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Dell, EMC, VMware and others get giddy over converged infrastructure

Brandon Butler | Feb. 5, 2015
What started as a niche market has blossomed into a multi-billion industry led by IT heavyweights.

"Converged infrastructure is a trend that has been growing for over 5 years and is rapidly transforming the way that users consume IT," Wikibon Senior Analyst Stu Miniman wrote in a recent report. He estimates that VCE collected about $2 billion in revenue last year, while FlexPod, another option in the market, generated $3 billion for Cisco and NetApp who partner on that platform. If those are true then Gartner's $6 billion market size estimation could be dwarfed by actual figures. Oracle has a converged platform based on its virtualization and database technology while VMware launched its EVO line which it will work with partners on to distribute converged platforms with VMware software throughout the stack.

As the converged infrastructure market heats up, newer so-called hyper-converged platforms have emerged from companies like Simplivity, Nutanix and Maxta. Unlike a converged platform where the components are from multiple vendors but architected together, a hyper-converged platform is typically an appliance that combines higher-density compute cores, all-flash storage arrays and all software-based networking from a single vendor, or from a close partnership of vendors. Some of these appliances come with features such as data deduplication and other efficiency-gaining technologies.

"Hyperconverged computing platforms are still a small percentage of modest but growing market that is integrated platforms," writes Eric Hanselman of the 451 Research group in his latest report about the hyper-converged market. "(Hyper-converged technologies are) not a panacea, but in an age of shifting buying centers, they're a tempting path for those looking for the simplification that their integrated management software can provide."

As Hanselman notes, end users have found converged and hyper-converged platforms to be a compelling answer to the problem of increased IT complexity. For businesses that are looking for the latest and greatest hardware to run in their own data centers for building out private clouds, converged platforms offer a compelling ease of installation and management. Vendors, meanwhile are looking to jump on the converged infrastructure bandwagon to get their share of the billions of dollars some of their competitors are already making in this industry.


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