Includes Storage Arrays, NAS, File Systems, Clustered and Distributed File Systems, FC Switches/Directors, HBA, CNA, Routers, Components, Semiconductors, Server Blades.
Taneja Group analysts cover all form and manner of storage arrays, modular and monolithic, enterprise or SMB, large and small, general purpose or specialized. All components that make up the SAN, FC-based or iSCSI-based, and all forms of file servers, including NAS systems based on clustered or distributed file systems, are covered soup to nuts. Our analysts have deep backgrounds in file systems area in particular. Components such as Storage Network Processors, SAS Expanders, FC Controllers are covered here as well. Server Blades coverage straddles this section as well as the Infrastructure Management section above.
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.
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.
Flash storage offers higher performance, lower power consumption, decreased footprint and increased reliability over spinning media. It would be the rare IT shop today that doesn’t have some flash acceleration deployed in performance hot spots. But many IT folks are still on the sidelines watching and waiting for the right time to jump into a bigger adoption of flash-based shared storage.
When will flash costs (CAPEX) drop to make it affordable to switch – and for which workloads does all-flash make sense? How much better does it need to be to overcome the pain and cost (OPEX) of adopting and migrating to a whole new storage solution? How much more complex and costly is it to run a mixed storage environment with some all-flash, some tiered, and some capacity arrays?
In this insightful field report we’ve interviewed a half dozen real-world IT storage groups who faced those challenges, and with HPE 3PAR StoreServ have been able to easily transition important performance-sensitive workloads to all-flash storage. By staying within the 3PAR StoreServ family for their larger storage needs, they’ve been able to steer a clear, cost-effective and rewarding course to flash performance.
In each interview, we explore how they executed their transition from HDD to hybrid to all-flash under their real world IT initiatives that included consolidation, data center transformation, and performance acceleration. We’ll learn about the particular business values they are each successfully producing, and we will present some recommendations for others making all-flash storage decisions.
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.
There are a lot of game-changing trends in IT today including mobility, cloud, and big data analytics. As a result, IT architectures, data centers, and data processing are all becoming more complex – increasingly dynamic, heterogeneous, and distributed. For all IT organizations, achieving great success today depends on staying in control of rapidly growing and faster flowing data.
While there are many ways for IT technology and solution providers to help clients depending on their maturity, size, industry, and key business applications, every IT organization has to wrestle with BURA (Backup, Recovery, and Archiving). Protecting and preserving the value of data is a key business requirement even as the types, amounts, and uses of that data evolve and grow.
For IT organizations, BURA is an ever-present, huge, and growing challenge. Unfortunately, implementing a thorough and competent BURA solution often requires piecing and patching together multiple vendor products and solutions. These never quite fully address the many disparate needs of most organizations nor manage to be very simple or cost-effective to operate. Here is where we see HPE as a key vendor today with all the right parts coming together to create a significant change in the BURA marketplace.
First, HPE is pulling together its top-notch products into a user-ready “solution” that marries both StoreOnce and Data Protector. For those working with either or both of those separately in the past in conjunction with other vendor’s products, it’s no surprise that they each compete favorably one-on-one with other products in the market, but together as an integrated joint solution they beat the best competitor offerings.
But HPE hasn’t just bundled products into solutions, it is undergoing a seismic shift in culture that revitalizes its total approach to market. From product to services to support, HPE people have taken to heart a “customer first” message to provide a truly solution-focused HPE experience. One support call, one ticket, one project manager, addressing the customer’s needs regardless of what internal HPE business unit components are in the “box”. And significantly, this approach elevates HPE from just being a supplier of best-of-breed products into an enterprise-level trusted solution provider addressing business problems head-on. HPE is perhaps the only company completely able to deliver a breadth of solutions spanning IT from top to bottom out of their own internal world-class product lines.
In this report, we’ll examine first why HPE StoreOnce and Data Protector products are truly game changing on their own rights. Then, we will look at why they get even “better together” as a complete BURA solution that can be more flexibly deployed to meet backup challenges than any other solution in the market today.
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.