Microsoft is the 800-pound-gorilla of software. So perhaps it was just a matter of time before the company rolled out a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) play, combing software-defined compute, storage, and networking.
Microsoft quietly entered the HCI space last October when it made its data center OS, Windows Server 2016, generally available. In an email to SDxCentral, Siddhartha Roy, principal group program manager for high availability and storage in Windows Server, said, “Hyperconverged infrastructure is a key part of our Windows Server 2016 software-defined strategy spanning software-defined compute, storage, network and assurance. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition has all the software components to enable hyperconverged infrastructure.”
Through its Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) program, Microsoft offers validated hardware systems that work with Windows Server 2016. These hardware and software stacks are pre-built and designed for different data center scenarios.
The company announced its first wave of HCI hardware partners last month.
“We launched the WSSD website with wave-1 hyperconverged solution offers from six partners – Lenovo, HPE, Fujitsu, DataON, Supermicro, and QCT,” Roy said. “These offers are available to customers today. We plan to add other partners to the WSSD program. The WSSD program offers customers a variety of prescriptive SDDC configurations, including hyperconverged, from OEMs of their choice.”
In a Microsoft Hybrid Cloud Blog post, the company says the WSSD program makes it easy to deploy a software-defined data center.
“With WSSD validated solutions, you can tap into similar technologies used to run hyper-scale datacenters such as Microsoft Azure,” it says. “Azure runs on Windows Server, and the Datacenter edition of Windows Server 2016 includes many of the same technologies that Microsoft uses to support Azure. These new capabilities are built into the OS, so you won’t need to buy any additional software.”
It’s a smart move for Microsoft. The integrated systems market will reach $20 billion by 2021, according to a Gartner report, and HCI will be the fastest-growing segment. These systems will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 48 percent — three times faster than the overall market.