The 10 Coolest Hyper-Converged Products Of 2016

Hot In Hyper-Converged

2016 saw the industry's top legacy vendors jump into the hyper-convergence fray, bringing with them the well-oiled sales machines and hardware expertise that could make hyper-convergence the fastest growing and most powerful technology in the industry.

Hyper-convergence sales have been growing at a double-digit clip, and legacy vendors were busy trying to partner with the darlings of the market, including Nutanix and SimpliVity, while also developing offerings of their own.

Vendors also have been trying to push hyper-convergence into new markets, moving it from web-scale and large enterprise companies and into small and midsize businesses. Click through to see 10 of the coolest hyper-converged products of the year.

DellEMC VxRail

EMC made a splash in February with the launch of VxRail, an integrated hyper-converged infrastructure offering specifically for VMware environments. VxRail appliances bring together EMC's data services and systems management capabilities with VMware’s hyper-converged software -- including VMware vSphere, vCenter Server and VMware Virtual SAN -- in a single product family with one point of support. And now that EMC and Dell have merged, the VxRail line will run on Dell FX series servers. The VxRail appliances are available in hybrid storage or all-flash versions, and come loaded with integrated EMC mission-critical data services including replication, backup and cloud tiering at no additional charge. The company also is touting the ease of integration between VxRail and other EMC offerings, including EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, Virtual SAN active-active stretch clusters and vSphere Data Protection.

Lenovo Converged HX Series

The HX series is Lenovo's Nutanix-based hyper-convergence solution, and it aims to bring compute, storage and virtualization resources into a single enterprise appliance. The series was designed to rapidly scale to meet the needs of businesses from small and midsize to enterprise IT departments. Lenovo introduced three models in the HX Series in January. The HX7500 targets high-performance workloads such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and databases such as Microsoft SQL Server with higher-end processors, four SSDs and 20 2.5-inch HDDs. The HX5500 targets storage-heavy workloads such as file servers, Splunk and data center backups with up to 36 TB of capacity. The HX3500 targets compute-heavy environments with a mix of two SSDs and six 2.5-inch HDDs.

Cisco HyperFlex

Cisco Systems made a big splash with the introduction of its first hyper-converged infrastructure offering, HyperFlex, which the company said can be up and running in less than an hour and combines Cisco UCS servers, Cisco networking and software-defined storage technology from SpringPath. HyperFlex comes in a pre-integrated cluster that scales resources independently.The Cisco HX Data Platform Controller combines the entire cluster’s SSDs and spinning disks into a single, distributed, multitier, object-based data store featuring real-time, always-on deduplication and compression to help cut storage costs by up to 80 percent without affecting performance. It also includes enterprise-class data management features, such as snapshots, thin provisioning and smart cloning.

Lenovo, Nutanix Xpress

Again teaming with Nutanix, Lenovo made a push into the small- and midsize-business market with its HX series appliance teamed with Nutanix Xpress software. The expansion is based on Lenovo's HX2000 Series of hyper-converged appliances developed in conjunction with Nutanix, and they run Nutanix's Xpress software. The offering teams Nutanix Xpress with Lenovo servers, networking and storage in a 2U form factor starting with a two-node offering. The HX2000 line backs up to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds, or on-premise.

Nutanix Acropolis

On another front, Nutanix signaled that it is prepared to do hypervisor battle with virtualization leadern VMware. Early in the year, Nutanix updated its Acropolis scale-out data fabric for storage, compute and virtualization with more than 25 enhancements to increase system performance by up to four times compared with earlier versions. The software powers up to 30,000 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes in 8U of rack space. When used with the NX-9060-G4 all-flash appliance, which can be configured with up to six 1.6-TB SSDs and up to 512 GB of memory across four nodes, Nutanix Acropolis can provide more than 1 million storage IOPS in 4U of data center space, the company said.

SimpliVity OmniStack 3.5

With several enhancements, SimpliVity made its OmniStack 3.5 more productive with greater availability and better risk protection for mid-ize and large enterprises. OmniStack 3.5 is the latest iteration of the software behind SimpliVity’s hyper-converged offerings and its OmniView web-based support dashboard. In addition to the updates, SimpliVity began offering OmniStack for Hyper-V, which is supported on Microsoft Windows Server 2016, and gives enterprises with mixed hypervisor environments more deployment and management options.

Scale Computing HC3

Scale Computing’s HC3 and its HyperCore architecture aim to provide highly available and scalable compute and storage services via intelligent software automation and architecture simplification. Rather than using a virtual storage appliance, Scale Computing’s HC3 integrates storage within the kernel to streamline the I/O path for virtual machines while decreasing the required hardware resources, the company said. HyperCore puts intelligence and automation in the software layer to take advantage of low-cost commodity hardware components. These components are clustered together into a single unified and redundant system to operate similar to a redundant and elastic private cloud, with additional nodes automatically incorporated into the cluster.

Atlantis HyperScale CX-4

The Atlantis HyperScale CX-4 appliance from Atlantis Computing is a two-node hyper-converged system integrated with compute, all-flash storage, networking and virtualization for remote and branch offices and small data centers. In January, Atlantis added the Dell FX2 server to its roster of platforms for its CX-4 system. Atlantis' all-flash hyper-converged buyers can now choose to purchase Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo or Cisco products as well as an Atlantis-branded server from Super Micro -- all sold 100 percent through the channel.


Cloudistics is the latest to break into the so-called super-converged space with a scalable, modular offering that includes network, storage, compute, virtualization and management in a single platform. The benefit, Cloudistics said, is TCO that's half that of traditional hyper-convergence offerings because the Cloudistics offering includes network virtualization and the ability to scale compute, storage and network independent of each other. The Cloudistics platform is plug-and-play and includes all the hardware and software customers need.

Cohesity C2000 Series

Cohesity was founded by Mohit Aron, a Google veteran and co-founder of Nutanix, one of the startup darlings of the hyper-convergence market. Cohesity's C2000 appliance is the building block for the Cohesity Data Platform and includes compute, flash storage and HDD capacity intended to consolidate secondary data and handle secondary workflow. The C2500 can be had with up to 96 TB of capacity. Cohesity offers "pay-as-you-grow" flexibility and "always-on" availability, the company said.