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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EMC: Bringing Hyperconvergence To The Masses
Feb16

EMC: Bringing Hyperconvergence To The Masses

EMC may be busy figuring out its pending future with Dell, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that while the overall IT market is inching along at 0.6% growth this year (albeit to $3.54 trillion), the converged infrastructure (CI) market is growing at 10X — 6.2% year-over-year (to $2.5 billion), and the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market is growing at 258X, with sales shooting up 155.3% (to $278.8 million) for the last reported quarter. It’s still early days for HCI, but EMC would love to see the kinds of results VMware achieved in the server virtualization space with its latest additions, the VCE VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure appliances (HCIA) for VMware environments. The economic benefits of VxRail are very clear, said Gil Shneorson, VP and GM VxRail, EMC. You can start very small and grow as you need. “That’s very appealing,” he told IT Trends & Analysis. Customers also don’t have to worry about planning ahead. “You don’t have the upgrade event in the future… or have to face issues when you buy a new solution”. EMC has taken all the guesswork out of it, with the integration and automation (and aggressive pricing), said Shneorson. “We think we are the only ones who are doing this.” Integrating the hardware and software together, and supporting it, “that is very important and a very enticing value proposition.” They may be the only ones ‘doing this’, but there are a lot of companies buzzing around the CI/HCI market. IDC estimates that total worldwide spending on converged infrastructure will hit $17.8 billion in 2016, up from $4.6 billion in 2012. It breaks the market down into three segments: -Integrated systems are pre-integrated, vendor-certified systems containing server hardware, disk storage systems, networking equipment, and basic element/systems management software; –Certified reference systems are pre-integrated, vendor-certified systems containing server hardware, disk storage systems, networking equipment, and basic element/systems management software; however, they are designed with systems from multiple technology vendors; and, -Hyperconverged systems collapse core storage and compute functionality into a single, highly virtualized solution. A key characteristic of hyperconverged systems that differentiate these solutions from other integrated systems is their ability to provide all compute and storage functions through the same server-based resources. Gartner also divides the integrated systems market into three broad categories: –Integrated stack system (ISS) — Server, storage and network hardware integrated with application software to provide appliance or appliancelike functionality. Examples include IBM PureApplication System, Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Teradata; –Integrated infrastructure system (IIS) — Server, storage and network hardware integrated to provide shared compute infrastructure. Examples include VCE Vblock, HP ConvergedSystem and Lenovo Converged System (formerly...

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Whatever Hyperconvergence Is or Isn’t, It Is Hot!
Aug04

Whatever Hyperconvergence Is or Isn’t, It Is Hot!

HP is expanding its hyperconverged infrastructure portfolio with the 2U, 4-node ConvergedSystem 250-HC StoreVirtual (CS250) appliance. Designed for virtual desktops and remote office productivity, as well as offering an easy path to hybrid cloud, it is ‘configurable in minutes for nearly half the price of competitive systems.’ “We’re focused on bringing more choice to our customers,” said Rob Strechay, Director, Product Marketing and Management, Software-Defined Storage, HP. The 4-node appliance (the starting price initially quoted is apparently now under review) will ship on August 17, while the 3-node CS250 with Foundation Carepack and VMware vSphere Enterprise, starting at a list price of $121,483, will ship on September 28, he told IT Trends & Analysis. Back in December the company unveiled its Helion CloudSystem CS200-Hyper-Converged StoreVirtual and ConvergedSystem 700. In June it introduced its next CI, the Composable Infrastructure (API), intended to support a new class of infrastructure that will be “composable”, built to fit the specific needs of an application or workload that will run on it. While HP’s initial foray into HCI nine months ago exceeded expectations, Strechay said customers indicated they were looking for “simpler, lower-cost solutions that had better performance”. The CS 250 allows customers to tailor the system with a choice of up to 96 processing cores, a mix of SSD and SAS disk drives, and up to 2TB of memory per 4-node appliance, double that of previous generations, and includes three 4TB StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) licenses delivers multi-site business continuity by leveraging the system’s ability to flexibly replicate data to any other HP StoreVirtual-based solution. The appliance is pre-configured for vSphere 5.5 or 6.0 and HP OneView InstantOn, with daily management from VMware vCenter via the HP OneView for VMware vCenter plug-in. The system will also be cloud-ready, at least for HP’s Helion, said Strechay. While definitions vary, hyperconvergence appears to be a type of infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies in a commodity hardware box supported by a single vendor, and enabling cloud-like economics and scale without compromising the performance, reliability, and availability (i.e. Nutanix and SimpliVity). Unlike HCI, HP’s CI, or converged infrastructure – not to be confused with HP’s other CI, composable infrastructure – is a mix of compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies – from two or more vendors (i.e. Cisco and EMC). “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for infrastructure,” said Manish Goel, SVP and GM, HP Storage, in a prepared statement. “This is why HP continues to offer flexible and interoperable solutions based on HP StoreVirtual technology to help our customers lower costs...

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SAP TechEd 2014 – Taking HANA Further Into the Market

IT solutions seldom follow an entirely linear path, either technologically or commercially. Instead, they proceed in fits and spurts – overcoming points of resistance, adding key new features and innovations, adapting to marketplace dynamics and pursuing new opportunities when and where they emerge. These points were on clear display at SAP’s recent TechEd 2014 conference, the company’s annual get together for technically-inclined customers, partners and IT professionals, where improvements to and presentations concerning SAP’s HANA technologies abounded. But what was particularly interesting about the gathering was a significant shift in how SAP is talking about HANA and explaining its capabilities and value to businesses. Let’s take a closer look at that. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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ITSM Vendor Cherwell Adds Android To Its SaaS Portfolio
May02

ITSM Vendor Cherwell Adds Android To Its SaaS Portfolio

Most of the commodity IT market – PCs, tablets, servers and storage – have taken a beating, if not in unit shipments, then in revenues and/or margins. While not immune to either the market variations or increasing competition, the smartphone numbers continue to surge, and IT Service Management software vendor Cherwell Software is extending its reach into this segment with Cherwell Mobile for Android. Cherwell has been in this market since 2004, and recording its first non-beta sale in 2007, said Matt Neigh, Director of EMEA Sales. It started primarily with Blackberry, and then added iPhone, but the growing popularity of Android, especially in universities, its biggest vertical market, caught its attention. More and more customers were asking for Android, and it boiled down to anywhere, any time access, he said. “In today’s world people are operating in whatever mode makes the most sense to them.” Different segments have different needs, said Neigh, with admin primarily using desktops and IT a mix of everything. “We live in the days when people want to believe that they have a choice in the device that they access.” So adding Android provides more choice, enabling technicians to deal with the data in a way that makes the most sense to them. “We’re really giving people choices…they’ve become accustomed to that… (and we) believe it’s the same in IT.” Another benefit is dealing with the pace of events, when things happen very quickly. “Your C-level and E-level people have to make decisions in near-real time. Your mobile device really becomes your business GPS.” Finally, there is the customer experience (CX) dynamic, said Neigh. “I believe IT is feeling pressure to provide an incredible customer experience but the challenge they face is they have less resources.” According to the latest numbers from IDC, the smartphone market grew an impressive 28.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2014. Vendors shipped 281.5 million smartphones, which was actually down slightly (-2.8%) from the 289.6 million units shipped in 4Q13. Smartphones accounted for 62.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q14, up from the 50.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q13. IDC expects total smartphone shipment volumes to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014, up 19.3% YoY, which indicates even this market has its limits, following the 39.2% growth seen in 2013. Last year Android was the OS for 78.6% of smartphone shipments, followed by iOS (15.2%, Microsoft (3.3%) and Blackberry (1.9%). This year it is forecast to inch up to 78.9% share, and eventually (2018) will be humbled to only 76% of the market. Smartphone growth is far exceeding the pace of the ITSM market,...

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