By Nick Cross, Director of HCI, EMEA
Enterprises are continuously looking for ways in which they can evolve and change to stay ahead of their competitors.
Our efforts behind VMware vSAN in the hyper-converged space have shown we’ve been bold enough to constantly embrace, encourage and enable change. For us, the future of HCI was in software.
HCI powered by VMware vSAN in 2017
We’re now seeing validation of the importance of software, with 2017 being an incredible year for HCI and vSAN. Firstly, data from IDC’s 2Q2017 Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker revealed how VMware vSAN is leading the market, accounting for 33.3% of 1H2017 HCI market revenue, making HCI systems powered by vSAN the largest portion of the hyper-converged systems market.
In addition, VMware debuted in the Leader quadrant in the just-published Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, validating the important roll software plays in the shift to a flexible, open and cloud-ready environment.
Software has become key to delivering a more agile, efficient data center that can easily evolve to the growing hybrid cloud landscape. The focus on software comes thanks to massive acceleration in software innovation across the full stack—including storage, compute, networking, management, and public clouds.As enterprises increasingly move towards a software-defined environment, VMware has seen accelerated growth for our HCI solution with over 10,000 organisations selecting vSAN to power their data centers.
But HCI hasn’t reached its peak just yet. In fact, IDC believes the total HCI market value is projected to continue growing at double digit rates through to 2021, when global spending on HCI is expected to surpass $8.2bn.
Looking ahead to 2018
That means that 2018 will be another important year of change as more and more organisations embrace the benefits of HCI powered by VMware vSAN. What are the key changes we are likely to see this year as enterprises refresh their traditional approaches to infrastructure?
One of the key changes is not technology related, it’s an organisational shift. HCI simplifies management because storage capacity and performance can be seen as another policy-based attribute of applications. Therefore, storage and compute teams are likely to work together to improve responsiveness to the fast pace of application changes. This means they can keep up with a digital business’ fast response times by focusing on the needs of applications running in a VM or container.
For those that view change as possibly introducing risk to the data center, it’s worth noting that change doesn’t necessitate new technology or new tools. HCI solutions can build on the hardware, software and skillsets you already have. For example, we believe HCI will reverse the blade server trend, with the resurgence of rack servers. Storage will re-emerge in high-volume server platforms equipped with cost-effective flash—removing specialised, lower-volume storage hardware from the data center.
Another exciting development is that of flexible HCI deployment models, which will range from turnkey appliances to next-generation server platforms to HCI-as-a-service. New composable infrastructure enable customers to tune the ratio of compute and storage resources to meet the specific needs of their application environments. In addition, HCI offerings are increasingly available from a variety of public cloud providers, enabling users to enjoy a consistent operating environment for any application from on-premises to the cloud.
We’ll also see traditional storage development cycles slowing, as a diminishing SAN market leaves storage suppliers reducing development efforts. Simultaneously, server hardware development will increase as a result of expanded HCI and cloud market opportunities, such as VMware Cloud on AWS.
We predict that HCI will take centre stage in 2018 as customers continue to look to IT to respond to business needs faster and power modern applications. We’re ready for that change as we continue to drive innovation in the HCI space with vSAN. This is an exciting opportunity for us working together with our partners and customers.