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All hyper-converged solutions are not created equal

Rob Enderle | April 4, 2016
Hyper-converged solutions can differ vendor to vendor and market to market. Columnist Rob Enderle writes that there are four categories of hyper-converged solutions.

3. Performance optimised

These tend to be solutions that largely include components from multiple vendors. More of a best of breed approach.   Advantages are they’re more likely to be cutting edge and there are entire industries that need performance so greatly they are willing to trade off speed of implementation and some reliability in order to get it.

The best solutions are created between tightly partnered and often redundant vendors tied to the solutions provider who can choose between them depending on what advantages each vendor has and how close the result is to the customers’ requirements. Advantages are these systems meet high minimum performance standards that can’t be met by stability optimized solutions. While both stability and performance solutions can use GPU components for speed, the performance optimized solutions are more likely to use them aggressively to meet the very high performance requirements of this class.

4. Dynamic

I expect to see this emerge in the future but, at the time of this writing, I’m unaware of an offering like this. This is where you have a vendor who can blend the stability and performance approaches to provide a range of solutions from a single vendor that doesn’t yet exist but I believe is coming. There really is no sustaining reason why a vendor already capable of building a stability optimized solution couldn’t partner to create a performance optimized offering as well.

And with several vendors having either done massive acquisitions or in the process of doing them their ability to move from a performance model to embracing the stability model is increasing. Once this model takes off we’ll have a clear fight for sustainable market dominance. For now, the opportunity remains divided between those that focus on stability and those that focus on performance.  

What kind of customer are you?

First steps are to understand what type of customer you are, as this will significantly change who you have bid on your project. Once you have made your initial choice you need to weed out the providers who are long on marketing and sales promises, but short on having a competitive solution. There is a surprising amount of crap in this highly mission critical segment at the moment and I expect that will remain a constant for some time.

The effort is worth it though, because the firms that have successfully deployed hyper-converged solutions rave about them and it is almost like a religious rebirth. The speed of deployment, reliability and shear lack of aggravation is massively different in a hyper-converged shop and, though you wouldn’t expect it, the agility is actually amazingly pronounced allowing these shops to better compete with offerings from some of the larger cloud providers. In fact, at scale, many have reported they can now offer similar user benefits to a cloud provider at a lower cost to the firm.

In the end, the hyper-converged approach can provide huge benefits, but only if you aren’t tricked into buying a solution that only exists in a marketing executive’s head.

 

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