The future converged data center products will include a wide range of physical infrastructure including converged appliances, new classes of servers, and storage and networking equipment. The value is in the software running and managing this collection of COTS or near-COTS hardware.
It’s best to look at a converged solution as a basket of different hardware functions supported by software management. Converged data center infrastructure solutions are typically sold as an integrated offering that consists of the following components:
- Server Functionality
- Networking Functionality
- Storage Functionality
- Management Software
The capabilities of each of these components varies based on the vendor and their approach to the market. This explains the varying terminology ranging from semi-converged to hyper converged as vendors make decisions about how much functionality to pack into one product offering.
Although the terms hyper converged and HCI have been broadly applied to many categories of solutions, convergence is in fact a spectrum of integrated capabilities in different combinations. We see converged data center products broken down into these combinations:
1. Converged Infrastructure (compute, storage, and networking) – Designed to deliver a shared infrastructure for server, storage, and network functionality. Examples include Cisco UCS, VCE Vblock, HPE ConvergedSystem and Lenovo Converged System (formerly PureFlex). Can also be customized for a specific vertical application (e.g. Oracle Exadata and Teradata).
2. Converged Compute and Storage – Software-driven solutions that use standard x86 COTS servers to deliver compute and storage resources to replace regular storage area networks (SANs). Typically offer a number of storage management functions as part of their centralized management capabilities. Examples include Gridstore, Nimboxx, Nutanix, Pivot3, Scale Computing and SimpliVity.
3. White Boxes and Supporting Applications – To interconnect multiple HCI nodes often requires newer and more flexible approaches. Many Webscale data centers end up using white boxes for their networking solutions. These white boxes use merchant silicon coupled with COTS platform to bridge and connect converged systems. While networking white boxes may not be full-blown HCI solutions today, they are an emerging category of networking device that can also provide compute capabilities. Built on COTS hardware, they are designed to replace proprietary gear for specific data center applications such as top of rack switching, analytics, message queuing and routing and even some application caching and acceleration functions.
Below is a list of key players in the converged data center product ecosystem.
Featured Converged Data Center Products
Converged Data Center Products
- Cisco Systems, Inc.: Cisco Converged Infrastructure Solutions
- Dell: Dell Converged Solutions
- Ericsson: Ericsson Hyperscale Datacenter System 8000
- Fujitsu: Fujitsu Primergy Servers and Primeflex vShape Architecture
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE): HPE Hyper-Converged 250
- Hitachi Data Systems (HDS): Hitachi Unified Compute Platform Portfolio
- Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.: FusionCube
- IBM: IBM Pure Systems
- *Juniper Networks, Inc.: Juniper Converged Stack Solutions
- Lenovo: Lenovo Converged Systems
- NetApp: FlexPod Solutions
- Nimboxx, Inc.: Nimboxx
- Oracle: Oracle Private Cloud Appliance
- Pure Storage: FlashStack Converged Infrastructure
- SolidFire: SolidFire Agile Infrastructure (AI)
- Tegile: IntelliStack Converged Infrastructure
- VCE: VBlock and VxBlock
- Atlantis Computing: Atlantis USX
- Data Gravity: DataGravity Discovery Series
- Gridstore, Inc.: Gridstore All-Flash HyperConverged Appliance
- Nexenta: Nexenta OpenSDx
- Nimble Storage: SmartStack
- Nutanix: Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform
- Pivot3: vSTAC OS and GHCI Servers
- Scale Computing: HC3
- Silicon Graphics International Corp.: SGI Servers, Storage, and Software
- SimpliVity: OmniStack Data Virtualization Platform 3.0
- Skyport Systems: SkySecure
- Super Micro Computer Inc.: EVO:RAIL
- Teradata: Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2800
- VMware: EVO:RAIL