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What's to come for CI, HCI products and vendors in 2017

Market consolidation and cloud integration are inevitable for many burgeoning technologies. HCI and converged products are no different.

Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure have gotten a lot of lip service over the past couple of years, and as adoption of the technology continues to grow, the market is ripe for changes.

From advancements in what the tech can do and which workloads it can support to acquisitions and consolidations in the market itself, the horizon is foggy -- but bright -- for convergence.

To help IT administrators and decision-makers alike get a handle on the big picture of converged infrastructure (CI) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) products on the market, we posed this question to three experts: What changes do you expect to see from converged and hyper-converged infrastructure in 2017?

More money, fewer vendors

Alastair Cooke: In 2016, Cisco said it got serious about its partnership with Springpath, but I'm not convinced. Cisco didn't buy Springpath outright, and it did not spend its war chest of cash on an established HCI product or vendor. I hope, in 2017, that Cisco shows signs of taking delivering HCI seriously. Customers like Cisco hardware, and they would like to run hyper-converged software on it.

In 2016, we also saw Nutanix's relatively small, but very successful, IPO, which was a strong indicator that other HCI vendors can make some money in the market.

I expect to see a couple of HCI vendors change their financial situation in 2017. SimpliVity is the obvious next one. The company will probably not make an IPO, but may find some new funding. There have been rumors that Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is evaluating HCI products, and that it could settle on SimpliVity. HPE comes up in conversations with customers who want to put HCI on their existing server fleet, and I would like to see that made possible with SimpliVity's simple management (as long as it doesn't get bogged down with a mountain of complex HPE software).

I also expect to see some consolidation of the smaller HCI product vendors in 2017; I don't think a software-based HCI product that is essentially storage in a virtual machine (VM) is compelling enough. I expect workload management to be added to HCI products, and I want hyper-converged infrastructure management tools to include visibility into the applications inside VMs. Ideally, these insights will drive predictive and corrective action in the HCI platform.

Late in 2017, we may see the rise of hyper-converged OpenStack. There are already vendors, such as ZeroStack, that will deliver OpenStack as an appliance. This is the way to bring OpenStack to the enterprise.

Another really different approach would be on-premises converged or hyper-converged infrastructure with a cloud-based control plane. All of the management functions could run as a cloud service and then use learning across all of the different deployments.

Next Steps

The HCI market has growing to do

Guide to the HCI market for buyers

How market competition spurs HCI evolution

This was last published in December 2016

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Which HCI vendors do you think will be acquired in 2017, and why?
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"Another really different approach would be on-premises converged or hyper-converged infrastructure with a cloud-based control plane. All of the management functions could run as a cloud service and then use learning across all of the different deployments."
This is already offer by Intel/OnApp with a built in public & private offering (or hybrid) with additional Content delivery included.  HCI is going to be the future DC-In-A-Box.
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