Welcome to the ‘Year of Hyper-Converged Infrastructure’

The first wave of a new infrastructure revolution is here. Organizations are embracing hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)—the integration of virtualized compute, storage, and management in one solution. The adoption of HCI is on the rise because it delivers efficiency and agility to solve the pressing data center challenges that organizations face today.

Why HCI?

To understand the swift ascent of HCI, it’s necessary to consider the alignment, or misalignment, of virtualized compute and storage. As computer virtualization becomes the foundation of modern data centers, the cost and complexity of external shared storage is quickly growing out of alignment with workloads and deployment environments. The exponential growth of data is producing soaring costs and unnecessary complexity. It has become clear that storage issues are standing in the way of realizing the full benefits of virtualization.

The Year of HCI

This is the year HCI reaches the inflection point and goes into mainstream adoption.

Yanbing Li

Now, five years after VMware defined the vision of the software-defined data center, storage infrastructure has reached a tipping point. “I’ve been saying that this is the year of hyper-converged infrastructure,” says Yanbing Li, senior vice president and general manager for storage and availability at VMware. “Last year at this time, many of our customers were in early adopter mode, but today VMware vSAN 6.2 is enterprise-ready. We have scores of customer proof points where customers are using the product for large-scale, business-critical deployment. This is the year HCI reaches the inflection point and goes into mainstream adoption. We are looking to VMworld as a great opportunity to have many customers share why they’ve adopted vSAN and the kinds of success they’ve realized.”

Embracing vSAN

VMware customers such as HolidayCheck are proving the massive efficiency that can be gained from HCI. HolidayCheck leverages ratings and comments to help sightseers—up to 25 million per month—find the best flights, hotels, cars, and vacation rentals for their travel needs. As the company’s site grew, its overloaded storage system began to slow response times for users.

HolidayCheck turned to VMware vSAN for a hyper-converged storage solution. The new vSAN delivered much better performance, faster and more reliable data processing, and a sustained increase in internal managed services. In addition, because a live migration was easily performed within the existing infrastructure, HolidayCheck realized a 35 percent savings compared to previous levels.

“Customers want a partner in their digital transformation,” says Li. “We continually ask ourselves: How can we make it simpler for them? They’re already dealing with complexity in their line of business. There’s desire for simplicity and automation in the market. Many IT staffs are dealing with lower levels of funding. How can we enable them to do more with less?”

While customers such as HolidayCheck trust vSAN as a foundational technology to run the most important part of their businesses, other customers, such as iGov Technologies, turn to HCI for efficiency gains.

iGov builds rugged computing solutions designed for use in war zones and other difficult environments. The company received an order from a government customer for a customized, portable tactical network. This meant shrinking down hardware that weighed 620 pounds and took up 48,000 cubic inches to a new system that was 170 pounds and 6,900 cubic inches. iGov reduced the footprint, largely, by incorporating vSAN—but the unexpected improvement in performance left them stunned.

“We consistently hear three things from customers: They want solutions that are much easier, they want a better value proposition, and they want what they buy today to be future-proof,” says Li. 

We need to continue to pave a path to the future for our customers.

Yanbing Li

Customer Focus Remains Central

The need to realize the full benefits of infrastructure virtualization is accelerating the HCI market today. Enterprises have begun to see the benefits of both virtualized storage and HCI, and adoption is increasing rapidly. VMware now has 5,000 vSAN customers, more than any other HCI vendor. The product has penetrated into every major business vertical and is used by more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies.