The hyperconverged market is the fastest growing segment in IT and the market is flooded with vendors big and small, old and new. Whether you’ve got a consolidation initiative, a VDI project, a need for simple and reliable data protection, or are just curious, hyperconverged infrastructure is worth exploring. But where do you start? How do you line up and measure all these vendors? What criteria should you look for?
TechTarget has also published some guidance in a couple of business comparison white papers on several hyperconverged players:
“Comparing Hyperconverged Infrastructure Options for Virtualized Environments” is a great place to start if you need the quick skinny on which vendor does what. It sets a level playing field by offering a common definition of hyperconvergence; “hyperconvergence replaces the need for disparate hardware components in a legacy stack with a software-centric architecture that includes compute, storage, networking, hypervisor and unified management in a single box.” It also gives an easy to understand breakdown of the three different approaches to converged infrastructure solutions. In addition, “Picking the Best Approach for Hyperconverged Success,” compares SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure and VMware VSAN storage framework on five different comparison points including SimpliVity’s new RapidDR.
Both whitepapers have three common enterprise capabilities that customers should consider: data efficiency, data protection, and resiliency. These capabilities are key to getting the most out of your hyperconverged infrastructure.
- Data efficiency – Data is growing and storage infrastructure is expensive to acquire and maintain; therefore, data efficiency is an important decision-making factor when considering hyperconverged infrastructure. Most converged or hyperconverged vendors say they have functionality built-in to address this issue so you’ll want to understand how each vendor does it and whether they guarantee data efficiency results.
- Data protection – Data is your company’s most valuable asset, next to you of course. Retention policies and service level agreements are becoming stricter each year. Hyperconverged vendors are trying to lighten the management burden of building and keeping up with a solid data protection plan. There are some players who include simple functionalities within their product but do not integrate backups or replication with core data efficiency functions like deduplication and compression. That means you’ll have to piece together other third-party apps or appliances to get a full data protection and disaster recovery solution. Take a closer look at a vendor’s approach to really understand what you are getting.
- Resilience – Knowing which hyperconverged solution takes a strategic and bulletproof approach to protect against data loss and the risk of a component failure will help your evaluation process. Of course, you’ll want the best protection possible without having to buy more nodes than your environment calls for. Ask vendors how many nodes are required for high availability (HA)? And how many drive failures can they withstand on those nodes?
Other elements you should consider:
- Is it easy to move workloads from one site to another?
- How simple is the management experience?
- Are policies VM-centric (backup, clone, move a VM, etc.) and abstracted from the underlying infrastructure?
- How many interfaces will it require to manage the entire solution?
- Do you need to learn how to use a new tool?
- Ask about the openness of the solution.
- Can you pick and choose your hypervisor?
- Can you choose your x86 server?
Regardless, whatever criteria you use, make sure you check out customer references.