Third Wave In IT Convergence Is Here
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Third Wave In IT Convergence Is Here

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The companies today should be ready to accept major change that is rolling into their IT infrastructure. The new era of converged systems – now called as Hyperconverged Integrated Systems (HCIS)– is upon us. This is being defined as the third phase in converged IT systems.

Speaking about this emerging trend, Andrew Butler, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner said “We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems. This evolution presents IT infrastructure and operations leaders with a framework to evolve their implementations and architectures.”

Integrated systems first evolved in 2005, and for the next 10 years in the phase 1 continued with the growth of the blade server based systems. By 2010, converged infrastructure came into usage and there was the emergence of hyperconverged systems.

Gartner defines HCIS as a platform offering shared compute and storage resources, based on software-defined storage, software-defined compute, commodity hardware and a unified management interface. “Hyperconverged systems deliver their main value through software tools, commoditizing the underlying hardware,” explained Butler.

The new wave

While till now the use has been in the specific areas, but in the coming years HCIS platform will be used for continuous application and microservices delivery, which the technology experts are calling the phase 3. The third phase of integrated systems will have dynamic, composable, fabric-based infrastructures. The systems will be highly modular based on disaggregated hardware building blocks that will drive continuous application delivery.

One of the key reasons why hyperconverged systems are being considered by the businesses is because of the continuous economic optimization that this kind of infrastructure offers. As businesses get competitive, there is need to be delivering services at all times while maintaining sustainable costs. This is what HCIS will enable.

Gartner predicts that the market for HCIS is expected to grow 79 percent to reach almost $2 billion in 2016. HCIS will be mainstream in the next five years as businesses deploy or redesign their IT infrastructures. HCIS will be the fastest-growing segment of the overall market for integrated systems, reaching almost $5 billion, which is 24 percent of the market, by 2019.
“HCIS is not a destination, but an evolutionary journey. While we fully expect the use cases to embrace mission-critical applications in the future, current implementations could still pose constraints on rapid growth toward the end of the decade,” explained Butler. The IT infrastructure service providers need to be wary of cannibalization of some of the existing infrastructure set-ups as hyperconverged systems gain steam.

HCIS now

According to Gartner, the integrated systems market is starting to mature, with more users upgrading and extending their initial deployments. In fact Nutanix , the hyperconvergence pioneer in the market started talking about this way back in 2011. Last year the company released its all-flash hyperconverged array, which it claims to be the industry first. Recently it has signed an OEM deal with Dell to offer converged appliances built with Nutanix software running on Dell PowerEdge servers. Nutanix is now pairing with Lenovo and Cisco to develop similar HCIS offerings in the market. Similarly there’s SimpliVity, a startup focussing on hyperconverged systems has launched its OmniCube that offers computing, storage services, network switching that can be managed in a centralised way. There are many such vendors and service providers that are emerging in the market currently.

“Despite high market growth rates, HCIS use cases have so far been limited, causing silos with existing infrastructure. Its progression will be dependent on multiple hardware and software advances, such as networking and software-defined enterprises,” says Butler. As the market mature, experts see that the current IT infrastructure as we know it will change and will become more malleable, free-flowing. As HCIS becomes the expected norm, expect your IT infrastructure to become a flexible/scalable utility under the control of software intelligence and completely automated. HCIS will finally enable IT as a service (ITaaS) to business, consumer, developer and enterprise operations.

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