With the massive shift to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), we cannot deny that the traditional SAN and NAS markets are declining very quickly. According to Wikibon, traditional storage markets are declining close to 20% annually and they predict that traditional storage will go from being the dominant player today to a niche solution in less than 10 years.
On the flip side, IDC predicts that the HCI market is growing at a 64% CAGR and is projected to reach a $4.8B business in 2019 – pretty impressive! HCI converges compute, storage and management onto industry standard x86 servers, enabling a building-block approach with scale-out capabilities. With HCI, all key data center functions run as software on the hypervisor in a tightly integrated software layer.
Given a lot of the hype in the market and the fact that customers are continuing to wrap their heads around this architecture, this is what you should know about HCI:
VDI is NOT the Only Use Case for HCI
This is true. When the HCI movement began, VDI was the natural stepping stone for adopting HCI because a majority of these projects were green-field and contained within themselves. It, therefore, makes sense that customers would associate HCI to VDI. As HCI adoption accelerates, we now see customers of all sizes and across all industries embrace HCI for pretty much any workload that can be virtualized, and they include the following use cases:
In a recent survey of VMware vSAN customers, when asked ‘What use cases are you using vSAN for today?’ 64% of the respondents indicated that they were using vSAN to run their most critical business applications. These business critical applications include Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SharePoint. As you can see, customers trust vSAN to run their mission critical applications.
Not All HCI Solutions are Created Equal
This is true. It’s important to understand the underlying architecture of the HCI solution you are exploring. Does the architecture introduce new technology and, therefore, warrant you to learn something new or does it allow you to use your existing knowledge and expertise? With vSAN, customers value the familiarity with vSphere and vCenter and love that vSAN is tightly integrated with the industry-leading hypervisor.
From an architectural perspective, a typical HCI configuration requires a storage VM (Virtual Storage Appliance) to create the shared storage – which means it consumes additional resources, data paths are inefficient and management must be bolted on. vSAN is embedded in the vSphere kernel which allows for 2-times CPU and 3-times memory efficiency, native vMotion and DRS that customers love and complete management of storage and compute from one familiar tool, vCenter.
HCI Requires Both Hardware and Software
This is true. Successful HCI requires more than just elegant software. Customers require choice of hardware, a full ecosystem of partners, and enterprise level support. Only VMware can provide this! Through the vSAN Ready Node program, customers have access to more than 150 pre-certified hardware platforms from all major OEM vendors and can bring their licenses, software and support which provides immense choice and flexibility. For customers looking for speed of deployment, the VxRail appliance, co-engineered by VMware and Dell EMC, is a great way to get started with HCI.
Increasingly, HCI will require network virtualization and VMware provides this with NSX. Customers can introduce security policy automation and micro segmentation to their data centers. vSAN and vSphere, therefore, become fundamental building blocks for the SDDC.
HCI is Limited to On-Premises or Hosted Environments
With VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture and the introduction of VMware Cloud on AWS and IBM Cloud, this is no longer true! Our support for HCI running on-premises and in the public cloud gives customers the unique opportunity to have a common experience across their private data centers and the public cloud. We are first. We are the only one.
It’s important to get the facts about hyper-converged infrastructure. Check out 10 Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Myths – Busted to learn more about HCI and find out what’s real and what’s not.