The three components of IT infrastructure have traditionally been compute, storage, and networking. The move toward, open, software-defined everything (SDx) infrastructure has enabled all these functions to be placed on COTS hardware, creating strong drivers for data center convergence.
The emergence of the SDx market means that more functions can be controlled by software regardless of the type of hardware function. Powerful COTS platforms for compute, storage, and networking enables these functions to be controlled, integrated, and managed from a central software management layer.
COTS Diminishes Need for Proprietary Systems
The trend toward COTS diminishes the need for proprietary systems. A reliance on closed, proprietary hardware stifles innovation and adds unnecessary costs and complexity to the infrastructure. As a result, we have seen storage, compute and networking functions all start to be abstracted – the value of these solutions is moving into software that can run on any commodity x86 server components. In some converged solutions, vendors take COTS systems and add their own differentiators, such as hardware acceleration for specific functions in storage (de-dup, compression) or networking. Regardless, the primarily value-add is always sophisticated software.
The adoption of platforms/architectures, such as hypervisors, software-defined networks (SDN), and network functions virtualization (NFV) can result in more open, flexible, cost-effective and scalable environments. It no longer makes sense to have a wide range of proprietary, specialized systems, when you can build virtualized platforms that can connect with a software-defined infrastructure. It also no longer makes sense to keep all these functions separate – enter convergence, a.k.a. hyper convergence.
Trends in Data Center Convergence
Our research has revealed consistent trends in data center convergence, revealing common drivers. By consolidating all this software on a single, open, commodity server platform, organizations can: