By Mark Haranas
Five Biggest Hyper-Converged Trends Heading Into 2020
The hyper-converged infrastructure market is projected to reach well over $7 billion in revenue this year and shows no signs of slowing down in 2020.
Hyper-converged system sales hit $1.8 billion in the first quarter and the second quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 47 percent and 24 percent year over year, respectively. Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) market leaders Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nutanix and VMware all bet heavily on HCI this year with similar expectations in 2020 as more organizations are pivoting toward hybrid cloud and software-defined infrastructure. One of the main reasons enterprises are seeking hyper-converged systems is the ability to create a cloudlike provisioning model while still maintaining physical control of the IT solutions and data on-premises.
As the HCI market heats up even more in 2020, here are the five hottest hyper-converged trends to watch for next year.
Hybrid, Multi-Cloud World Has Found A Foundation
Hyper-converged systems are becoming the “backbone” of the multi-cloud world, according to Eric Sheppard, research vice president, infrastructure platforms and technologies, at research firm IDC.
“The value proposition of converged infrastructure solutions has evolved to align with the needs of a hybrid cloud world,” said Sheppard. “Modern converged solutions are driving growth because they allow organizations to leverage standardized, software-defined, and highly automated data center infrastructure that is increasingly the on-premises backbone of a seamless multi-cloud world.”
The infrastructure silos of storage, networking and compute can no longer meet the need of the cloud era and digital transformation. All of the major hyper-converged market-share leaders are embracing hybrid cloud offerings and multi-cloud deployments. For example, Dell Technologies’ most bullish cloud bet in years is its Dell Technologies Cloud platform, which is built on VxRail, the market-leading hyper-converged platform.
Research firm Gartner said customers see HCI as the resting place for applications and a good alternative to the public cloud from performance, manageability at scale and cost perspectives. The biggest trend in 2020 will be to see how high hyper-converged infrastructure sales will grow in a hybrid cloud world.
New HCI Automation Software In The Pipeline
The highly automated nature of HCI offerings helps reduce the risk of downtime associated with common life-cycle management tasks such as firmware upgrades and system refreshes. The scale-out, software-defined nature of hyper-converged offerings helps to eliminate the need for complex and large forklift upgrades that are now very common within data centers. The pervasive use of artificial intelligence and hyper-convergence is making the data center more intelligent and automated around monitoring and managing assets and risks.
Vendors across the market are investing heavily in machine learning and automation to enhance the underlying hardware and hyper-converged software. For example, Nutanix launched Calm for application and IT automation, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake Flex Capacity offers automated refresh management. A big trend in 2020 to watch is for new automation and machine- learning HCI software from large and midsize hyper-converged vendors to help manage the complexity of decentralized and distributed systems.
Backup And Disaster Recovery
Backup and disaster recovery is currently the fastest-growing application in the hyper-converged market, according to research firm MarketsAndMarkets, due to the rising concerns for faster data backup and security. Vendors are expanding their strategies to embrace hybrid and multi-cloud deployments as either backup targets or disaster recovery options or as an alternative for on-premises infrastructure, according to Gartner. Over the next few years, cloud models will become more important to meet short-term and scale-up/scale-down requirements as well as backup and disaster recovery requirements.
The ability for hyper-convergence to also lower total cost of ownership and operating expenses for backup and disaster recovery is a big trend to keep an eye on in 2020. Hyper-convergence reduces the requirement of separate backup software, deduplication appliances and storage arrays.
MarketsAndMarkets expects the global hyper-converged infrastructure market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent over the next four years, becoming a $17.1 billion market by 2023. The need for continuous application delivery and increased awareness among enterprises and SMBs will likely drive the market to expand next year.
Edge And Micro Data Centers Will Soon Quadruple
Hyper-converged infrastructure deployments at the edge will heat up in 2020. With the rise of cloud computing, traditional enterprise data centers are evolving and adapting. By 2025, Gartner is projecting that the number of micro or edge data centers will quadruple due to innovations such as 5G and hyper-converged infrastructure. This paves the way at the edge for hyper-converged offerings that can consolidate servers, storage, networking and software within a single pane of glass.
The increasing redistribution of workloads to cloud, co-location and edge means less physical space is required in data centers. HCI systems take up less physical space and similar amounts of energy as traditional silo products.
Hyper-converged infrastructure vendors that historically were data-center-focused are targeting the needs of edge and remote office environments, whereas in the past this demand was only served by niche vendors. Small remote office and edge deployments require less storage capacity and fewer compute resources and features, but benefit greatly from centralized management and high-availability designs. It will be an interesting trend to watch next year in terms of HCI product launches targeting the edge.
Will AWS Overthrow Hyper-Converged Leaders With Outposts?
Although it’s been nearly a year since AWS Outposts was unveiled, the public cloud titan is expected to launch its new on-premises architecture before the end of the year that could drastically shake up the hyper-converged market. Amazon is bringing native services and AWS-designed compute, networking and storage hardware infrastructure to virtually any data center, co-location space or on-premises facility with Outposts, which will be fully managed and supported by the company.
The AWS-designed modular infrastructure consists of compute, memory, storage and networking in custom configurations based on the AWS Nitro system. This is a potential disruption to the hyper-converged market leaders that sell the integrated server, storage and networking hardware stack because AWS will be supplying the hardware itself while VMware will provide the software. For example, some customers might re-evaluate their software-defined data center or private cloud infrastructure investments because Outposts may give many VMware customers, for instance, the ability to meet all their private and public cloud infrastructure requirements through a single managed service.
AWS Outposts will likely address edge data center use cases that are not suitable for the public cloud, making the market impact of Outposts one of the biggest trends to watch in 2020.