For any organization considering a major infrastructure investment, there are two major areas that I believe deserve exceptional consideration. The first is converged infrastructure and the second is flash-based storage. However, both of these areas are vast with all kinds of deployment options. As such, drilling down to a specific solution requires a bit more finesse.
The big players in the market have developed what they refer to as converged solutions that are actually conglomerations of existing hardware and software products that are extremely well-tested and stamped with a single SKU. These converged plays are well-positioned for the high end of the market and can help organizations simplify their overall environments by moving to a single vendor approach.
However, where I think things are particularly interested is in the hyperconverged space, a market segment being quickly dominate by Nutanix, and with good reason. Nutanix is a company that truly seems to “get” what the market needs when it comes to taking a building block approach to data center architecture. With Nutanix, customers get a truly “unit of infrastructure” that includes compute, RAM, storage, and hypervisor. As more resources are required, customers can buy relatively small, granular boxes to expand their environments.
Recently, Nutanix released additional product models that allow organizations to target specific resource needs as they add infrastructure units. This enables a much higher degree of flexibility while retaining a very simply scale out model.
Everywhere you turn, vendors are finding new ways to leverage flash storage these days. From a pure “general purpose” standpoint – as well as in a number of specific use cases, such as VDI – I see the trio of hybrid storage array players – Nimble, Tegile, and Tintri – as particularly interesting, particularly for organizations running into performance issues with legacy storage arrays. Hybrid storage arrays often provide storage performance that is an order of magnitude better than what is achieved with legacy arrays and hard disks. This is all thanks to the way that these vendors leverage solid state storage to great effect.
Of course, other options include server side flash cards and all flash arrays, both of which are popular options as well. Regardless, the ability to easily and economically leverage solid state storage is quickly becoming transformational in the data center and enabling new kinds of workloads, such as VDI that really works, and big data analysis.