There’s no doubt that hyperconverged infrastructure is one of the hottest topics in IT infrastructure right now. This past year, the number of companies that have adopted hyperconverged infrastructure increased by 54% according to ActualTech Media’s State of the Hyperconverged Infrastructure Market 2016 report. With all the activity surrounding hyperconvergence, it should come as no surprise that everyone wants in on the market momentum.
While the hyperconverged infrastructure market has long been the domain of startups and technology innovators, large legacy vendors are starting to place their bets and compete with the leaders in this emerging category. Being so far behind the tech innovators to start, the legacy vendors are employing a number of strategies to try and play catch-up, by either cobbling together their own solutions from existing products in their portfolios or by partnering with existing companies. It remains to be seen, however, if the legacy vendors’ gamble going all-in on hyperconvergence so late in the game will pay off.
For end users evaluating hyperconverged infrastructure, the big question is if the technology difference between the hyperconverged leaders and the legacy companies is so significant that it can’t be erased. Recent analyst reports have concluded that the younger innovators hold an advantage at the moment and currently lead the field in terms of technology prowess and market traction.
While large legacy vendors certainly have the resources available to make a splash in hyperconvergence, it’s worth wondering if investing fully in hyperconverged infrastructure is something they can responsibly do. After all, much of the legacy vendors’ product portfolios are made up of individual components of the IT infrastructure stack – the same components that hyperconverged infrastructure replaces. All hyperconverged solutions converge at least servers and storage, while some go even further down the IT stack to integrate data protection, deduplication, and WAN optimization, among other components. Can legacy vendors fully commit to hyperconverged infrastructure and run the risk of cannibalizing their existing products? After all, it can be very difficult for these large vendors to disrupt their own businesses and product lines for the sake of moving forward.
Hyperconverged infrastructure represents a major opportunity for end users, delivering on the promises of improved operational efficiency, increased ability to scale, data center space savings, and reduced total cost of ownership. And to their credit, legacy vendors are finally picking up on this. But, can the legacy vendors outperform and outlast the technology innovators who pioneered the market? The answer to that question will come only with time.