In an effort to improve business efficiency and increase their capabilities, companies usually look toward the most recent technology trends they could be adopting. While much of the emphasis in recent years has been on how beneficial the cloud is for businesses, other trends are worth taking a look at. One such trend involves hyperconverged infrastructure. What once began as a niche market intended for only certain types of businesses has quickly grown into something much more formidable. According to recent research from IDC, the hyperconverged systems market reached $2.6 billion in 2016, and by the end of the decade, that number could hit more than $6 billion. They’re not the only ones predicting big things for this particular market. Gartner says that hyperconverged integrated systems will be mainstream in only five years, with the market being worth $5 billion by 2019. It’s clear that hyperconverged infrastructure is quickly gaining in popularity as more businesses examine the benefits it provides.
Indeed, many CIOs are beginning to realize the impressive improvements hyperconvergence lends to organizations, and that has led many to want to purchase these systems. In a survey from Morgan Stanley, about 60 percent of CIOs said they were planning on purchasing hyperconverged systems in 2017. That’s a significant increase from similar surveys taken in previous years. Another survey from 451 Research showed that for businesses intending on making major investments in new servers and storage, 86 percent were planning to invest in hyperconverged infrastructure. Based on these numbers, businesses and CIOs are on board with the hyperconvergence wave that’s quickly spreading throughout the business world. So the big question is, why has there been such a big surge in interest for converged systems recently?
Part of the reason so many businesses are looking into hyperconverged infrastructure relates to the growing use of the cloud. While many organizations have understandably moved many operations and applications to the cloud in recent years, hyperconverged systems can be seen as an alternative to this strategy. Hyperconvergence provides many of the same benefits seen in cloud computing, but it also offers other advantages that would pique the interest of businesses. One of those is greater control. By packaging key components like storage, networking, and compute together, businesses have a much larger degree of control over their operations as compared to using the cloud. At the same time, companies can also focus on security for their applications. While public cloud vendors have improved their security features, many organizations still want to ensure security is controlled by them and not by a third party.
Hyperconverged infrastructure offers other benefits as well. For one, these systems are easy to deploy, often going so far as only needing to plug the system in and turn them on. Management is simplified in this manner as well, meaning that businesses don’t need to hire larger IT staffs to handle the increased capabilities now at their fingertips. All of this adds up to lower costs when compared to using these traditional components separately, like storage or servers. Needing fewer employees and less upkeep means businesses with tighter budgets can reap the rewards without needing to invest heavily in the new technology.
These systems also lend itself well for organization building private or hybrid clouds, another popular trend among businesses now. Again, this provides an alternative to the cloud, something that organizations and CIOs may be interested in. As a result, the number of hyperconverged infrastructure vendors has grown significantly in the past few years, including Simplivity (recently acquired by Hewlett Packard), Nutanix, and big names like VMware, Dell EMC and Cisco. That gives CIOs an array of options to choose from, another reason hyper converged infrastructure may appeal to them.
Of course, just because hyperconvergence is gaining in popularity doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for every company. Certain cases may mean organizations are better off choosing the public cloud or other alternatives to hyperconverged infrastructure. Also, businesses should have experience working with vendors and make sure they don’t suffer from vendor lock-in. Though there are drawbacks, if an organization is interested in virtual desktops, hybrid, or private clouds, or edge computing, the use of hyperconverged infrastructure will be something they definitely want to investigate thoroughly.
Rick Delgado is a technology commentator and freelance writer.
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