Early 2012 saw ESG turn up the focus and attention paid to the unchartered world of integrated computing infrastructures. Though only 24% of companies are currently using these types of solutions, that number is expected to swiftly rise due the added level of convenience, feature-rich platforms, and little to no sacrifices required by integrated computing providers. As we head into 2013, and what will surely be another tumultuous year for our industry, ESG feels strongly that this genre, if you will, of IT infrastructure, will continue to grow and diversify into additional market segments.
Before going any further, let me quickly provide a refresher of how ESG defines these solutions (since there’s still a lot of confusion out there). Integrated computing infrastructure is—simply—a stack of hardware that runs a hypervisor either directly on the host’s server, or within a hosted operating system. This hypervisor creates a layer of abstraction between the logical and physical structures. Due to the inherent decoupling of software and the operating system from hardware, virtual computing infrastructures can aggregate compute, storage, and network assets into homogenous pools of resources that can be both dynamically managed, and provisioned automatically. At the end of the day, these solutions increase efficiency by reducing underutilized assets and by getting the most out of pre-existing assets.
As of January 2013, I am focused primarily on the following companies, each of whom has a strong play in the integrated computing infrastructure market:
Out of this relatively short list of providers, two emerging companies, Nutanix and SimpliVity, caught my eye.
SimpliVity, headquartered in Westborough, MA, is a company that strives to help IT organizations eradicate unnecessary complexities through the simplification of infrastructure. Omnicube, SimpliVity’s converged platform offering, is designed for virtualization. The Omnicube turns IT infrastructure into invisible, yet manageable hardware where operations and information are managed on a per VM basis, where the infrastructure responds both appropriately and automatically.
Nutanix, a San Jose-spawned company, dubbed their converged offering the Complete Cluster. Complete Cluster provides a seamless system that enables incremental scale-out from one single block, to however many are needed—the entire system, regardless of its’ size, is managed as a single, unified entity. With the intention of providing one unified pool for storage, Nutanix structured Complete Cluster to support NFS. A 2012 ESG Lab report confirmed Nutanix’s ease of use and its support for virtual environments.
The major system vendors, which I’ve mentioned above, are no doubt going to continue to push this market and continue to refine and cater to the market of converged offerings. However, emerging companies such as Nutanix and SimpliVity have an opportunity to truly make IT easier to consume, implement, and maintain—to provide the features and functionality that we could only dream of in the past. Large vendors or small vendors, new or old, each of these guys need to prove their worth in 2013. Anyone looking for an easy-to-deploy, feature rich platform, should certainly take a deeper look into the companies listed above.