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Incorporate Networking into Hyperconverged Integrated Systems to Gain a Market Advantage

August 22nd, 2016

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The concept of hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) emerged as data centers considered new ways to increase resource utilization by reducing infrastructure inefficiencies and complexities. HCIS is primarily a software-defined platform that integrates compute, storage, networking resources. The HCIS market is expected to grow 79 percent to reach almost $2 billion this year, driving it into mainstream use in the next five years, according to Gartner.

Since this market is growing so rapidly, Gartner released an exciting new report, “Use Networking to Differentiate Your Hyperconverged System.” In the report, Gartner advises HCIS vendors to focus on networking to gain competitive market advantage by integrating use-case-specific guidelines and case studies in go-to-market efforts.

According to the report, more than 10 percent of HCIS deployments will suffer from avoidable network-induced performance problems by 2018, up from less than one percent today. HCIS vendors can help address expected challenges and add value for buyers by considering high performance networking protocols, such as InfiniBand and RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), during the system design stage.

The growing scale of HCIS clusters creates challenges such as expanding workload coverage and diminishing competitive product differentiation. This will force HCIS vendors to alter their product lines and marketing efforts to help their offerings stand out from the rest. Integrating the right networking capabilities will become even more important as a growing number of providers look to differentiate their products. The Gartner report states that by 2018, 60 percent of providers will start to offer integration of networking services, together with compute and storage services, inside of their HCIS products.

Until recently, HCIS vendors have often treated networking simply as a “dumb” interconnect. However, when clusters grow beyond a handful of nodes and higher workloads are introduced, issues begin to arise. This Gartner report stresses that treating the network as “fat dumb pipes” will make it harder to troubleshoot application performance problems from an end-to-end perspective. The report also determines that optimizing the entire communications stack is key to driving latency down and it names InfiniBand and RoCE as important protocols to implement for input/output (I/O)-intensive workloads.

As competition in the HCIS market continues to grow, vendors must change their perception of networking and begin to focus on how to integrate it in order to keep a competitive edge. To learn more about how HCIS professionals can achieve this market advantage, download the full report from the InfiniBand Reports page.

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Bill Lee