Another Year of Opportunities as Hardware Makes a Grand Comeback

03-Apr-2019 01:09 PM

Posted by Prashanth GJ, CEO, Technobind

Data centers, over the years, have gone through colossal transformations. Companies are investing billions of dollars on modernizing their infrastructure to meet the emerging needs. While all of this has resulted in more robust and comprehensive environments, one inevitable outcome was increasing complexities and cost.

In this last few years, we have seen how Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) has transpired as a preferred option to navigate these challenges. HCI marked a shift from the legacy hardware-defined systems to a more flexible, scalable and intelligent software-defined infrastructure.

As we step into another critical financial year, I think data center and HCI will remain strategic areas of investment for organizations. Globally, the HCI market size is expected to reach USD 17.1 billion by 2023, growing at an impressive CAGR of more than 30 percent.

What’s changing?

HCI is touted as the most effective solution to simplify data center operations today. However, many organizations, over a period of time have come to realize that HCI doesn’t always offer the kind of cost efficiencies it initially promises—especially the pre-integrated hardware and software bundle delivered as branded appliances.

This model, in which the customer buys a pre-built ‘black box’, significantly limits the user’s choice and to a large extent, the cost savings associated with the hardware component. The hardware that comes with such out-of-box solutions are not always the best suitable or cost-effective option for many organizations. It also limits the organization’s ability to leverage existing infrastructure and investments and forces them to pay again for both hardware and software at the time of HCI refresh.

Quite clearly, customers are now rethinking - why are we paying a premium for the hardware, in a completely software-defined model? And why are we getting into another vicious cycle of vendor lock-in? These are questions that will steer a clear shift in customers’ buying decisions in the next one year.

Software-only HCI solutions are increasingly becoming a great alternative here. It allows customers to choose the most suitable and cost-effective hardware for their HCI deployments. This ‘bring your own hardware’ model is going to be a potential gamechanger in the HCI market.

Great partner play

A Gartner analyst recently stated that data centers will be dead soon, emphasizing that 80 percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centers by 2025. Many industry experts came forward to challenge the statement and said why data centers will continue to be of great value.

I think, data centers will not cease to exist, rather they would get smarter, efficient and smaller—thanks to new innovations on the hardware and software fronts.

In fact, I would call this the comeback of hardware to the data centres. Because hardware will provide the critical differentiator, offering huge cost savings and eliminating complexities.

If you go by statistics, the Indian data center market is expected to reach values of approximately $4 billion by 2024, growing at a healthy rate of close to 10 percent.

This is why we are highly optimistic about our recent partnership with Supermicro, the global leader in in enterprise computing, storage, networking solutions and green computing technology. Companies will gradually shift to the ‘soft appliance’ model and the hardware will once again become the deal maker for partners.

The ability to offer the right hardware for today’s critical HCI deployments will open up new doors of opportunity for solution providers. Not just that, greater adoption of AI, IoT and big data will further fuel the need for compute-intensive solutions in the data center. And hardware will continue to play a critical role going forward.