The Power Of One: New Converged Infrastructure Solutions

The Next Generation

Converged infrastructure, which combine server, storage, networking and/or virtualization resources so they can be managed as a single solution, is a fast-growing part of the corporate data center. Gartner in June estimated the market for "integrated systems," which is its term for converged infrastructure, will grow more than 50 percent in 2014 over 2013 to reach $6 billion.

It has become a market targeted by a growing list of vendors ranging from heavyweights like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Oracle to startups like SimpliVity and Nutanix.

Here's the scoop on 12 offerings from the first half of this year.

Dell PowerEdge VRTX

Dell’s PowerEdge VRTX, which the company calls the first integrated IT converged solution designed specifically for remote- and small-office environments, in April was enhanced with new capabilities including the addition of a second RAID to eliminate a single point of failure; additional server node choices for memory-intensive applications; enhanced tools to manage local or remote VRTX systems, and expanded support for virtual desktops via optional graphical processing units.

Dell in July also unveiled a relationship with Nutanix under which it is reselling the Nutanix solution through its direct and indirect channels while preparing an OEM version featuring Nutanix software running on a Dell server.

Fujitsu vShape

The Fujitsu vShape, released in February by Fujitsu, offers a simple, scalable virtualization solution using industry-standard components including NetApp storage, Brocade networking and VMware virtualization technology, all running on Fujitsu Primergy servers.

The vShape solutions start small with a configuration for as few as 25 virtual servers, and scales from there as needed. vShape offers easy ordering, standard maintenance for all components, and one single point of contact for the complete solution. Fujitsu claims the vShape's deployment time can be measured in hours, not days.

Hitachi Unified Compute Platform

The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) from Hitachi Data Systems in April was updated to provide the foundation of an IT infrastructure that can adapt to continuously changing business needs without disruption. The UCP now features new entry-level configurations for VMware vSphere. Its Unified Compute Director software also was enhanced with increased capabilities, including server profiling for simplified provisioning and enhanced disaster recovery integration.

UCP combines best-of-breed storage, server, networking and software management in fully integrated packages designed for mission-critical workloads. HDS' converged infrastructure offering relies on comprehensive, pretested cloud-ready infrastructure that can be deployed quickly and managed easily.

HP ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA

The HP ConvergedSystem for SAP HANA is a comprehensive in-memory optimized solution for running large mission-critical SAP HANA platform-based workloads while helping clients speed problem resolution and improve response time to business demands. Two models were released in June. The HP ConvergedSystem 500 for SAP HANA, based on the latest Intel Xeon architecture, is purpose-built for analytics and data warehousing workloads. The HP ConvergedSystem 900 for SAP HANA delivers up to 12 TB of data in a single memory pool to power the most mission-critical business applications. Both are available for on-premise, hosted and cloud environments to provide automated, uninterrupted failover for SAP HANA.

Nimble Storage SmartStack For Desktop And Server Virtualization

The SmartStack for Desktop and Server Virtualization from Nimble Storage, released in February, leverages Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), Nimble Storage CS-Series arrays, VMware vSphere and VMware Horizon View technology to eliminate the guesswork involved in planning, sizing and provisioning infrastructure for desktop and server virtualization.

SmartStack integration services are offered through Avnet, including rack, cable and preconfiguration of Cisco UCS with Nimble Storage arrays. This offers channel partners and customers a faster time to deployment, and a consistent level of quality integration, Nimble Storage said.

Nimboxx AU-110

The AU-110 from Nimboxx is an all-in-one hyper-converged infrastructure solution that combines servers, storage, networking and security with mesh-based scale-out, dynamic resource orchestration and self-balancing workloads. The solution, released in June when Nimboxx came out of stealth mode, also provides dynamic adaptation to cache and storage changes based on multidimensional workload analyses.

Deployments can start with a single node and scale to hundreds. The Nimboxx Mesh Operating System (MeshOS) installs on bare metal and allows for direct control over all hardware resources. MeshOS also offers a RESTful API for integration with third-party applications.

Nutanix Operating System (NOS) 4.0

The Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure solution consists of its Nutanix Operating System (NOS) running on commodity hardware. The company in April released NOS 4.0. Included in the new release is MapReduce post-process deduplication capability to significantly boost the effective capacity of a cluster, tunable redundancy to allow configuration of different degrees of fault tolerance, integrated data protection including local backups and remote replication, the ability to manage multiple Nutanix clusters across multiple locations, and Cluster Health for end-to-end visibility of virtual machines, nodes and disks in a cluster.

Oracle: New Turnkey Solution For Consolidating Data Center Workloads

Oracle in June unveiled the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, the latest in its series of converged infrastructure solutions, or 'engineered systems," in Oracle-speak.

The Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, designed to help customers get Oracle and third-party applications or services up and running with minimal time spent on provisioning and configuration, streamlines application and service deployments via Oracle VM templates for more than 100 Oracle software packages.

Compute nodes for the solution include Oracle's Sun Server X4-2 Xeon processor-based systems running Oracle VM Server for x86 for server virtualization. They connect to the Oracle ZFS Storage ZS3-ES for centrally storing the management environment, and provide data storage for virtual machines.

SimpliVity OmniCube

SimpliVity last year entered the hyper-converged infrastructure market with its OmniCube.

SimpliVity’s OmniCube data architecture includes what the company calls a Data Virtualization Platform that tracks what data belongs to which virtual machine and enabling virtual machine mobility. The 2U OmniCube also uses deduplication, compression and optimization of data at inception to ensure efficient storage. Also included is integrated data protection, including built-in virtual machine backup and data replication between primary and disaster recovery sites.

Two or more OmniCube systems networked together form an OmniCube Global Federation, a scalable pool of shared resources.

SolidFire Agile Infrastructure

On May 13, all-flash storage system designer SolidFire released its first Agile Infrastructure reference architecture for OpenStack. SolidFire AI is a prevalidated, converged infrastructure design that enables start-to-finish deployment of an OpenStack cloud infrastructure in less than one hour, through the combination of industry-leading compute, networking, orchestration and all-flash storage technologies. SolidFire said it expects the reference architecture to be rolled out with additional orchestration software in the near future.

Unisys Forward

Unisys, better known for its mainframe technology, late last year unveiled its Forward by Unisys platform, which targets future software-defined data centers with a software-based fabric architecture connecting computing resources and components through high-speed interconnects.

Forward, which in June was updated with Intel Xeon E7 processors, features Unisys secure partitioning (s-Par) software to manage workloads and create a secure "container" of dedicated resources including processing, memory and I/O for each application. Forward is targeted at Unix-to-Linux and Windows migration, secure cloud and big data workloads, ERP applications, and data center consolidation.

VCE Vblock System 340

The latest addition to the Vblock 300 family, the Vblock System 340 from the EMC, Cisco and VMware joint venture VCE, is a highly scalable system for rapid deployment or expansion of virtualized data centers, cloud environments, and service provider implementations. The 340 System handles a wide array of individual or mixed workloads including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Microsoft Exchange 2010, Oracle and SAP enterprise applications, and vertical industry solutions. The Vblock 340 includes no single point of failure, and offers advanced data protection as well as inline deduplication that allows for more efficient use of storage resources.