Place Your Bets: Hyperconverged or Composable Infrastructure in Tomorrow’s Data Center?

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In today’s fast-moving world of data center innovations, it’s difficult for businesses to stay up to date on industry trends and best practices

Technology changes quickly, so businesses look to industry analysts to make better informed purchasing decisions. Experts such as Gartner and Forrester invest heavily in research, and their corresponding reports and white papers provide clarity on future trends and changes in the industry.

What factors will shape tomorrow’s data center?

Many companies rely on these industry analysts because their research provides information needed to make a more educated decision about future architecture and infrastructure investments. But do these analysts really provide that clarity? And what happens when two research organizations conflict in their assessment of the future data center?

For example, I recently read Gartner’s Four Factors That Will Shape the Future of Hyperconverged Infrastructure. In this report, Gartner highlighted how they see the future of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Although the report was filled with valuable information, I couldn’t help but think it too narrowly focused on just HCI –not aligning to other technologies that IT is using today and will incorporate in the data center of the future.

I wanted another opinion and found a recent report from Forrester titledThe Software-Defined Data Center Comes Of Age, which provided a very different opinion to Gartner. In Forrester’s report, the authors say that composable infrastructure systems (CIS) “…will become the predominant approach to computing” in the software-defined data center (SDDC) of the future.

First announced in 2015 by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), composable infrastructure treats compute, storage, and network devices as fluid pools of resources. Depending on workload requirements, IT can compose and then recompose these resources based upon the needs of the applications. A composable infrastructure improves business agility, optimizes IT resources, and accelerates time-to-value.

The Forrester report goes on to mention how they see HCI fitting into the software-defined data center of the future. “Virtual resource pools and physical resource pools are the SDDC building blocks…The major change over the past 18 months has been the lockstep maturation of hyperconverged infrastructure and its enablement of more efficient private cloud.”

According to Forrester, the SDDC is a major shift for enterprise infrastructure, unifying virtual and physical infrastructure with cloud and legacy systems. They advise infrastructure and operations professionals to “…invest in software and hardware solutions that are programmable or composable and repeatable with automation, leveraging prebuilt models built off of compute, storage, and network.”

Forrester’s report also predicted that other vendors will soon introduce their own version of composable infrastructure. “Only one current product legitimately meets Forrester’s definition of a local CIS — HPE’s Synergy. But the concept is so powerful and such a logical evolution that we’re confident in predicting a wave of similar products either shipping or announcing in 2018 from Cisco, Dell EMC, and possibly Huawei.”

Indeed, Forrester’s prediction was correct. In early May, Dell announced Kinetic Infrastructure at Dell EMC World. They have become the second vendor to announce a CIS platform. Like Forrester, I expect more announcements from other vendors in the next couple of years.

After I finished reading both industry analyst reports, I felt that the Forrester report provided a better view of how the data center of tomorrow would operate. As I meet with customers, I see firsthand how many IT organizations are already successfully incorporating containers, bare metal, and virtualized workloads — in combination with hyperconverged and composable infrastructure — to successfully achieve many aspects of what the Forrester report outlines.

A safe bet: a software-defined data center with hyperconverged and composable infrastructure

Investing in the best architectures and technologies will help you succeed not only today, but into the future. When making a decision, keep in mind how individual technologies fit together into the overall, cohesive picture. In the software-defined data center of the future, everything should work together seamlessly, as opposed to fragmented silos.

It’s also important to talk with actual companies that are actively investing in these future technologies. Learning from industry experts and those who are implementing successful SDDC strategies will help increase your odds of choosing the best technology for your data center today and into the future.

To learn more about the future of composable infrastructure for your business, download the Forrester research report, The Software-Defined Data Center Comes Of Age or Gartner’s Four Factors That Will Shape the Future of Hyperconverged Infrastructure. And for more details on composable infrastructure, download the free e-book, Composable Infrastructure for Dummies.

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About Paul Miller

Place Your Bets: Hyperconverged or Composable Infrastructure in Tomorrow’s Data Center? TechNativePaul Miller is Vice President of Marketing for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Paul’s organization is responsible for all marketing content and sales enablement tools to help HPE customers get the best product and solution experience.

To read more articles from Paul Miller, check out the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blog.

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