The converged infrastructure market is really into its stride now with all the big vendors having offerings, with each presenting different approaches. The excellent David Vellante of Wikibon wrote a great piece titled Converged Infrastructure Takes The Market By Storm where they are predicting the total addressable market (TAM) to reach $402Bn by 2017.
(Disclosure I work for VCE and my company sells Vblock Systems into this market).
This Infrastructure Continuum has just one piece of data driving it: How “off-the-shelf” is the offering, meaning how complete and usable is the product when I get it. There’s no clutter in this diagram about which market the offerings are targeted at, I’m keeping it simple.
Simply, the Infrastructure Continuum visualises a level of effort on behalf of the consumer during design, procurement, deployment and support: at the left side your product is more customized, less off-the-shelf, and to the right hand it is very productized.
There really are differences between the offerings when you dig into them, which I’ve highlighted with the following terms (which I’m sure will make people excited):
- Semi-converged means the product is either not complete when you receive it, or it only has limited capabilities/capacity compared to a fully converged offering: ie. you the consumer still have some work to do.
- Fully-converged means the product has complete network, compute, storage and virtualization capabilities and is ready to use when you get it.
- Super-converged means the product contains additional functionality such as data protection, perhaps installed applications ready to go, and is most likely to represent a complete application appliance, deployed in pairs for DR.
- Hyper-converged is the super small form factor appliances.
The new folks, and the reason this post was triggered, are Nutanix, Simplivity and Scale Computing. Each of them have reduced typical converged infrastructure into tiny 2U appliances/nodes that have virtualization,compute and storage contained. They don’t offer networking like a converged system, such as a pair of redundant access switches but they will contain virtual switches.
The target market for these is typically small-medium business but doesn’t have to be: a large, multi-national might use them for remote office/branch office, and the same large company might by lots of these nodes to create farms from them.
Each product is similar in that it has some smarts in software. Nutanix, for example, uses an NFS-based distributed filesystem across its nodes. The offerings from Simplivity and Scale have their own operating system to offer features such as clustering, dedupe and replication.
Management wise, all of them plug into VMware’s vSphere vCenter and as each of the offerings is aimed at VMware installations, this means the management is simple.
Questions over the products are those targeted at all new companies and products they are all time-related questions about company longevity, scale, performance, supportability, product development.
It’s not possible to compare features and price amongst them because some (Simplivity) haven’t announced pricing.
All should be at VMworld US – so go and see them! In the meantime, find out more: