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Maxta 2018 Predictions: Three Ways Hyperconvergence (HCI) Will Change the Game in 2018

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Yoram Novick, founder and CEO Maxta Inc.

Three Ways Hyperconvergence (HCI) Will Change the Game in 2018

Even though the hyperconverged market is still somewhat new, some tectonic shifts took place in it during 2017 with acquisitions and new entrants. While 2018 may not have this same level of M&A activity, major shifts are expected as the hyperconverged market matures. Here are three predictions for hyperconvergence in 2018:

1. Hyperconvergence shifts to software, but appliance vendors will struggle to make this shift

It wasn't terribly long ago that members of the analyst community defined the hyperconverged category strictly as appliances.  Even VMware vSAN was not considered a hyperconvergence infrastructure (HCI) vendor and was left out of key analyst reports because it That tide has started to turn.

In 2017, hyperconverged appliance vendors announced their intent to shift to software-only. In 2018, they will begin to offer software-only versions of their products. HCI appliance vendors know very well that a software business is much more profitable.

However, "de-integrating" a hyperconverged appliance and delivering HCI as  software-only is easier said than done.  Retrofitting software that was designed and optimized for a single hardware configuration to run on all or most x86 standard configurations is going to be more difficult and will take longer than most people expect.

Moreover, the real challenge is going to be about cost structure and business model. Several successful hardware companies tried to pivot to a software company in the past and failed not due to lack of technology but due to inappropriate business model.  Selling software means significantly less revenue, at least initially, and a software company requires a different structure than a hardware company.

2. Service providers turn to hyperconvergence to be more cloud-like

Hyperscale cloud providers like AWS and Google have honed the cost models and operational efficiencies to a level that makes them the envy of any organization that has to procure and manage IT infrastructure. Can service providers and managed service providers (xSPs) compete with the economies of public clouds leveraging a legacy three-tier architecture of servers, storage, and storage networking? I believe that the answer is No. 

xSPs will have to move to a hyperconverged model to have any chance of coming close to public cloud economics. However, xSPs will have to move directly to a hyperconvergence software model since most hyperconverged appliances are more expensive than storage arrays and have a rigid scaling model that doesn't fit the agility needs of xSPs.

3. Hypervisor support begins to matter

While there are several hypervisors in the market, to this point VMware dominated the space.  Thanks in part to improved compatibility and migration, RedHat and other Linux-based hypervisors will gain traction in 2018. Organizations see benefits from being able to choose the hypervisor that best fits the needs of their applications and workloads. While many organizations are looking for alternatives to eliminate the "VMware Tax," they will want to ensure that they are not jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. They will look for hypervisors that are full-featured, commercially hardened and fully supported. While support for multiple hypervisors, especially VMware and RedHat, will be essential with HCI, the ability to migrate from one hypervisor to another, and possibly back again, really brings the choice of hypervisors to life.

2018 will become the "year of choice" for the hyperconverged market. When customers have a choice of hardware vendors, a choice of using existing hardware or new hardware, a choice of hypervisor, and a choice of form factor (software or appliances), it only benefits the hyperconverged market in general and becomes a no-brainer when compared to a legacy storage model.


About the Author

Yoram Novick 

With a proven track record of building successful startups, and deep expertise in enterprise systems, storage, and software, Yoram drives Maxta's vision and strategy.

Prior to founding Maxta, he founded Topio, known for its data replication and recovery prowess, and led the company as its CEO from inception until it was acquired by NetApp. Following the Topio acquisition, Yoram served as Vice President and General Manager of NetApp's Data Replication Business Unit. Prior to Topio, he spent 13 years at IBM in storage research and development capacities.

Yoram holds 25 patents in the systems and storage domains and sits on several boards of directors, guiding other entrepreneurial tech companies down their own paths to market success. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in computer science from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, both Summa CumLaude.

Published Friday, January 12, 2018 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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