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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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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Insights from NetApp Insight

It was surreal flying into Vegas on Monday to attend NetApp Insight at the Mandalay Bay hotel. NetApp this week had to deal with something no company ever expects to or should have to deal with: a mass shooting at the venue where their event was to kick off the next morning. Faced with a very difficult decision, the company decided to cancel the day 1 events, but proceed with business (almost) as usual for the rest of the week, kicking things off with a keynote Tuesday morning. After all, it had about 3,200 people already in town for the technical conference on Monday, and expected a total of 4,100. With so many people already here, looking at logistics, they decided to move ahead. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Pure Gold: Flash Vendor Predicts 30%-Plus CAGR, $35-Billion TAM

SAN FRANCISCO: Pure Storage has made it to the big leagues, having outfought, out-thought and outlasted the hordes of competitors in the enterprise flash storage market, which is experiencing explosive growth in the rapidly emerging digital transformation/big data and analytics/Internet of Things world. No longer relegated to the ‘Others’ category, it is a top-five player that looks too big to buy (Dell EMC, like James Bond, proves you should Never Say Never Again, but an acquisition — or at least a suitable acquisitor — appears unlikely) and too small to thrive without some help, typically a significant barrier to entry like proprietary (and popular) intellectual property, large installed base or deep pockets. With both the $1-billion revenue plateau and its first quarterly profit within reach in calendar 2017, the Puritan elders — AKA its senior executives — are predicting even bigger things to come, like at least three more years of 30%-plus revenue growth, surpassing the $2-billion annual revenue mark by 2020. That prediction was just one of the items announced to more than 3,000 customers, partners and staff (with another 2,000 online, for a total increase of 300% over last year’s inaugural event), at this week’s Pure//Accelerate 2017. Unlike the overall enterprise storage market, which continues to see capacity shipment growth at the expense of revenue and margin growth, the flash market, especially all flash arrays (AFAs), is growing explosively — 48% in the first quarter. Sales were a little over $1.3 billion, with Pure Storage holding down fourth place with 12% market share, behind Dell EMC (29%), NetApp (21%), HPE (17%), and comfortably ahead of IBM (7%). “All-flash array is the only segment growing in the external storage market space,” said Jimmy Yu, Dell’Oro Group vice president, in a statement. “While the total market for external storage has contracted for the past two years, and will likely decline again this year, all flash storage system sales are reaching all new highs. We predict all-flash array revenue to grow approximately 40 percent in 2017 to reach nearly $7 billion while disk and hybrid storage system revenues decline about 14 percent.” AFA’s future is looking even brighter, according to both flash guru Jim Handy, GM of semiconductor research group, Objective Analysis, and Gartner. Handy expects a manufacturing breakthrough in high-capacity 3D NAND chips next year that will further lower AFA prices. Gartner is predicting that half of all data centers will only use AFA for primary storage by 2020, with the market growing to $9.67 billion. Pure believes the total addressable market for its faster solid-state storage arrays is $35 billion. Dave Vellante, chief analyst of Wikibon, agrees the...

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