What Exactly is Hyper-Convergence and Why Should You Care?

In the race to make back-end systems simpler in order to reduce power usage and save rack space, many different-sized organizations are adopting hyper-converged infrastructure. According to the International Data Center (IDC), it’s right to say that hyper-convergence is one of the hottest trends in IT today. The report revealed that sales for hyper-converged infrastructure increased 4.6% year-over-year to about 2.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017.

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So, what is hyper-convergence?

Hyper-convergence is basically a software-centric architecture that allows for the integration of crucial infrastructure functions such as storage, networking, compute and other virtualization resources into a unified resource pool with a hypervisor. Under this concept, a vendor supplies a pre-configured bundle of software and hardware in a single framework with the aim of simplifying management and reducing compatibility issues. In other words, the ultimate goal of hyper-convergence is to enable users to lessen operational complexity, boost efficiency, and swiftly scale to meet growing requirements.

Who are the Major Hyper-converged Players?

There are various vendors that have jumped on the hyper-converged bandwagon. Here are the top 10 most notable players in the industry:

1. Nutanix

This company prides itself in being one of the hyper-converged pioneers after it launched the industry’s first ever all-flash hyper-converged array. This major player struck an OEM deal with Dell to avail converged devices that run on Dell PowerEdge servers using Nutanix software.

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2. Simplivity

Now integrated into what is considered the number 1 selling x86 server in the world. Simplivity’s proprietary software and FPGA card sit on the DL380 server chassis after being acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) at the beginning of 2017.

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3. Pivot 3

The vendor launched its first hyper-converged device in 2008. The company developed the vSTAC OS using Scalar Erasure Coding, which enables any program running on one device within the cluster to gain access to resources across all the other appliances in the cluster.

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4. VMware

With it’s EVO: RAIL platform, VMware is also a force to reckon with in the hyper-converged space. This platform is offered by Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, SuperMicro, HP and EMC.

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5. Gridstore

This vendor presents the first hyper-V optimized storage system. Its hyper-converged devices come in both hybrid and all-flash versions, and they are purpose-built for Microsoft Hyper-V.

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6. Scale Computing

This is an ideal option for smaller organizations due to its simplicity, ease of use, and the fact that it relies on KVM that eradicates licensing fees for commercial hypervisors. Scale Computing also integrated disaster recovery capabilities into its HC3 platform.

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7. Stratoscale

This vendor developed a hyper-converged system that integrates networking, storage and compute. It also supports both container and virtualized workloads.

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8. Cisco

Introduces the Hyperflex HX Data Platform, which is a high-performance, flash-optimized distributed hyper-converged system. Presenting a broad array of enterprise-grade data management and optimizations services.

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9. EMC

This vendor, which is basically a data storage powerhouse, sells the industry’s fastest-growing VxRail hyper-convergence system. EMC was however acquired by Dell in December 2016.

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10. Atlantis Computing:

Not only is this vendor a winner of the Best of Citrix Synergy and Best of VMworld awards, but it’s also renowned for its flexible and high-performance hyper-converged systems that present a dynamic user experience at reduced costs.

How Much Market Share Do they Own?

During the first quarter of 2017, the NDP Group released a report that highlighted the who’s who in the hyper-converged industry. The following are the top 6 hyperconverged vendors according to this market research firm:

  1. Cisco HyperFlex: The vendor managed to ship a approximately 1,533 hyper-convergence systems, accounting for a 37 percent unit market share for Q1 2017.
  2. Nutanix: Coming in closely at No. 2 is this hyper-convergence powerhouse that managed to ship a total of 1,509 systems, also accounting to a 37 percent unit market share.
  3. Dell EMC VxRail All-Flash: After shipping a total of 400 systems, the combined entity accounted for a 9 percent market share. The Dell-EMC all-flash VxRail S470, which has gained a lot of popularity, can be attributed to this remarkable growth.
  4. HPE: Shipped a total of 176 units, which translates to a 4 percent unit market share. HPE owes the incremental growth to its HC 250 Virtual System. The HPE-Simplivity acquisition puts unit market share to 5 percent and growing.  
  5. Scale Computing: Managed to ship a total of 92 units, which translates to a 2 percent unit market share.
  6. SimpliVity: Managed to ship a total of 46 units through the channel, accounting for a 1 percent unit market share.

Conclusion

Hyper-convergence is still in the embryonic stages and has a long way to go. Presently, there are only a few players, with just a handful dominating the market. This is however going to change now that companies are increasingly adopting the hyper-converged cloud trend. It’s only a matter of time for new players to storm the industry as the demand for hyper-converged systems continues to rise.

hyper-convergence
Dan Mitchell President & Solution Architect at Rack Simply
Dan Mitchell

President & Solution Architect at Rack Simply

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