratoscale and Microsoft (Visionaries); and Scale Computing, DataCore and HTBase (Niche Players). The research giant predicts that by 2020, 20% of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to hyperconverged infrastructure. According to the latest numbers from IDC, converged systems market revenue increased 10.8% year over year to $2.99 billion during the third quarter of 2017 (3Q17), but hyperconverged systems sales grew 68.0% YoY to $1 billion (33.5% for the total market). Dell was the HCI leader – $306.8 million in revenue and a 30.6% share – followed by Nutanix in second place, with $207.4 million in revenue and a share of 20.7%. IDC’s list of key players included Atlantis Computing, Cisco, Fujitsu, Gridstore, HPE, SimpliVity, Maxta, Nimboxx, Pivot3, Scale Computing, NetApp, DataCore and Vmware. Another company with HCI aspirations is Microsoft, which entered the HCI space in late 2016 when it made its datacenter OS, Windows Server 2016, generally available. “Hyperconverged infrastructure is a key part of our Windows Server 2016 software-defined strategy spanning software-defined compute, storage, network and assurance,” noted Siddhartha Roy, principal group program manager for high availability and storage in Windows Server. “The converged systems market expanded on multiple fronts, most notably within hyperconverged solutions,” said IDC’s Eric Sheppard, research director, Enterprise Storage & Converged Systems. “While hyperconvergence is not the sole source of market growth, it has undeniably driven an expansion of this market into new environments at a very rapid pace.” 451 Research predicts the HCI market will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41% through 2020 to just under $6 billion, while Technology Business Research estimated that the...

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FalconStor Lassos A Piece of SDS’ 35% CAGR
Feb27

FalconStor Lassos A Piece of SDS’ 35% CAGR

If llamas can stage a prison break in Arizona, then why can’t the struggling  FalconStor Software try and find freedom by busting out to the hottest storage commodity? Software Defined Storage (SDS) is still in its infancy, said storage guru George Crump, Storage Switzerland. “FalconStor’s new FreeStor solution promises to mature the category in a hurry.” By ‘freedom’, FalconStor means an approximate 2X surge in its ‘attainable market’, the market growth it thinks it can achieve on strictly product revenue, without maintenance or professional services. ‘With FreeStor and by targeting the SSD, Hybrid and Cloud MSP markets, we believe we can reasonably grow to $56.6 million.’ Originally pre-announced back in October by CEO Garry Quinn, following another quarter of declining revenue, the company’s approach is to let the data center adopt SDS at a pace that makes sense for the organization. “More importantly, this adoption can include the aggregation of existing storage assets, leveraging them as it makes sense,” said Crump. While worldwide disk storage systems factory revenue grew 5.1% year over year to nearly $8.8 billion during the third quarter of 2014, the SDS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 35.20% over the period 2015-2019. SDS helps enterprises reduce storage infrastructure costs through efficient allocation of resources, which is the reason many large enterprises have added it to their infrastructure paradigm. Currently, the key players are EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp and VMware. FalconStor can now add its name to the list of SDS wannabes that also includes Coraid, DataCore, Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, Nexenta, Pivot3 and RedHat. Building on FalconStor’s ’15 years of innovation in virtualization, data protection and migration,’ FreeStor is ‘the first truly horizontal, software-defined storage platform for unified data services. Due to ship no later than May, the unified platform provides migration, continuity, protection, recovery and optimization for any storage environment through a single management interface – all for a single price based on managed capacity across arrays, servers, hypervisors, data centers, and the cloud, said the company. Last year was an inflection point for FalconStor, said Quinn, during the 2014 earnings call two weeks ago. ‘Throughout the year, we’ve stabilized our employees, partners and customers with updates of our new products, discussions of new products on the horizon, and launching of a new FalconStor image and message #BEFREE.’ Talking about the upcoming FreeStor announcement, he said it ‘addresses the heterogeneous storage portfolio of just about every large enterprise customer. It addresses those all-Flash array and Hybrid Flash array hardware manufacturers which do not have a software stack or do not have an enterprise ready software stack, as well as it provides...

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HP’s New Free-Defined Software-Defined Storage

While the title of HP’s press release today may have just a smidgeon of hyperbole (“HP Makes Software-defined Storage Available to the World”), what it covers is indeed significant. Before I comment, the gist is this: Purchasers of Intel Xeon E5 v3 processor-based servers can now get a no-cost 1TB HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) license. That VSA is not an appliance per se, but it is software that applies common storage functionality using the storage that is typically provided as a part of any server purchase. It is well proven, as it is in essence the management system that attracted HP to buy LeftHand. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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It’s Official: Software-Defined Storage (SDS) Comes of Age
Jun20

It’s Official: Software-Defined Storage (SDS) Comes of Age

Software-Defined Storage (SDS; sorry security) appears to be ready for prime time, having just been rewarded with its very own Dummies ebook, courtesy of IBM. Of course its Big Blue’s version of SDS, but based on the Storage Networking Industry Association’s laundry list of SDS attributes, there will be no shortage of vendors (and pundits) offering their take on just what SDS is. Speaking of laundry lists, SNIA’s SDS attributes include: -may allow customers to “build it themselves,” providing their own commodity hardware to create a solution with the provided software; -may work with either arbitrary hardware or may also enhance the existing functions of specialized hardware; -may also enable the scale-out of storage (not just the scale up typical of big storage boxes); -nearly always includes the pooling of storage and other resources; -may allow for the building of the storage and data services “solution” incrementally; -incorporates management automation; -includes a self service interface for users; -includes a form of service level management that allows for the tagging of metadata to drive the type of storage and data services applied. The granularity may be large to start, but is expected to move to a finer grained service level capability over time; -allows administrators to set policy for managing the storage and data services; and, -enables the dis-aggregation of storage and data services. SNIA does have a slightly shorter list of what SDS should include: automation; standard interfaces; virtualized data path; and scalability. As to what SDS is, Gigaom Research offers the following concept: SDS abstracts and moves the traditional storage controller core engine and adjacent management functions from the storage array to software — just about anywhere in the storage infrastructure. According to Chuck Hollis, Chief Strategist, VMware SAS BU (AKA EMC), software-defined storage is a cluster of related concepts: some fundamental, others more optional depending on requirements. Regardless of what SDS will or will not be, despite the ebook, we’re still in the very early days, he wrote in a recent blog. “To be transparent, it would be inaccurate for me to say that there’s a landslide of significant SDS deployments to date. Yet interest is very, very high.” As the largest storage vendor, EMC is at least participating in the SDS race, if not leading it. In May it unveiled ViPR 2.0, the latest iteration of its software-defined storage offering. Boaz Palgi, VP & GM, Advanced Storage Division, who came to EMC when his company ScaleIO was acquired, is responsible for the compay’s software-defined storage initiatives like ViPR. “I’ve been preaching the proposition of software defined storage for quite a few years. I think it’s amazing...

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