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Trusted Business Advisors, Expert Technology Analysts

Research Areas

Data Center Systems

Includes HyperConverged, Converged, Disaggregated, and Legacy Infrastructure.

This category focuses on modern, on-premises infrastructure-based architectural approaches at the datacenter level. All aspects of the necessary infrastructure are included such as network, compute and storage. Taneja Group treats these systems as a complete solution for a particular workload whether it be general-purpose IaaS or vertical solutions targeted at specific use cases such as workload consolidation or applications such as SAP. We regularly compare and contrast the various architectural approaches that IT buyers are considering, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and discuss which approaches are likely to work best for specific workloads and use cases. We are always looking for shifts in industry thinking or technology adoption that might lead to an evolution of existing data center architectures, and engage with startup and large vendors alike to understand and characterize newly emerging approaches. Where possible, our reports and opinions are backed by primary research, including direct conversations with different classes of IT decision makers and influencers.

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Free Reports

For Lowest TCO and Maximum Agility Choose the VMware Cloud Foundation Hybrid SDDC Platform

The race is on at full speed.  What race?  The race to bring public cloud agility and economics to a data center near you. Ever since the first integrated systems came onto the scene in 2010, vendors have been furiously engineering solutions to make on-premises infrastructure as cost effective and as easy to use as the public cloud, while also providing the security, availability, and control that enterprises demand. Fundamentally, two main architectures have evolved within the race to modernize data centers that will create a foundation enabling fully private and hybrid clouds. The first approach uses traditional compute, storage, and networking infrastructure components (traditional 3-tier) overlaid with varying degrees of virtualization and management software. The second more recent approach is to build a fully virtualized data center using industry standard servers and networking and then layer on top of that a full suite of software-based compute, network, and storage virtualization with management software. This approach is often termed a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC).

The goal of an SDDC is to extend virtualization techniques across the entire data center to enable the abstraction, pooling, and automation of all data center resources. This would allow a business to dynamically reallocate any part of the infrastructure for various workload requirements without forklifting hardware or rewiring. VMware has taken SDDC to a new level with VMware Cloud Foundation.  VMware Cloud Foundation is the only unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud, which brings together VMware’s compute, storage, and network virtualization into a natively integrated stack that can be deployed on-premises or run as a service from the public cloud. It establishes a common cloud infrastructure foundation that gives customers a unified and consistent operational model across the private and public cloud.

VMware Cloud Foundation delivers an industry-leading SDDC cloud infrastructure by combining VMware’s highly scalable hyper-converged software (vSphere and VSAN) with the industry leading network virtualization platform, NSX. VMware Cloud Foundation comes with unique lifecycle management capabilities (SDDC Manager) that eliminate the overhead of system operations of the cloud infrastructure stack by automating day 0 to day 2 processes such as bring-up, configuration, workload provisioning, and patching/upgrades. As a result, customers can significantly shorten application time to market, boost cloud admin productivity, reduce risk, and lower TCO.  Customers consume VMware Cloud Foundation software in three ways: factory pre-loaded on integrated systems (VxRack 1000 SDDC); deployed on top qualified Ready Nodes from HPE, QCT, Fujitsu, and others in the future, with qualified networking; and run as a service from the public cloud through IBM, vCAN partners, vCloud Air, and more to come.

In this comparative study, Taneja Group performed an in-depth analysis of VMware Cloud Foundation deployed on qualified Ready Nodes and qualified networking versus several traditional 3-tier converged infrastructure (CI) integrated systems and traditional 3-tier do-it-yourself (DIY) systems. We analyzed the capabilities and contrasted key functional differences driven by the various architectural approaches. In addition, we evaluated the key CapEx and OpEx TCO cost components.  Taneja Group configured each traditional 3-tier system's hardware capacity to be as close as possible to the VMware Cloud Foundation qualified hardware capacity.  Further, since none of the 3-tier systems had a fully integrated SDDC software stack, Taneja Group added the missing SDDC software, making it as close as possible to the VMware Cloud Foundation software stack.  The quantitative comparative results from the traditional 3-tier DIY and CI systems were averaged together into one scenario because the hardware and software components are very similar. 

Our analysis concluded that both types of solutions are more than capable of handling a variety of virtualized workload requirements. However, VMware Cloud Foundation has demonstrated a new level of ease-of-use due to its modular scale-out architecture, native integration, and automatic lifecycle management, giving it a strong value proposition when building out modern next generation data centers.  The following are the five key attributes that stood out during the analysis:

  • Native Integration of the SDDC:  VMware Cloud Foundation natively integrates vSphere, Virtual SAN (VSAN), and NSX network virtualization.
  • Simplest operational experience: VMware SDDC Manager automates the life-cycle of the SDDC stack including bring up, configuration, workload provisioning, and patches/upgrades.
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  • Isolated workload domains: VMware Cloud Foundation provides unique administrator tools to flexibly provision subsets of the infrastructure for multi-tenant isolation and security.
  • Modular linear scalability: VMware Cloud Foundation employs an architecture in which capacity can be scaled by the HCI node, by the rack, or by multiple racks. 
  • Seamless Hybrid Cloud: Deploy VMware Cloud Foundation for private cloud and consume on public clouds to create a seamless hybrid cloud with a consistent operational experience.

Taneja Group’s in-depth analysis indicates that VMware Cloud Foundation will enable enterprises to achieve significant cost savings. Hyper-converged infrastructure, used by many web-scale service providers, with natively integrated SDDC software significantly reduced server, storage, and networking costs.  This hardware cost saving more than offset the incremental SDDC software costs needed to deliver the storage and networking capability that typically is provided in hardware from best of breed traditional 3-tier components. In this study, we measured the upfront CapEx and 3 years of support costs for the hardware and software components needed to build out a VMware Cloud Foundation private cloud on qualified Ready Nodes.  In addition, Taneja Group validated a model that demonstrates the labor and time OpEx savings that can be achieved through the use of integrated end-to-end automatic lifecycle management in the VMware SDDC Manager software.

 

By investing in VMware Cloud Foundation, businesses can be assured that their data center infrastructure can be easily consumed, scaled, managed, upgraded and enhanced to provide the best private cloud at the lowest cost. Using a pre-engineered modular, scale-out approach to building at web-scale means infrastructure is added in hours, not days, and businesses can be assured that adding infrastructure scales linearly without complexity.  VMware Cloud Foundation is the only platform that provides a natively integrated unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud with end-to-end management and with the flexibility to provision a wide variety of workloads at the push of a button.

In summary, VMware Cloud Foundation enables at least five unparalleled capabilities, generates a 45% lower 3-year TCO than the alternative traditional 3-tier approaches, and delivers a tremendous value proposition when building out a modern hybrid SDDC platform. Before blindly going down the traditional infrastructure approach, companies should take a close look at VMware Cloud Foundation, a unified SDDC platform for the hybrid cloud.

Publish date: 10/17/16
Report

The Modern Data-Center: Why Nutanix Customers are Replacing Their NetApp Storage

Several Nutanix customers shared with Taneja Group why they switched from traditional NetApp storage to the hyperconverged Nutanix platform. Each customer talked about the value of hyperconvergence versus a traditional server/networking/storage stack, and the specific benefits of Nutanix in mission-critical production environments.

Hyperconverged systems are a popular alternative to traditional computing architectures that are built with separate compute, storage, and networking components. Nutanix turns this complex environment into an efficient, software-based infrastructure where hypervisor, compute, storage, networking, and data services run on scalable nodes that seamlessly scale across massive virtual environments.  

The customers we spoke with came from very different industries, but all of them faced major technology refreshes for legacy servers and NetApp storage. Each decided that hyperconvergence was the right answer, and each chose the Nutanix hyperconvergence platform for its major benefits including scalability, simplicity, value, performance, and support. The single key achievement running through all these benefits is “Ease of Everything”: ease of scaling, ease of management, ease of realizing value, ease of performance, and ease of upgrades and support. Nutanix simply works across small clusters and large, single and multiple datacenters, specialist or generalist IT, and different hypervisors.

The datacenter is not static. Huge data growth and increasing complexity are motivating IT directors from every industry to invest in scalable hyperconvergence. Given Nutanix benefits across the board, these directors can confidently adopt Nutanix to transform their data-centers, just as these NetApp customers did.

Publish date: 03/31/16
Report

The Hyperconverged Data Center: Nutanix Customers Explain Why They Replaced Their EMC SANS

Taneja Group spoke with several Nutanix customers in order to understand why they switched from EMC storage to the Nutanix platform. All of the respondent’s articulated key architectural benefits of hyperconvergence versus a traditional 3-tier solutions. In addition, specific Nutanix features for mission-critical production environments were often cited.

Hyperconverged systems have become a mainstream alternative to traditional 3-tier architecture consisting of separate compute, storage and networking products. Nutanix collapses this complex environment into software-based infrastructure optimized for virtual environments. Hypervisor, compute, storage, networking, and data services run on scalable nodes that seamlessly scale across massive virtual assets. Hyperconvergence offers a key value proposition over 3-tier architecture:  instead of deploying, managing and integrating separate components – storage, servers, networking, data services, and hypervisors – these components are combined into a modular high performance system.

The customers we interviewed operate in very different industries. In common, they all maintained data centers undergoing fundamental changes, typically involving an opportunity to refresh some portion of their 3-tier infrastructure. This enabled the evaluation of hyperconvergence in supporting those changes. Customers interviewed found that Nutanix hyperconvergence delivered benefits in the areas of scalability, simplicity, value, performance, and support. If we could use one phrase to explain why Nutanix’ is winning over EMC customers in the enterprise market it would be “Ease of Everything.” Nutanix works, and works consistently with small and large clusters, in single and multiple datacenters, with specialist or generalist IT support, and across hypervisors.

The five generations of Nutanix products span many years of product innovation. Web-scale architecture has been the key to Nutanix platform’s enterprise capable performance, simplicity and scalability. Building technology like this requires years of innovation and focus and is not an add-on for existing products and architectures.

The modern data center is quickly changing. Extreme data growth and complexity are driving data center directors toward innovative technology that will grow with them. Given the benefits of Nutanix web-scale architecture – and the Ease of Everything – data center directors can confidently adopt Nutanix as their partner in data center transformation just as the following EMC customers did.

Publish date: 03/31/16
Profile

Cohesity Data Platform: Hyperconverged Secondary Storage

Primary storage is often defined as storage hosting mission-critical applications with tight SLAs, requiring high performance.  Secondary storage is where everything else typically ends up and, unfortunately, data stored there tends to accumulate without much oversight.  Most of the improvements within the overall storage space, most recently driven by the move to hyperconverged infrastructure, have flowed into primary storage.  By shifting the focus from individual hardware components to commoditized, clustered and virtualized storage, hyperconvergence has provided a highly-available virtual platform to run applications on, which has allowed IT to shift their focus from managing individual hardware components and onto running business applications, increasing productivity and reducing costs. 

Companies adopting this new class of products certainly enjoyed the benefits, but were still nagged by a set of problems that it didn’t address in a complete fashion.  On the secondary storage side of things, they were still left dealing with too many separate use cases with their own point solutions.  This led to too many products to manage, too much duplication and too much waste.  In truth, many hyperconvergence vendors have done a reasonable job at addressing primary storage use cases, , on their platforms, but there’s still more to be done there and more secondary storage use cases to address.

Now, however, a new category of storage has emerged. Hyperconverged Secondary Storage brings the same sort of distributed, scale-out file system to secondary storage that hyperconvergence brought to primary storage.  But, given the disparate use cases that are embedded in secondary storage and the massive amount of data that resides there, it’s an equally big problem to solve and it had to go further than just abstracting and scaling the underlying physical storage devices.  True Hyperconverged Secondary Storage also integrates the key secondary storage workflows - Data Protection, DR, Analytics and Test/Dev - as well as providing global deduplication for overall file storage efficiency, file indexing and searching services for more efficient storage management and hooks into the cloud for efficient archiving. 

Cohesity has taken this challenge head-on.

Before delving into the Cohesity Data Platform, the subject of this profile and one of the pioneering offerings in this new category, we’ll take a quick look at the state of secondary storage today and note how current products haven’t completely addressed these existing secondary storage problems, creating an opening for new competitors to step in.

Publish date: 03/30/16
Report

Transforming the Data Center: SimpliVity Delivers Hyperconverged Platform with Native DP

Hyperconvergence has come a long way in the past five years. Growth rates are astronomical and customers are replacing traditional three-layer configurations with hyperconverged solutions at record numbers. But not all hyperconverged solutions in the market are alike. As the market matures, this fact is coming to light. Of course, all hyperconverged solutions tightly integrate compute and storage (that is par for the course) but beyond that similarities end quickly.

One of the striking differences between SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure architecture and others is the tight integration of data protection functionality. The DNA for that is built in from the very start: SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure systems perform inline deduplication and compression of data at the time of data creation. Thereafter, data is kept in the “reduced” state throughout its lifecycle. This has serious positive implications on latency, performance, and bandwidth but equally importantly, it transforms data protection and other secondary uses of data. 

At Taneja Group, we have been very aware of this differentiating feature of SimpliVity’s solution. So when we were asked to interview five SimpliVity customers to determine if they were getting tangible benefits (or not), we jumped at the opportunity.

This Field Report is about their experiences. We must state at the beginning that we focused primarily on their data protection experiences in this report. Hyperconvergence is all about simplicity and cost reduction. But SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure also eliminated another big headache: data protection. These customers may not have bought SimpliVity for data protection purposes, but the fact that they were essentially able to get rid of all their other data protection products was a very pleasant surprise for them. That was a big plus for these customers. To be sure, data protection is not simply backup and restore but also includes a number of other functions such as replication, DR, WAN optimization, and more. 

For a broader understanding of SimpliVity’s product capabilities, other Taneja Group write-ups are available. This one focuses on data protection. Read on for these five customers’ experiences.

Publish date: 02/01/16
Report

Nutanix Versus VCE: Web-Scale Versus Converged Infrastructure in the Real World

This Field Report was created by Taneja Group for Nutanix in late 2014 with updates in 2015. The Taneja Group analyzed the experiences of seven Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform customers and seven Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Vblock customers. We did not ‘cherry-pick’ customers for dissatisfaction, delight, or specific use case; we were interested in typical customers’ honest reactions.

As we talked in detail to these customers, we kept seeing the same patterns: 1) VCE users were interested in converged systems; and 2) they chose VCE because VCE partners Cisco, EMC, and/or VMware were embedded in their IT relationships and sales. The VCE process had the advantage of vendor familiarity, but it came at a price: high capital expense, infrastructure and management complexity, expensive support contracts, and concerns over the long-term viability of the VCE partnership (see an opinion of the DELL/EMC merger at end of this document). VCE customers typically did not research other options for converged infrastructure prior to deploying the VCE Vblock solution.

In contrast, Nutanix users researched several convergence and hyperconvergence vendors to determine the best possible fit. Nutanix’ advanced web-scale framework gave them simplified architecture and management, reasonable acquisition and operating costs, and considerably faster time to value.

Our conclusion, based on the amount of time and effort spent by the teams responsible for managing converged infrastructure, is that VCE Vblock deployments represent an improvement over traditional architectures, but Nutanix hyperconvergence – especially with its web-scale architecture – is an big improvement over VCE.

This Field Report will compare customer experiences with Nutanix hyperconverged, web-scale infrastructure to VCE Vblock in real-world environments. 

Publish date: 01/14/16
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