Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) systems experienced wide-scale, mainstream adoption in 2016 over the previous year. Concealing the complexities of IT platform management behind an easy-to-use, easy-to-administer software made for an extremely compelling business case with corporate technology chiefs who were up against business objectives to boost network performance and reduce downtime without the expenditure of specialized experts.
Now mid-way through 2017, HCI has entered what is considered to be the mature stage of the market life cycle. While the systems have lived up to the hype, speculations have begun to circulate the IT industry as to the relevancy of HCI in the coming year(s); more specifically, it’s relevancy and competitiveness with the increased adoption and migration rate of businesses to the hybrid cloud.
Let’s take a look at some of the predictions that we are seeing and discuss HCI’s relevancy in the changing IT landscape.
Scalability & Flexibility
Although HCI is praised for its scalability, first iterations of HCI required scaling all compute, storage, network, etc. resources in unison, regardless of a business’ specific deployment needs. This rigid, one-size-fits-all approach has become a major disadvantage and, therefore, new architectures are adopting a more modular platform.
New HCI platforms with modular scaling offer the same integrated, easy-to-administer software applications but now allow businesses to snap in nodes as they are needed and scale in a disaggregated fashion. Businesses are even able to deploy node clusters for remote office needs that do not require as much compute and storage capacity as on-premises networks.
The newer versions of HCI also offer a pay-as-you-grow option, providing businesses with a more predictable cost model, as well as the opportunity to purchase the software platform and then layer on the architecture that best suits their specific needs. This is particularly valuable to new businesses and start-ups, and works extremely well in remote office and VDI environments.
Rise of the IT Generalist
As you’ve likely witnessed, the IT Generalist position within businesses has come full circle and is now in higher demand than the IT Specialist. Recruiting talent for IT Specialists positions is time-consuming and costly from an annual salary perspective. IT Generalists offer a broader range of knowledge and soft skills, making for a more versatile employee in a time of Lean Enterprise.
HCI further supports this trend by abstracting the complexities of the IT platform management and requiring very few interfaces to manage an entire data center deployment. This simplicity allows the IT Generalist to bring added value to the company and meet business objectives quickly and efficiently.
Storage Needs Are Morphing
As with everything in the IT space, the storage market is rapidly morphing to meet the needs of businesses as they expand their IT solutions, continue the migration to more and more remote office scenarios and cloud operating environments.
Open vStorage is forecasting the migration of storage and workloads as one of the hottest features this year and with new technology, it is predicting a resurgence of SaaS providers offering S3, secondary and primary storage out of the public cloud. It also predicts that we will see continued consolidation of storage providers as new and evolving vendors continue to emerge outside of their general purpose with adaptable solutions that fit enterprise cloud-based needs.
With the continued migration to cloud-based systems, solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming the primary option for storage. Cloud-delivered SSDs allow for persistent data storage and provide high-performance storage solutions with cost effective pricing structures.
HCI offers on-premises, hyper-scalable platforms, allowing businesses the opportunity to test the waters before a complete cloud migration and, therefore, will continue to be relevant as the evolution of enterprise storage needs unfolds.
What’s Next for Hyper-Converged Infrastructures?
Similar to the consolidation of storage vendors, HCI vendors losing market share to larger providers will continue to devolve as we see deaggregation and composable infrastructures become more prominent, Opensource Software become more mature (bringing increased ease of management), and private and public clouds become more centralized and large scale.
In closing, HCI is and will remain relevant as a business solution for companies seeking simplicity, scalability, modularity and lower upfront costs without compromising enterprise capabilities such as data protection, unified management and performance.
Looking for more information on hyper-converged infrastructure? Contact our Solutions Team at iVision today, firstname.lastname@example.org .