Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) continues to be a growth area for many businesses and business lines. This is largely due to the simplified approach for driving and deploying new digital business initiatives. In fact, HCI can often be a simpler way to kick off new initiatives with no impact to core IT organizations within the business. For this reason, HCI deployments are seeing growth that enables business units to rapidly stand up new projects without impacting IT.
Looking in to 2021 and beyond, our research shows that overall IT industry trends include increasing numbers of new initiatives that focus on:
- Digital transformation.
- Shifting from on-premises to cloud adoption.
- Application modernization and security.
Across the technology industry, these three areas are where business is facing new challenges. The global economy continues to move toward digital transformation, while the delivery of products and services is evolving based on this direction. Those businesses that stay in the traditional product and services arena will likely not survive into the 2020s.
These larger trends are playing into how HCI is trending. Let’s take a look at where HCI has been and my top 5 predictions about where it is going in 2021…and beyond.
The Future Is Now
In September 2018, I wrote a Forbes article, titled Modernized HCI Data Protection Practices Lead To Digital Transformation. When writing this article, I was focusing on future trends and predictions, without the prescience of knowing that a pandemic would further accelerate these efforts. In the past three years, the HCI market has rapidly grown in the direction I described then, and the future shows no sign of stopping.
Specifically, the Forbes article focused on the following:
- Migrate existing workloads
- Understand the impact of migrating your existing hypervisor
- Leverage native file and block services
- Expand the data center to the edge
- Set up native cloud disaster recovery
As we continue to drive hypercomputing infrastructure into 2020, many of the points covered then are valid today and, in some cases, the direction is even more rapidly accelerating from 2018.
- Digital Transformation (still) Starts with Hyperconverged Infrastructure
In 2020, increasing numbers of digital business transformation initiatives amplified the direction just described (and covered in further detail in my 2018 article). This accelerated pace of adoption drove enterprise agility and is largely from these kinds of digital initiatives combined with the ability to quickly migrate workloads to HCI as well as to the cloud. According to ESG Research on Converged and Hyperconverged Infrastructure Trends, 87% of IT managers said that HCI made IT more agile, with 25% stating HCI makes IT significantly more agile.
Migrating existing workloads is the direction for future HCI adoption. The reason is that HCI reduces the requirement for server and storage management resources and expertise, making migration to the platform easier than traditional deployments. HCI and software-defined storage (SDS) are the foundation for digital transformation initiatives and provide rapid time to value, without requiring more expertise.
- Public Cloud Services Are an Option to On-premises Storage Infrastructure
Leveraging the cloud and native HCI platform file services allows your digital initiatives to optimize workloads, leverage data storage services, migrate away from silos, and create unified infrastructure–all residing on the same, high-performance platform. Cloud storage and strategies are no different, which is why public cloud infrastructure is gaining popularity.
This point is validated in a 2019 ESG in-depth survey of IT and data storage professionals responsible for evaluating, purchasing, and managing data storage technology products and services. The survey respondents indicated that at least twice as many IT professionals are as likely to consider public cloud storage infrastructure as better than on-premises alternatives when it comes to total cost of ownership, ease of purchase, automation, and ease of evaluation. And this includes using HCI for on-premises and cloud-based deployments.
- Edge Is Increasing in Priority to Digital Businesses
The increase in a remote workforce has accelerated edge adoption. IT organization investments are increasing based on this new business model, which also applies to edge-based resources. This trend will drive cloud adoption for these types of deployments to enable rapid responses to evolving business models, enabling the business to dynamically scale with no impact to the core business.
New Emerging Trends – Modernization with Intelligence
- Application modernization will force CIOs to look for opportunities to move to next-generation digital platforms that leverage HCI and cloud-native approaches that modernize infrastructure and applications. This modernization delivers dynamic functionality and supports rapid development of new products, processes and services to enhance the customer experience. As part of this approach, DevOps will need to include the ability to leverage the container and the orchestration layers to provide burst capabilities to keep pace with increasing digital experience demands.
- Other IT trends that will be leveraging HCI platforms are artificial intelligence and machine learning. Forward-thinking businesses will customize their digital experiences to focus on the personalization of customer profiles. The product, service, and process will (or soon will) have the capability to dynamically adjust based on the customer persona and adapt in real time to how the customer is interacting with the business. This direction is gaining traction in all aspects of the digital experience platforms and applies to hyperconverged infrastructure deployments as well.
How Will These Trends Impact Your Organization?
Technology is evolving faster and is now able to process data in ways that were unheard just a few years ago. The lines between technology and the intersection with people and process that are using the platforms are blurring. The adoption of HCI platforms, whether on-prem or in the cloud or a hybrid approach, is less important than the transparency of information provided from these platforms. The future is about driving experiences regardless of where the information lives. How ready is your organization?
Contact me and let’s talk. I would like to share thoughts on hyperconverged infrastructure as well as where our digital experiences are going.