There’s little doubt that people are looking for hyper-converged solutions based on recent market data. However, what are the key features they are looking for and what benefits do they hope to achieve? Knowing what others are looking for can help guide your own decisions when evaluating any hyper-converged solution.
ActualTech Media’s 2015 State of Hyperconverged Infrastructure Market survey of 500 tech professionals specifically asked what people were looking for in a hyper-converged solution. The results revealed that 3 features/benefits were critical to their evaluation.
The top feature potential hyper-convergence customers were evaluating a solution on was high-availability (HA). Nearly two-thirds (62%) of all respondents indicated this was the top feature critical to their evaluation process. This should not come as any big surprise. Current storage solutions already deliver HA features and any hyper-converged solution should at least meet the current availability of a traditional storage solution. However, because hyper-converged storage solutions are built for the virtualized world, customers expect HA features to meet the same levels of availability they experience with VMs – no downtime and no data loss in the event of a failure to any of the server, networking, or storage components. In addition to no data loss and no downtime does the solution operate with minimal to no degradation in performance during component failures? There must also be strong data integrity, with the ability to automatically recover from any data inconsistency.
A little more than half of all respondents (55%) said that cost and the return on their investment was important to their decision. Because almost all respondents indicated they already had storage solutions, a hyper-converged solution must demonstrate a greater ROI than their existing solution by providing savings in both CAPEX and OPEX. Also—the cost becomes critical because most customers have already invested in some sort of hardware for a traditional solution. At this point, choice and cost become deciding features you should look at. How much is the solution going to cost? What kind of choices of hardware/software does it offer? And can I leverage my existing investments to lower my ROI?
Scalability of Capacity/Performance
The third most critical feature is the ease of scalability for capacity and performance. Almost as many respondents indicated this was important to their evaluation (54%) as the cost/ROI of the solution. Because virtualized computing is extremely scalable—those searching for a hyper-converged solution expect their storage to be just as scalable in both capacity and performance to meet the needs of the virtual world. Virtualized environments deliver a high level of consolidation bringing together multiple applications with different needs on the same storage platform.
Ease of scalability in capacity means customers have a choice of scaling-up and scaling-out storage and compute independently and on-demand. How easily can it scale-up by adding new drives or replacing lower capacity drives with higher capacity drives? How easily can the hyper-converged solution scale-out by adding new nodes to meet capacity demands? What happens to performance under load? Does the storage platform provide the ability to support multiple applications and does the platform seamlessly adapt to various application requirements? These are critical questions you should be asking yourself as you look for a hyper-converged solution.
Over the course of the final 3 blogs in this series, we will discuss how Maxta®, one of Gartner’s 2015 Cool Vendors in Storage, is able to provide its customers with all of the above features and benefits. Our MxSP software and MaxDeploy® appliances are on the cutting edge of the hyper-converged revolution, offering the cost-savings, choice, high availability and performance that enterprises are seeking when they look for a storage solution.
Knowing what other people are looking for in their hyper-converged storage solution gives you valuable cues in your own journey towards a hyper-converged or a software-defined storage (SDS) solution. Don’t go into your exploration blind to what other industry experts find important in a hyper-converged solution!