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Nutanix, Simplivity and Pivot3 lead hyper-converged pack: Forrester

Forrester rates 12 hyper-converged infrastructure providers according to products, company strategy and market presence, with Nutanix, Simplivity and Pivot3 coming out on top-line

Startup specialists Nutanix, Simplivity and Pivot3 lead the hyper-converged infrastructure market, with giants such as EMC, Cisco, HPE and VMware tailing in the chasing pack.

That’s according to analyst house Forrester, which evaluated 12 suppliers of hyper-converged infrastructure in terms of capabilities, company strategic positioning and market presence in Forrester Wave research included in its Infrastructure Transformation Playbook For 2017.

The 12 suppliers evaluated were: Nutanix, Simplivity and Pivot3, designated “leaders”; Atlantis Computing, Gridstore, EMC, Stratoscale, VMware, Cisco, HPE and Huawei, rated as “strong performers”; and Scale Computing, dubbed a “contender”.

Hyper-converged infrastructure has been a rising star in the datacentre in the past couple of years. It combines server and storage hardware in one box, often with a software layer that allows for native hypervisor operations and the ability to discover and run in a grid-like fashion with other hyper-converged nodes from the same maker.

Hyper-converged infrastructure products are available as a hardware nodes as well as software products.

Out of the suppliers evaluated, Nutanix has the most customers (3,100-plus) and is rated by Forrester as “the largest supplier” of hyper-converged infrastructure products, with 1,800 employees and operations in 80 countries and customers that run more than 100 nodes. Its annual revenue, estimated by Forrester, is around $200m.

Second in Forrester’s rating, Simplivity can only scale to 24 nodes but can scale to 1.3PB with its Omnistack product offering “a rich set of global multisite data management functions” to enterprise customers.

Third among the leaders is Pivot3, which has been operating longer than Nutanix and Simplivity and which has more than 2,000 customers for products. Historically, it focused on surveillance and media storage and has petabyte-scale capabilities.

Looking at the strong contenders, Forrester said Atlantis Computing, with its mid-size flash-based nodes, “has a small market footprint, but its overall capabilities give it a strong position”.

Gridstore, which has rebranded to Hypergrid, with its flash-based hardware and Microsoft-only hypervisor compatibility is noted for its quality of service capabilities that give minimum performance guarantees.

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EMC, with its VMware VSAN-based VxRail appliances is rated as, “in a good position to participate in the industry-wide shift toward software-defined infrastructure environments”.

Stratoscale, founded in 2013, proclaims a desire to bring “Amazon Web services (AWS)-like capabilities to the datacentre” with its KVM Hypervisor and ZFS file system. It has few customers so far but Forrester believes its has, “one of the more advanced workload and data migration capabilities in our supplier group, as well as integrated high availability”.

VMware, with its VSAN (Virtual SAN) claims more than 4,000 customers (unverified by Forrester) and has a rich feature set with tight integration with the VMware ecosystem.

Cisco recently entered the hyper-converged market with Hyperflex, and Forrester thinks that its “market ramp should be rapid”, because of the existing underlying acceptance of its UCS server hardware.

Similar to Cisco, Forrester sees HPE’s Proliant-based HC380 hyper-converged product as in its early stages in the market but with potential owing to its existing market presence.

Forrester notes the multi-hypervisor support of Huawei’s FashionCube products and technical maturity, but it also has weak data services. 

Alone in the third tier as a “contender” is Scale Computing, which is acknowledged as a small to medium-sized-targeted hyper-converged product with, “a large installed base in relation to its revenues”.

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