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Hyper-converged infrastructure gains acceptance in APAC

A top Nutanix executive claims that migrations to hyper-converged infrastructure in the region are under way, fuelled by growing interest in hybrid cloud

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has gained general acceptance in Asia-Pacific (APAC) as hybrid cloud catches on across the region.

That is according to Matthew Young, senior vice-president and head of Nutanix in APAC and Japan, who noted that HCI has been underpinning hybrid cloud deployments across the region for a growing number of mission-critical applications.

“It’s not like six years ago, or even four or three years ago, when people really had no concept of taking storage, servers and software, and putting them all together,” said Young, adding that HCI has gone beyond supporting virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as was the case for early adopters.

“It’s not just a VDI play,” he said. “We’ve proven that we can run business-critical applications and we’ve got large enterprises and service providers using the product.”

In APAC, Young said enterprises that had been enamoured by public cloud were now beginning to realise that only a fraction of their workloads could be moved to the cloud, paving the way for HCI to deliver a cloud-like environment in on-premise datacentres.

That said, HCI adoption varies across the APAC region, depending on where an enterprise is in its infrastructure refresh cycle, said Young.

In China, for example, enterprises that were gearing up their infrastructure to support the Olympics are now looking to refresh their systems, he said, adding that Japan was also doing so to support the upcoming Tokyo Games in 2020.

“Country by country, these migrations are driven by different policies, but on the whole they know they need to migrate to a cloud operating system that will allow them to move seamlessly between the public and private clouds.”

According to Gartner, the HCI market in the APAC region is set to grow rapidly, from $371.5m in 2014 to nearly $5bn this year.

Anjan Srinivas, senior director for products at Nutanix, said the fact that the technology is transparent to applications running on top of it has also been driving HCI adoption. Nutanix has created a migration tool to ease process of moving applications to HCI.

“Also, most customers wait for their capex [capital expenditure] to be amortised before they go through a refresh cycle, and that’s when we’re a great trigger,” said Srinivas. “Or, they could also be expanding their workloads and unable to keep up with the complexity of managing the day-to-day work – that’s when they look to work with somebody like Nutanix.”

To be sure, HCI does not suit every workload. These include monolithic applications that require a scale-up architecture with specialised servers, or CPU-hungry applications that require compute resources beyond what a server can support, said Srinivas.

That said, the number of such applications is shrinking, at least for customers of Nutanix, whose AHV hypervisor was certified by SAP in 2018 to run the SAP Hana in-memory database.

According to Duston Williams, chief financial officer of Nutanix, the APAC region currently accounts for 15% to 18% of the company’s business. It operates in several Asian countries, including Singapore where it opened its regional office in January 2019.

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