Behind the three leaders, Forrester identified a handful of what it calls strong performers in this market. Atlantis Computing has traditionally been a company focused on storage software but it pivoted into the HCI market by partnering with Dell, Lenovo, HPE and Supermicro to offer compute and network components to its offering. Forrester says the company's strength is in its "aggressively priced" mid-market all flash storage nodes, which accommodate up to 24 TBs of data. The company sells exclusively through a channel network, so it sometimes struggles with name recognition and market footprint.
Gridstore has rebranded itself as HyperGrid and is unique in the market because of its focus on Microsoft environments. The company only supports Hyper-V for its compute virtualization, and also supports Windows Systems Center and Windows Server; it recently added support for Microsoft Azure Pack too. The company offers an all flash storage array with independently scaling compute and storage nodes. It scales to up to 64 compute nodes and 256 storage nodes and Forrester praises the company for its ability to set predefined guaranteed input/output levels for various classes of virtual machines the system creates.
Forrester believe that EMC is in a "good position" to be a major vendor in the HCI market because of its breadth of offerings and legacy installed customer base. There are two major EMC HCI platforms. One is the VxRail, which uses EMC storage components combined with VMware compute and network virtualization. (EMC is a majority shareholder of VMware stock). EMC has another product named VxRack which is for larger deployments. It comes in two flavors: One uses open source software management and storage from EMC’s ScaleIO division. A second version is based on VMware's Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC) software.
This is one of the newest members of the HCI market having only been founded as a company in 2013. On the positive side, the company has a strong platform based on various open source technologies such as KVM for virtualization and ZFS for virtualized storage. Its strengths are in workload and data migration capabilities, Forrester says. On the other hand, as a still relatively new startup the company is lacking some important HCI features, including deduplication technology and data compression (Forrester notes the company uses a duplication avoidance technology instead). Expect Stratoscale to continue to build out its product and gain market share as it does so.
The company traditionally known as the king of the virtualization market is expanding its portfolio to ensure that its compute, storage and network virtualization technologies (which they sell individually) are also packaged together in the form of an HCI offering, or used as components for other vendors’ HCI products. VMware claims to have 4,000 customers of its virtualized storage area network product (VSAN), making it one of the strongest vendors in this market. Customers can deploy VSAN, along with vSphere and NSX atop Cisco, Dell, HPE, Lenovo and Supermicro hardware or they can buy a pre-packaged EVO Rail system with all the components bundled together.
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