Last week I was talking to a customer and they posed some interesting questions. What excites me in IT (why I work for VMware) and what is next for hyper-converged? I thought they were interesting questions and very relevant. I am guessing many customers have that same question (what is next for hyper-converged that is). They see this shiny thing out there called hyper-converged, but if I take those steps where does the journey end? I truly believe that those who went the hyper-converged route simply took the first steps on an SDDC journey.
Hyper-converged I think is a term which was hyped and over-used, just like “cloud” a couple of years ago. Lets breakdown what it truly is: hardware + software. Nothing really groundbreaking. It is different in terms of how it is delivered. Sure, it is a different architectural approach as you utilize a software based / server side scale-out storage solution which sits within the hypervisor (or on top for that matter). Still, that hypervisor is something you were already using (most likely), and I am sure that “hardware” isn’t new either. Than the storage aspect must be the big differentiator right? Wrong, the fundamental difference, in my opinion, is how you manage the environment and the way it is delivered and supported. But does it really need to stop there or is there more?
There definitely is much more if you ask me. That is one thing that has always surprised me. Many see hyper-converged as a complete solution, reality is though that in many cases essential parts are missing. Networking, security, automation/orchestration engines, logging/analytic engines, BC/DR (and orchestration of it) etc. Many different aspects and components which seem to be overlooked. Just look at networking, even including a switch is not something you see to often, and what about the configuration of a switch, or overlay networks, firewalls / load-balancers. It all appears not to be a part of hyper-converged systems. Funny thing is though, if you are going on a software defined journey, if you want an enterprise grade private cloud that allows you to scale in a secure but agile manner these components are a requirement, you cannot go without them. You cannot extend your private cloud to the public cloud without any type of security in place, and one would assume that you would like to orchestrate every thing from that same platform and have the same networking / security capabilities to your disposal both private and public.
That is why I was so excited about the VMworld US keynote. Cross Cloud Services on top of hyper-converged leveraging all the tools VMware provides today (vSphere, VSAN, NSX) will exactly allow you to do what I describe above. Whether that is to IBM, vCloud Air or any other of the mega clouds listed in the slide below is even besides the point. Extending your datacenter services in to public clouds is what we have been talking about for a while, this hybrid approach which could bring (dare I say) elasticity. This is a fundamental aspect of SDDC, of which a hyper-converged architecture is simply a key pillar.
Hyper-converged by itself does not make a private cloud. Hyper-converged does not deliver a full SDDC stack, it is a great step in to the right direction however. But before you take that (necessary) hyper-converged step ask yourself what is next on the journey to SDDC. Networking? Security? Automation/Orchestration? Logging? Monitoring? Analytics? Hybridity? Who can help you reach full potential, who can help you take those next steps? That’s what excites me, that is why I work for VMware. I believe we have a great opportunity here as we are the only company who holds all the pieces to the SDDC puzzle. And with regards to what is next? Deliver all of that in an easy to consume manner, that is what is next!
Joe Tietz says
Hyper-converged = ready made building blocks is a evolution of POD architecture with core of SDDC stack preloaded.
The power of this and power of VMware position is simple, vendor agnostic with common management layer for operations to grasp.
Aernoud van de Graaff says
For me hyper converged is not a storage solution, but an architectual approach where all the infra components (nw, storage, compute) are delivered from the same (simple) box, in a scaleout structure where you just add more boxes if you run out of resources and where the box is fully virtualized and the intelligence is not in the HW, but the SW.
And I agree, that is not SDDC. Though it could be the basis for it. Add automation to mix and voila…
The next step, is to fully integrate the hardware.
I dream of a day I can log in to the console and be able to drill down to a physical switch, firewall, ADC, server, whatever. The entirety of the datacenter is centrally managed. This is where the large hosting providers are. They have built or augmented the tools to a point that all hardware is drop and go.
Take hyper-converged and add serious SDDC so that a single engineer could run the entire datacenter. i.e. I need to deploy system X with access to Y, Z, W. All virtual and physical objects are deployed/configured accordingly.
For me being Hyper-converged is the continued progression towards preloading the core of the SDDC stack with the architecture.
The entire data center is managed in one place and there are augmented tools that mean everything else deploys with a click of a button.
It is a brave new world 😉