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Why the hype over hyperconvergence?

Think of a datacentre and you think of servers, storage and networked hardware. But rising costs, increasing demand and the need for increased speed means this model is under constant review.

Now though, the industry is starting to see something of a sea change and it is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) that is behind this shift. HCI is the latest step in the evolutionary process that began with converged infrastructure (the hardware-focused, building-block approach) which re-ordered compute, storage and networking into a unified managed layer.

HCI adds to that by throwing in software-defined storage, moving the focus from networking to data control and management. Hyperconvergence refers to the ability to run both software-defined storage and applications on the same servers.

But why the hype? Well, HCI makes things easier. It only arrived on the scene a couple of years ago and is one of the fastest-growing methods for deploying IT in the datacentre. Gartner expects it to go from a zero start in 2012 to a $5 billion market by 2019 (http://bit.ly/1Nmi913). The analysts also predict that in those three years some 70% of existing storage array products will become available in ‘software-only’ versions. (http://bit.ly/1QDy8fa).

With HCI, all the hardware requirements are consolidated into one box with the software in that box providing all of the applications to drive the IT infrastructure within an organisation. As it is software-based, server compute, storage, network switch, hypervisor, data protection, data efficiency, global management and other enterprise functions usually associated with x86 building blocks are consolidated. The result: it’s more efficient, offers greater scale, has increased agility and has lower costs (both capex and opex), according to a 2015 State of Hyperconvergence Report (http://bit.ly/1nvZRny).

Some predict that it will all but replace traditional hardware in the datacentre during the coming year (http://bit.ly/1QJ1yGv). Even so, there is still some way to go. “The industry has a lot of maturation ahead of it,” said Gartner analyst Andrew Butler reported DataCenterKnowledge (http://bit.ly/1Nmi913), which shows the level of opportunity available to users and vendors alike. The survey Spending Trends Across Servers and Converged Infrastructureshowed 85% say their spending on HCI will grow this year (2016).

It’s not just datacentres, though, that are starting to reap the benefits of HCI. “Hammer can offer market-leading hyperconverged solutions to mid-sized and SMB customers as well,” said Neal Gibbons, pre-sales engineer at the specialist value-add distributor, Hammer. As well as offering Dell OEM and Datacore products, Hammer is a Dell and Nutanix certified partner and “can offer services from initial consultation to full installation. For a more DIY lower-cost approach, we offer the Atlantis/ Supermicro solution,” added Neal Gibbons.

Even so, hyperconvergence is just one solution. SAN and blade servers, for example, are still available, viable, in-demand and real competition to the hyperconvergence bandwagon. Even with all the attention and potential for the hyper-convergence market, x86 servers continue to see high adoption along with increased communisation, said Nikolay Yamakawa, senior analyst at 451 Research. (http://bit.ly/1puyVGa). Hyperconvergence has a tipping point and if an organisation doesn’t have the size or require the scalability to create the cost reductions, for all its hype, hyperconvergence simply isn’t the answer.

Whether it’s HCI or a more conventional approach, Hammer, with its 25 years’ experience and backed by 40 world-class vendors, can provide expertise and insight to help channel partners meet the varying and demanding needs of their customers.  

Source: Hammer
Published Date: 31/01/2017

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