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What’s Next in Hyper-Converged Infrastructure? Get Ready for the Hybrid Multicloud Experience

Are you ready for the evolution of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)? If your organization is like most others, you’ve deployed HCI over the past few years as a fast path to IT modernization and hybrid cloud. With HCI, you’ve probably been able to reduce IT complexity, control costs, and leverage a software-defined architecture for key workloads.

What you haven’t been able to do is to use HCI as a single-source solution that enables you to consume cloud resources seamlessly across multiple public clouds as well as your on-premises private cloud infrastructure.

Welcome to the NetApp HCI hybrid cloud infrastructure generation. Now your HCI solution can serve as the foundation for a new cloud consumption model—one that lets you easily access a virtually unlimited choice of public and private cloud data services to meet the specific needs of any workload and application.

This next stage of HCI is so new that the leading analysts haven’t come up with a category for it. Nor have they clearly defined what it is and how it works. NetApp, the company that is pioneering this new HCI model, describes it as delivering “the hybrid multicloud experience.”

In this dedicated TechTarget site, we discuss what the hybrid multicloud experience is, and why it’s an important breakthrough in the evolution of the hybrid cloud infrastructure. We also look at key benefits of the hybrid multicloud experience and describe how organizations can leverage next-stage HCI solutions to drive unprecedented levels of business agility, while transitioning to a true IT-as-a-service delivery model.

Understanding the hybrid multicloud experience
HCI was an important advance in IT at its inception earlier this decade, and it continues to inspire innovation. It gives organizations a way to easily deploy and manage compute, storage and networking in an integrated platform that transitions to a software-defined architecture.

HCI is particularly valuable in enabling IT to build private and hybrid clouds to support the needs of developers, DevOps, lines of business and other critical teams. It’s no surprise that the HCI market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 42% through 2023.1 And, according to one study, 86% of organizations say they have a multicloud strategy.2

The new reality is that the multicloud era is changing the rules for IT and thereby changing what IT teams need from their on-premises infrastructure, particularly their HCI solutions.

Organizations today recognize that they can achieve significant benefits—in agility, cost savings, and accelerated development cycles—by accessing data services from multiple public cloud providers in coordination with their on-premises infrastructure.

Today’s HCI solutions offer many benefits, but they’re not necessarily designed to make it easy to seamlessly deploy multiple data services from any cloud provider and mix and match these services to optimize resources for specific workloads and applications. The technology to allow that type of flexibility is not incorporated into the design of existing HCI solutions.

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The Next Generation of HCI
That is about to change, however, as the next stage of HCI takes shape. This new era of HCI promises to leapfrog current, traditional solutions because it allows you to seamlessly take advantage of any service from hybrid clouds, public clouds and on-premises infrastructure.

This new category of HCI is built upon Data Fabric technology that gives IT the freedom to choose any compute and developer ecosystem, in any combination, across hybrid multicloud environments. Without it, IT teams risk missing the opportunity to drive competitive advantage by using any service from any cloud.

With next-stage HCI from NetApp, organizations can access their choice of data services from virtually any cloud, so IT isn’t just building a hybrid cloud, but a hybrid multicloud. Five key elements are foundational to this model:

  • Integrated, to deliver a common experience across private and public clouds.
  • Low friction, with a consumption model that mirrors public cloud, enabling development teams to build new services faster.
  • Self-service, to simplify how users consume IT resources across multiple clouds.
  • Automated, to reduce management complexities and make it easier for IT to deploy and manage infrastructure and services.
  • Flexible, to allow access to data services from multiple cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Azure.

Looking Ahead
With an HCI platform that enables the hybrid multicloud experience, IT teams can deliver significant benefits to their organizations, taking advantage of innovations in both cloud services and on-premises infrastructure at the same time. With the right solution, you can accelerate business, grow the bottom line, shorten development cycles and drive new levels of business agility.

Throughout this dedicated TechTarget site, we will explore how this new model is taking shape, how to deploy it, what underlying technology is required and how your organization can benefit now and in the future.

1 “Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) Global Market Report, Industry Insights, Trends, Key Developments, 2017-2023,” Reuters, Feb. 8, 2018
2Why 86% of enterprises employ a multi-cloud strategy and how it impacts business,” TechRepublic, July 12, 2018