Dell: The Year of VDI… For The Midmarket
Mar09

Dell: The Year of VDI… For The Midmarket

The concept of virtualizing desktops, aka Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, has been around since the early ‘00s, with the promise of simplifying and lowering the cost of end-user computing, licensing, support and software maintenance, with mixed — and typically less-than-predicted — results. VDI followed thin client computing, which got its start a decade earlier, and both follow in the footsteps of dumb and smart terminals like 1964’s IBM 3270 and 1978’s DEC VT100. Reducing complexity, lowering costs and improving security and manageability are all laudable goals, so why have thin client, VDI and this decade’s variation, Desktop as a Service, met with such resounding yawns? The truth is that while the year of Thin Client, VDI or DaaS have yet to arrive, they collectively are catching on, according to Jeff McNaught, Executive Director of Marketing and Chief Strategy Officer of Cloud Client-Computing, Dell. With more than two decades history in this market, including co-inventing and spearheading the development of the Wyse thin client back around 1995, he tells IT Trends & Analysis that the market continues to grow at pretty decent rates. “We think we have enabled a whole new series of not just markets, but use cases”. The most recent available numbers show a declining thin and terminal client market, down 6.7% year-over-year, with shipments hampered by strong deployments in 2014, and ongoing economic and currency pressures in key parts of the market. IDC predicted 2015 shipments would reach 5.1 million units, but would return to steady growth from 2016 through 2019, reaching 6.4 million units in 2019. It’s currently a two-horse vendor race: HP held a slight lead over Dell, with 26.9% market share, versus 26%, with NComputing (8.8%) and Centerm (7.8%) holding down the next two positions. The shipment numbers are very anemic when you consider how the rest of the device market is doing. While 2015 PC shipments were down substantially YoY, they still came close to 300 million units. Tablet shipments are expected to drop a few percentage points to just 195 million units this year, while smartphones surpassed 1.4 billion units last year. Towards the end of last year Dell sponsored a study on thin clients that found that prospective customers don’t really understand how and where the technology can be deployed effectively. ‘The majority (of respondents) have an out of date view of thin client technology.’ The survey of 220 respondents globally (mainly US and UK) — 49% with 1,000-plus employees — concluded that ‘thin client hardware will have to make its way into organisations through proactive planning and transformation of the end user computing environment overall. While this sounds like a very...

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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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This Year in Storage

Happy 2016! Is that still allowed in February? Or, if you are like me, are you stunned that just over 8% of the year went by already! Anyhow, while ‘predictions’ is an over-used word around this time of year, there’s another ‘P’ word that has had more than its fair share of deployment in IT circles generally – and storage specifically – over the decades: the word is ‘paradigm’. And especially shifts thereof! But sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason.. .Scott Sinclair and I recently sat down to chat about both P words with regard to the storage industry over the coming year and beyond. In our age of being attention-challenged, it is worth noting that the resulting video is around 7 minutes. But (and hopefully it is not immodest) we think it turned out as a useful overview! To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Arrays First Steps In A New Seagate?
Dec09

Arrays First Steps In A New Seagate?

In its first big move since shelling out almost $700 million in August to acquire the storage system business of Dot Hill Systems, [which is pocket change compared to rival Western Digital’s $19-billion October bid for flash chip vendor SanDisk] Seagate Technology has announced a new and improved AssuredSAN (hardware) RealStor (software) family of hybrid and all-flash storage arrays. There are a number of enhancements, but the one that stands out is the 40% reduction in cost per IOPS and cost per VM. “If you’re an OEM… i.e. HP… Teradata… Quantum… you need to bring into your portfolio a solid, intelligent, fast array from a vendor you can rely on,” said Jim Jonez, Marketing Director, who came to Seagate in October when the Dot Hill acquisition closed. These arrays have features that are absolutely unique, that you need as a storage provider to provide to your customers, he told IT Trends & Analysis. “The addition of Dot Hill’s arrays to Seagate’s portfolio is a significant ‘win’ for OEMs and their customers,” said Mark Peters, practice director and senior analyst of Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “Not only are OEM sales efforts now bolstered by a more comprehensive selection of field-proven storage solutions, but also these new RealStor enhancements address critical enterprise needs while maintaining the products’ hallmark competitive pricing. The result is that OEMs – regardless of customer needs or budget – will be able to offer very compelling solutions through their relationship with Seagate.” Blogging about the Dot Hill acquisition in August, ESG analyst Scott Sinclair noted that the deal made sense on a number of levels. ‘With Dot Hill’s comprehensive product set of storage systems and software, Seagate should be better equipped to capture a larger piece of that cloud infrastructure pie [a storage infrastructure market that could easily surpass $10 billion currently]. The bottom line is that as the battle for cloud dominance heats up, so does the battle to supply the infrastructure to the cloud. And Seagate is strengthening its position.’ Seagate appears to have a lot of strengthening to do. For its most recent quarter (first quarter of fiscal year 2016 ended October 2, 2015) the company reported lower-than-expected revenues (approximately $2.9 billion) and gross margin (23.6%), with net income of $34 million. “While lower than planned nearline enterprise demand temporarily impacted our financial results, we are pleased with the momentum we have across our products, which will be further supported by the newly acquired assets of Dot Hill and our ability to now completely integrate the Samsung hard drive business,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate’s chairman and CEO. Selling to the cloud/hyperscale...

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Cisco re IT’s Future: “Infrastructure as Code.”
Nov25

Cisco re IT’s Future: “Infrastructure as Code.”

“What surviving companies do is get market transitions right. Our competitors from 20 years ago? None of them exist. We …were lucky to emerge from every transition stronger than ever.” John Chambers, Cisco Chambers may have moved upstairs to chairman, but his company has identified yet another IT shift, to composable infrastructure, said Cisco’s Todd Brannon, Director of Product Marketing, Unified Computing. Conceptually, we see this as another transition, he stated. “We like to say… we’re wrapping code around the infrastructure rather than sheet metal.” The transition to CI – not to be confused with the other CI, converged infrastructure – started around 18 months ago, he said, to a much more distributed environment, i.e. microservers and containers. “What we recognized is customers are looking for much more granular control of their infrastructures.” According to the company, its Composable Infrastructure software-defined infrastructure (SDI) solution lets you treat infrastructure as code, disaggregating compute resources so they can be programmed and automatically managed more efficiently. There are currently two offerings: UCS M-Series Modular Servers; and, UCS C3260 Rack Server. “IT is shifting to a new model.” Everything we’re doing is transparent., it’s all being done in a software-defined way at the element level, said Brannon. “Basically, infrastructure as code.” IDC’s Jed Scaramella, Research Director, Enterprise Servers and Datacenters, said composable infrastructure applies a software design element to hardware infrastructure. It disaggregates hardware components, server, storage, and networking I/O, effectively breaking down the boundaries of the server systems. ‘IT needs distributed computing environments that scale quickly and seamlessly yet are still economical’, he noted in a recent report on composable infrastructure, on behalf of Cisco. ‘There’s a demand for systems that can speed up time to market and increase business agility and efficiency. For the IT organization, the goal is to become a service provider to the business.’ The primary benefit is the ability to compose and decompose single sets or blocks of compute, storage, and networking components for a particular application, he said. It provides a common platform that is flexible for different applications, making it possible to configure components to optimize application performance — whether compute intensive, data intensive, or balanced. ‘The infrastructure can achieve the best ratio of compute to I/O to storage — regardless of physical server configuration.’ Back in June HP released its Composable Infrastructure API, 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. HP stated that organizations must transition from applications that fundamentally “run” the business, to applications that are designed to “be” the business, and that...

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