10 Hot New Hardware Products For Enterprise IT

Hardware Strikes Back

The software-defined data center may be all the rage, but plenty of vendors are proving there's still a place in the business world for innovative hardware -- provided that the hardware is paired with sophisticated software, of course. Last week, CRN took a look at 10 of the newest software products that are changing enterprise IT, and here we'll be doing the same for the world of hardware. What follows are 10 hardware products, all of which have been unveiled since February, that are moving the enterprise data center into the future. Recurring themes include all-flash, hyper-convergence and next-gen switching.

Here are 10 of the newest hardware products changing IT that solution providers should know about.

Arista 7500R Series

This new line of modular switches from Arista Networks introduced a new architecture with a snazzy name -- Universal Spine -- in March. What that means is that Arista wants its new hardware to serve as the nerve center for next-generation networks, whether for cloud service providers or enterprise data centers. The system comes with 115 terabytes-a-second fabric and up to 432 100GB Ethernet ports (for the top-of-the-line 7512R switch) for high performance. The system also combines routing with its switching -- marking Arista's first foray into routing -- with new FlexRoute software that can accommodate up to 1 million internet routes.

Barefoot Tofino

If Barefoot Networks is right, the concept of software-defined networking should extend all the way down to the level of switching chips. Their Tofino chips are the world's first "fully user-programmable" switching chips; that is, the chips themselves can be programmed to the liking of the network owner, meaning that networks can be much more finely tuned to their specific processing needs. The bottom line, according to Barefoot Networks, is that Tofino allows "network designers and architects to create the features they need in their own networks" while "making those features transportable across different switching systems."

Cisco Tetration

As CRN's Mark Haranas reported in June, Cisco's new Tetration Analytics platform aims to provide more intelligence about what's going on inside a data center -- network flows and application insights, for instance -- to enable companies to more quickly shift to software-defined networking. But to get to this software-defined future, customers will still need some hardware sensors to help Tetration do its thing. The first iteration of Tetration will be deployed by channel partners as a full-stack appliance, starting in July.

EMC Unity

Unity -- which includes both all-flash and hybrid flash versions -- is aimed at delivering "order-of-magnitude leaps in performance and simplicity" for storage, EMC said when it launched the product in May. At EMC Platinum partner Presidio, Chief Technology Officer Vinu Thomas agrees with that appraisal. Unity is "massively simplified" compared with previous products by bringing together support for both file and block protocols, he said. Meanwhile, customers that have deployed Unity so far are "definitely seeing an improvement in performance," Thomas said. "The whole Unity architecture is built from the ground up. … It is an absolute dramatic shift."

HPE ProLiant Gen9

Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- aka, the world's market-share leader on servers, according to researcher IDC -- made some big upgrades to two of its servers in March, aimed at more easily connecting on-premise data centers to the cloud. The updated ProLiant DL360 and ProLiant DL380 servers feature new capabilities around management, security and storage to that effect, HPE told CRN's Joseph Kovar. The company said the ninth-generation ProLiant servers also include boosted performance via Intel's newest Broadwell processor, the Xeon E5-2600 v4.

Nimble AF-Series

Nimble Storage in February launched an all-flash storage array for the first time, the Nimble AF-Series -- and as CRN's Joseph Kovar reported at the time, the arrays include the InfoSight predictive analytics technology that Nimble has made its name on with hybrid flash arrays. That technology aims to enable Nimble customers to better manage their storage -- and better prevent downtime -- in addition to providing the fast performance that flash is known for, according to the company.

Pure Storage FlashBlade

In March, Pure Storage said that its newest architecture will mean all-flash is no longer just about the structured data universe of databases, applications and virtual machines. FlashBlade, which will be available in the second half of 2016, aims to make all-flash storage capable of handling unstructured data in high-performance fashion, too. That holds the promise of opening up all-flash performance for analysis of the majority of the "big data" being generated today, according to Pure Storage.

Scale Computing HC1150

The benefits of flash storage shouldn't just be for well-heeled large enterprises, according to Scale Computing, which in June launched the HC1150 flash solution targeted for small and medium-size enterprises. The company said the hyper-converged storage, server and virtualization appliance aims to provide an ultra-efficient use of RAM and other system resources for enterprises on the smaller end of the spectrum -- enabling them to free up precious storage and compute resources for adding virtual machines.

SimpliVity OmniCube CN-1400

In June, hyper-converged infrastructure up-and-comer SimpliVity extended its rack-mounted OmniCube -- which combines server, storage and storage networking -- to customers with remote offices. The OmniCube CN-1400, which is targeted for enterprise and midmarket customers, aims to make it easier to run a remote site by freeing companies from having to provide on-site IT staff. The product enables remote management of IT infrastructure -- with an emphasis on providing data protection over the wide area network (WAN) links that are already in place.

Tegile IntelliFlash HD

In February, Tegile Systems debuted its new flash-driven storage array, IntelliFlash HD, through the company's channel partner network. IntelliFlash HD brings the ability to "hyper-consolidate" a mixture of workloads within a single storage array, Tegile said -- which should serve as a good match for Fortune 1000 enterprises that are looking for an affordably priced solution that still delivers strong performance.