There’s a reason that hyperconvergence technology is on the fast-growth track. IT is under constant pressure to be more agile, and to do that it needs to take as much complexity out of the data center as possible.
Hyperconverged infrastructure represents a departure from the traditional three-tier model of increasing data center performance and capacity by individually adding servers, networking and storage systems, with all the time-consuming, behind-the- scenes planning and implementation work entailed. Instead, IT can quickly add nodes—each comprising compute, networking and storage elements suited for particular virtualized workloads—to a hyperconverged solution as needed. In a highly transactional environment, a node can be heavy on compute with some very fast storage, for instance, while general workloads and archiving needs call for large storage and low compute capacity.
“Hyperconverged solutions completely take away complexity, which reduces time to market, and that’s good for business agility,” says Bernie Franczak, technology consultant, Partner Technical Enablement, Data Center, Ingram Micro. Not only do deployments become easier, but so does ongoing management since IT can administer nodes as a federated system from a single interface. With such advantages, it’s understandable that Gartner predicts that hyperconverged integrated systems will be mainstream in the next five years. The research firm expects the market to reach almost $2 billion this year.
A Growing Opportunity
As a solution provider, you should move quickly to capture the opportunities to deploy hyperconvergence solutions that are opening up among your customers. “If you’re working with an end user who takes the hyperconvergence route, every time that end user looks to increase performance or capacity, they’re going to come back to you for additional nodes,” says Franczak. Not only will customers need help expanding these environments, but these infrastructures, like any other, will require upgrades too. “In three to five years, nodes will become outdated and need to be refreshed,” he says. That’s another opportunity for you.
Setting Your Sights
Which of your customers may be poised to make the transition soonest? Consider the following to target prospects:
Pay-as-you-go buyers. Instead of overprovisioning to allow for growth, businesses can pay as their needs expand. A customer may want to roll out virtual desktops to 2,000 users, but only want to deploy 500 seats a year. “They wouldn’t be forced to buy all the capacity up front,” Franczak says. “As they reach capacity on one rollout, they can just buy a new node or nodes for the next phase.”
- Data center refresh cases. What C-level executives on the edge of a data center refresh wouldn’t be interested in the chance to get the performance they need at around 75 percent of the cost they would otherwise pay? Not only does the ability to buy nodes as you go save up-front costs, but long-term costs go down as well, thanks to management and administrative savings. “In today’s world, about 70 percent of the cost of keeping the data center going is maintenance,” says Franczak. “With the simplicity offered by hyperconvergence, those costs go down.” And that leaves a bigger capital budget that can be used to invest in innovation.
- The cloud-alternative crowd. A great appeal of the cloud, of course, is the agility it delivers to fast-moving businesses. But most companies still aren’t comfortable moving sensitive information to the cloud, meaning that certain applications and data aren’t a good fit. Hyperconverged systems provide the plug-andplay speed that businesses in these situations want with the security they need, whether they choose to keep the solution on-premises or in a colocation environment such as CoreSite.
- Hypervisor-choice shops. The idea of having an alternative to using VMware has appeal to some, and KVM-based hypervisors make it possible for these IT teams to realize that goal. About 15 percent of Nutanix’s customers have deployed its AHV hypervisor. “They like the idea of getting rid of the ‘VMware tax,’” says Franczak.
Where doesn’t hyperconvergence make sense? It may not be the best fit for really high-volume transaction environments or for very small data centers where entry-level setup costs are prohibitive. But for pretty much any other enterprise customer, Franczak says, “hyperconvergence is a compelling story.”