Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hyperconverged Platforms Poised for Takeoff 

It's all coming together in the datacenter, according to a new industry forecast detailing what it calls hyperconverged integrated systems, or HCIS.

Market research Gartner Inc. predicts the booming HCIS market will reach $5 billion by 2019, making it the fastest growing segment of the global market for integrated IT systems. That, the analyst adds, will make hyperconverged systems "mainstream" by the end of the decade as a "third wave of integrated systems" emerges.

Gartner defines HCIS as a platform delivering shared computing and storage resources based on a software-defined approach running on commodity hardware and a "unified management interface." Hyperconverged systems will "deliver their main value through software tools, commoditizing the underlying hardware," the market researcher said in a report released this week.

"We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems," added Gartner analyst Andrew Butler. "This evolution presents IT infrastructure and operations leaders with a framework to evolve their implementations and architectures."

Gartner reckons the enterprise IT market is currently in the second phase marked by the arrival of converged infrastructure and the "advent of HCIS for specific use cases." (The initial phase from 2005 to 2015 was the peak period for blade servers.) The next decade is seen as the third wave, representing "continuous applications and micro-services delivery on HCIS platforms," Butler predicted.

Among the attributes of the third wave of integrated systems will be capabilities like dynamic scheduling of workloads as tools emerge such as application container and cluster orchestration. Gartner also foresees fabric-based infrastructure emerging to delivery these capabilities along with modular and disaggregated hardware buildings blocks. The result is expected to be continuous delivery of applications as backend functions are automated and DevOps teams focus on getting enterprise applications up and running. Continuous delivery also is seen as one way to achieve "continuous economic optimization," or return on the heavy investment in hyperconverged infrastructure.

Gartner noted that HCIS uses cases have so far been limited, resulting in "silos" within existing infrastructure. Knocking down those siloes will require advances in areas such as networking and software-defined IT.

Once HCIS goes mainstream, Gartner predicts that software-defined systems and expanding automation will transform IT infrastructure into "a malleable utility under the control of software intelligence and automated to enable [IT-as-a-service] to business, consumer, developer and enterprise operations."

"While we fully expect the use cases to embrace mission-critical applications in the future, current implementations could still pose constraints on rapid growth toward the end of the decade," Butler added.

The Gartner forecast foresees overlap during the next five years as software-defined and cloud-native approaches make their way into production. In the interim, the market researcher said IT planners must sharpen their focus on areas such as continuous delivery of applications, "which will propel HCIS toward mainstream use in the next five years."



About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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