The Future of Hyper-Converged Storage - Page 2


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Not All Products or Solutions Are the Same

Some of the solutions are not practical until you have a certain size customer environment. Some solutions start small and can be stretched to do more, adding complexity, while others focused on the higher end of markets can scale down, which also adds overhead and complexity.

Some are for DIY, where you define the amount and focus of convergence using various hardware, software, services and tools. On the other hand, some CI, HCI and CiB are very converged for smaller- to medium-sized environments or can be configured by DIY in combination with other technologies to scale up and scale-out.

A sampling of CI, HCI and CiB vendors includes Cisco (partners with various vendors), Citrix, DataON Storage, DDN, Dell (also partners with various vendors), EMC, (VCE Vblock, VxRACK, VSPEX Blue, EVO:Rail), Foxconn, HDS, Hedvig, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel (servers in addition to processors), Lenovo, Maxta, Microsoft SOFS (partners with various hardware providers), NetApp (partners with Cisco), Newisys, Nutanix (also partnering with Dell), OpenStack, Oracle, Pivot3, Scale, Pluribus, Seagate (appliances via Xyratex acquisition), Simplivity (also partnering with Cisco), Supermicro, Tintri, VMware EVO:Rail and Wowza among others.

What Does This All Mean?

Everything is not the same. What works or fits best for one scenario may not be applicable for a different environment, application or market segment. There is more to scaling up and down, as well as out and up than just hardware and software. Service, support and vendor organizational focus also need to be considered.

Some hyper providers may get hyped up around discussions that move beyond their hyper-converged comfort zones, while others may see opportunities to extend their offerings into larger, more diverse environments. This also means that some hyper-converged vendors focus on being the hyper king of the small-pond, or an emerging big player might focus on the larger lake, sea or ocean of converged data and applications.

Instead of sizing a market based on what specific products can do, look at the different markets, their needs, requirements and current spending to see where the opportunity is. The upside is that you may find a broader or larger target available market (TAM) as well as new opportunities to position and sell solutions into. On the other hand, for solutions that are limited by hardware, software, archrecture or a robust revenue prevention department, those will need to converge their available markets into a hyper-converged subset of the larger opportunity available to other players.

Tips and Recommendations

Some things to look for with CI, HCI and CIB solutions:

  • Single points of failure beyond hardware, also look at file systems and management tools
  • Will the solution work for you, or will you go to work taking care of the solution?
  • Can you deploy the solution software on your hardware or virtual machine or cloud?
  • Are you locked into the solution providers hardware choices?
  • Watch for complexity as some solutions scale-up, and overhead when some scale-down.
  • Flash solid state device (SSD) storage is in your future; look for solutions that support NVme.
  • Don’t forget to consider your data protection needs from security (logical and physical) to backup/restore, BC, BR and DR both on-site and off.

Greg Schulz is founder and senior analyst of independent IT advisory consultancy firm Server StorageIO and UnlimitedIO LLC (e.g. StorageIO). He has worked in IT at an electrical utility, financial services and transportation firms in roles ranging from business applications development to systems management, architecture, strategy and capacity planning. Mr. Schulz is author of the Intel Recommended Reading List books Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking and The Green and Virtual Data Center via CRC Press and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier). Greg is a Microsoft MVP and six-time VMware vExpert. Learn more at www.storageio.com.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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