Our converged storage and compute category is often referred to as hyper convergence, but in fact it is focused on a specific area of software convergence. Whereas the first category — converged infrastructure — is focused on delivering an integrated offering of storage, compute, and networking hardware, the converged storage and compute category uses virtualization software to drive integration between the compute and storage platforms.
This is often referred to in the industry as hyper convergence, or HCI as we have been referring to it. A primary differentiator between converged compute and storage and more traditional converged infrastructure is that it tend to deliver resources using standard x86 COTS servers and flash memory. The vendors in this area focus on building a software virtualization layer to tie these commodity components together to replace regular storage area networks (SANs). They typically offer a number of storage management functions as part of their centralized management capabilities. Examples include Gridstore, Nimboxx, Nutanix, Pivot3, Scale Computing, EVO:RAIL, and SimpliVity.
Another way to think about the difference between the converged infrastructure approach and a hyper converged approach is that converged infrastructure can still include much proprietary hardware, whereas HCI focuses on converging storage and compute onto commodity platforms. In this case, a converged compute and storage approach may drive the cost of hardware down further. In addition, converged storage and compute platforms often focus on the resiliency and flexibility of storage systems, for example by introducing dual controllers or RAID-compatible systems, so that storage systems can be set up to be redundant and easily scalable by adding more nodes.
To complicate things, many of the converged storage and compute vendors, notably startups such as Nutanix and SimpliVity, are also teaming with converged infrastructure vendors to create additional hyper converged product lines. We view this as a spectrum of offerings or hedging strategy as the major IT players look for a transition from proprietary to COTS hardware. The big trend in converged storage and compute and future HCI offerings is that the primary value and differentiator will come in the form of virtualization software.
- 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