If you are looking at the spectrum of converged data center solutions, the first category of hardware and software is converged infrastructure, which aims to deliver a shared infrastructure for server, storage, and network functionality. This is often done by by taking existing — and often proprietary — components of compute, storage, and networking and doing additional work to package them as a single, integrated solution.
As mentioned described in our market summary, many technology vendors are striking partnerships to integrate the converged infrastructure “building blocks.” This would occur, for example, if a particular vendor had strong offerings in compute or networking but lacked a compelling storage offering. They would then partner with a storage vendor to integrate and sell the storage component as part of the integrated solutions.
Examples of the products on the market that we include: Cisco UCS, VCE Vblock, HPE ConvergedSystem, and Lenovo Converged System (formerly PureFlex). A converged infrastructure system can also be customized and packaged for specific vertical application, such as a database offering (e.g. Oracle Exadata). The overall approach of converged infrastructure is to reduce compatibility issues between servers, storage systems and network devices. It’s also attractive from a customer perspective to buy all the components from a single source. Vendors may partner support a specific reference architecture to create more interoperability and build a “plug-and-play” platform.
Often with a converged infrastructure product, the vendor may deliver standard configurations or setup “wizards” to install components in the data center for specific applications. Additional resources can then be quickly added to scale the system. The theory being if the compute, storage, and networking resources are already in place, it should be easy to add compatible systems to “scale out” the system.
The primary difference between the converged infrastructure approach and a hyper converged approach — which we include in our next category — is that the latter is usually driven entirely by software. It is often focused focused on the integration of storage functionality with compute.
- 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