With an abundance of vendors, it’s difficult for IT managers to decide which vendor to choose for their hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution. As a guide the numerous options available, the Gartner Magic Quadrant helps analyze and dissect the HCI vendors based on each company’s strengths and weaknesses.
HCI unites the storage, compute, and virtualization functions of a data center through software-defined networking (SDN.) It relieves IT departments the headache of managing separate systems for those functions with a centralized management system, it delivers faster deployment than traditional data centers, and it eases overall operation and capital expenditures.
Gartner, in its 2018 analysis of HCI vendors, predicts that “by 2020, 20% of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to Hyperconverged infrastructure.”
Leading HCI Vendors from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant
The report compartmentalizes the vendors into four categories: leaders, challengers, niche players, and visionaries. For each HCI Vendor, Gartner details their strengths and weaknesses.
The Leaders: A Hyperconverged Infrastructure Vendor Comparison
Nutanix: The Magic Quadrant points out that Nutanix “has excelled in two important dimensions: (1) overcoming I&O leaders’ initial fears of investing in a relatively new market player; and (2) raising confidence levels in the product’s maturity and performance to continually add scale and diversify deployments.” One of the strengths this report mentions is that Nutanix allows clients to choose the hypervisor for its HCI product. Gartner identifies three weaknesses for Nutanix’s HCI product: lack of significant product variety for remote office/branch office (ROBO) and edge computing lack of seamless integration with legacy IT data centers; and the company’s contract negotiations don’t match market price competitiveness.
Dell EMC: The main draw for the Dell EMC converged products is its integration with other vendors, such as with VMware NSX software. Plus, all of the HCI products may run on Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers, which came from the acquisition of EMC by Dell. One of the weaknesses includes Dell EMC’s software release cycle being behind VMware’s, causing enterprises to wait for Dell EMC to release the vSphere or vSan software. Another flaw is that the VxRail Manager only manages the cluster on which it is deployed.
VMware: VMware offers a spectrum of products to create an HCI product solution, and the vendor also sells turnkey HCI products. Its catalog of HCI products is one of the strengths highlighted in the report. VMware’s software products also streamline the management process and provide a consistent user interface for managing different components of the HCI. The offset to choosing a VMware HCI product, however, is that the products don’t supply deduplication, compression, or erasure coding. Also, according to Gartner, “several customers have reported problems with stability and performance of vSAN (VMware’s software-defined storage product.)”
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE): HPE acquired the HCI product, SimpliVity, in 2017. Since the acquisition, SimpliVity sales have surged, doubling the figures prior to the purchase. The perks of this product include the enhanced data functions of global compression and deduplication. A perceived fault with SimpliVity is that it’s constrained to VMware ESXi hypervisor.