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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Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?
Feb01

Has Cisco Got The Right Stuff?

John Chambers, who handed control of Cisco to Chuck Robbins in July 2015, was bumped further upstairs a month ago when he became Chairman Emeritus, while his successor took over his role as Chairman of the Board, but more than a change in leadership, the turnover represents a new — and hopefully — improved networking, server and security vendor. The company, which has been struggling with the cloud and commodity hardware and software-based competitors for the last decade, looks poised for new life — and growth — as it hosts this week’s Cisco Live EMEA 2018, in Barcelona, Spain. Reinventing Cisco is not new. “We’re probably reinvented ourselves five or six times literally in the last two decades alone,” said Chambers shortly after moving up to the board. In an industry famous for it’s what-have-you-done-for-me-next philosophy, networking has been battered by explosive demands, increasing complexity and flat budgets, with the results that Cisco’s market domination has been mired in commodity hell. In Q3 its Ethernet switching business grew 7.4% year-over-year to $6.75 billion (56.7% market share), while the router market climbed 3% to 41.4%, up slightly sequentially (40.8%), but down year-over-year (44%). While networking accounts for the bulk of Cisco’s revenues, it’s been doing pretty well in the datacenter market with its server portfolio (i.e. UCS and HyperFlex), statistically tied with IBM for third place in 3Q17, with 5.8% of the market ($992 million), behind HPE (19.5%) and Dell (18.1%). Cisco also did very well in the converged systems market, and while it’s a much smaller segment, $2.99 billon vs $17 billon in Q3, the company held down second place between Dell (48.3%) and HPE (10.3% share, down 41.9% from a year-ago’s 18.1%), and grew its marketshare 56.4% YoY to $485.5 million. Security is another market where Cisco is growing strongly. Cybersecurity spending is expected to soar from last year’s $137.85 billion to $231.94 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.0%. According to ESG cybersecurity guru Jon Oltsik, “Cisco is one of only a handful of $2 billion-plus cybersecurity vendors that can grow its security revenue to over $5 billion by 2020.” At 4% of total revenues, the company’s security business is never going to be more than a wagging tail, but it grew 13% YoY in 2016, and 12% in the first nine months of 2017, which is way better than the switch and router business. A week ago Cisco expanded its cybersecurity portfolio with the acquisition of Skyport — a privately held company that has secured approximately $70 million in funding — whose core product platform is SkySecure Server, a physical server...

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HPE InfoSight Brings Autonomous DC (i.e. Skynet) Closer
Dec07

HPE InfoSight Brings Autonomous DC (i.e. Skynet) Closer

The upcoming termination of Meg Whitman’s reign is not the only Big Bang due out of Hewlett Packard Enterprise early next year: in January the drastically slimmed-down enterprise IT powerhouse will roll out a 3PAR-enabled artificial intelligence recommendation engine (InfoSight AIRE) that will take HPE closer to the autonomous datacenter, according to company officials. “Infosight is AI for the datacenter,” HPE’s Gavin Cohen, VP, Product and Solutions Marketing, Storage, told IT Trends & Analysis. “That’s something Nimble started building on from the start.” HPE announced the completion of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Nimble Storage in April, and while that significantly beefed up its flash and cloud storage assets, the company said it would be leveraging InfoSight across both its storage and server portfolios. Calling InfoSight the “crown jewels” of the Nimble acquisition, the AI power of the platform provides HPE and its partners with a big competitive advantage against any and all competitors, said Meg’s CEO successor-to-be (as of  February 1) HPE President Antonio Neri. “Nobody has this,” he said in a recent interview. The predictive analytics capabilities are sure to power dramatic reductions in storage total cost of ownership (TCO) for businesses of all sizes, he said. “It delivers the best performance with the best uptime and lowest TCO optimized for the specific workloads that run on the platform. The customer gets the best experience at the lowest cost.” Beyond storage are servers and ultimately the datacenter, and bringing AI and predictive analytics to the datacenter is not only necessary for protecting existing revenue streams, but essential to the autonomous datacenter. While we hopefully won’t get a Skynet, Terminator’s rise (and fall) of the machines, AI in the datacenter is coming quickly. By 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services; by 2021, 75% of commercial enterprise apps will use AI; and the majority of adopters have seen quantified returns meeting or exceeding expectations. “AI is a positive force for change,” stated Mark Purdy, Managing Director-Economic Research, Accenture Research. “It has the potential to markedly increase growth rates and substantially raise economic output across industries, while helping organizations to more easily rotate to the new way of doing business.” A recent survey found that AI could boost average profitability rates by 38% and lead to an economic increase of $14 trillion by 2035. But all that remains in the future; today, we have AI-powered storage, or at least Nimble, and shortly, 3PAR, and the benefits are equally compelling. The AI and predictive analytics capabilities of InfoSight reduce the time spent troubleshooting issues by up to 85% and help to deliver greater than 99.9999% of guaranteed...

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Understanding The Hype Around Hyperconverged Infrastructure

There is a lot of hype around hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). All the big vendors and a number of lesser-known smaller ones are in the game. Dell EMC has doubled down on its HCI portfolio investments; NetApp is entering the market leveraging its Solidfire technology; HPE is investing in growing its SimpliVity line; Cisco acquired Springpath so it could offer its own line, but it also partners with Nutanix, HPE and just about everyone else! Speaking of Nutanix, it was a category pioneer (along with SimpliVity) and its Dell EMC branded business is still growing, even though Dell EMC has somewhat competing products with VxRack and VxRail (the 3 HCI products serve different use cases – a topic for another blog!). Nutanix is also doing a healthy business through Lenovo and its channel partners and it has an agreement with IBM to offer its HCI on Power systems. Lesser-known (but fast growing) Pivot3 just announced 50% growth in bookings! Hitachi Vantara has a product it is also leveraging for Lumada IoT, and VMware sells vSAN for HCI use cases. I’m still just scratching the surface- I know I’ve left some vendors out – it’s a long list! What’s behind all this vendor investment and noise? Lots of user interest. Edwin Yuen and I recently sat down and dug into our new HCI research. In this video, we define what HCI is, discuss why IT organizations are so interested, and look at how HCI will impact more traditional approaches to IT infrastructure. Please watch and I would love to hear your feedback! To read the complete article, CLICK...

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IBM… The Advantages Of Skill And Vision At The Top

IBM significantly beat estimates to turn in a stunning quarter in terms of financial performance this week. Even their mainframe business was looking impressively strong largely because they’ve repositioned that product towards encryption and security. Generally, when you have two quarters of margin increases and increasing double digit growth in new market areas once they are material (IBM’s Strategic Imperatives are now 45% of their revenue mix) you can declare the turnaround out of the woods and affirm the firm’s direction as sustainably positive. IBM has now basically beat street estimates for EPS for a straight 8 quarters supporting this premise that IBM is fully back into the game but with a very different and far more competitive product mix. Let’s talk IBM and why they appear out of the woods while HPE, which is undergoing a similar transition, isn’t doing as well. To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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