The 10 Coolest Hyper-Converged Products Of 2017


It is difficult to point to a part of the IT industry that's growing and changing as rapidly as the market for hyper-converged infrastructure.

And while seemingly every vendor on the planet appears to be angling for a slice of the red-hot hyper-converged infrastructure market, it also seems as if the number of strategies being employed is growing by the day.

For example, while some vendors, including Lenovo and HPE, introduced hyper-converged infrastructure appliances this year, others, like Nutanix did not, and instead introduced new ways to adopt hyper-convergence in the cloud.

Storage vendor NetApp introduced its first hyper-converged solution this year, also, focusing on its SolidFire all-flash storage solution.

The variety of approaches in a growing market makes CRN's round up of the 10 coolest hyper-converged products of the year a must-read list.

Get more of CRN's 2017 tech year in review.

Cisco HyperFlex

The latest version of Cisco's UCS-based HyperFlex solution, HyperFlex 2.5, seeks to simplify management and orchestration while allowing those tasks to be performed from any device. Cisco also increased the capacity of its all-flash nodes for better performance and better management of resources. The latest version of HyperFlex also boasts the performance customers need to take hyper-convergence beyond VDI and server virtualization and into more demanding, data-intensive workloads, the company said. HyperFlex 2.5 also includes data-at-rest security options using self-encrypting drives.

Dell EMC VxRail

Dell EMC's VxRail is selling at a blistering pace since it began shipping with the latest version of the company's venerable PowerEdge server late this summer. The company says the VxRail appliance offers the flexibility for customers to choose the performance, capacity and graphics capabilities that best fit their needs, as well as significantly lower installation and upgrade costs and total cost of ownership compared to competing solutions. The latest version of VxRail, VxRail 4.5, includes automation and lifecycle management for VMware vSAN and vShpere. VxRail is co-designed and built with VMware and is offered in five configurations for general purpose to storage-dense and high-performance uses.

HPE SimpliVity 380

HPE early this year acquired SimpliVity, which along with Nutanix was one of the start-up darlings of the hyper-convergence market. The HPE SimpliVity 380 brings SimpliVity's OmniStack software together with compute, storage and networking in HPE's ProLiant DL380 server. The solution is available in three versions and can be clustered to build a shared resource pool that is highly available, mobile and able to scale performance and capacity. The company is so confident in the solution's abilities that it is offering a guarantee that promises customers 90 percent capacity savings across storage and back-up combined compared to traditional solutions.

Lenovo ThinkAgile SX Series For Nutanix

Lenovo rebranded its data center product line mid-year, unveiling a ThinkSystem brand for hardware and a ThinkAgile brand for software-defined uses. The ThinkAgile SX for Nutanix is a turnkey hyper-converged rack-scale offering that combines Lenovo's ThinkAgile HX appliance and Lenovo networking with Nutanix's software stack. It comes pre-integrated, racked, wired and provisioned. The SX also features Lenovo's ThinkAgile Network Orchestrator and Lenovo XClarity, which works with Nutanix Prism to simplify management, service and support.

NetApp HCI

With an eye toward customers from enterprises to midsize businesses to service providers, the NetApp HCI, the first hyper-converged infrastructure offering from all-flash storage vendor NetApp, allows users to scale storage and compute resources independently and automate management. Users can also access any cloud and integrate with a variety of vendors like Commvault, Intel, MongoDB Enterprise, Veeam and VMware. The solution is based on NetApp's SolidFire all-flash storage technology, and the company says it offers greater performance for next-generation applications.

Pivot3 Acuity

Pivot3's Acuity solution gives customers the ability to consolidate multiple workloads from multiple applications into a single infrastructure. The company says Acuity is the industry's first priority-aware and policy-based hyper-convergence offering with NVMe PCIe flash and includes what the company calls a "quality of service" engine designed to maintain performance and data protection policies. The solution also contains automatic workload prioritization, real-time multi-tier data placement, self-management and a policy scheduler, making it a natural for databases, enterprise application, business analytics and VDI.

Scale Computing's HC1150DF and HC5150D

Scale Computing launched two new appliances this year, the HC1150DF and the HC5150D. Scale concentrates on providing huge value to mid-market customers, and the two new appliances boast big increases in flash storage, as well as overall improvements in storage capacity. The HC5150D, for example, has 77 TB of hybrid flash storage, three times the capacity of the HC1150DF. The new appliances run on the latest version of Scale's HyperCore software.

Sphere 3D HVE ConneXions

"MSRP" means something quite different to the folks at Sphere 3D. The company's Manageable, Scalable, Reproducible and Predictable architecture forms the base of the company's hyper-converged appliances, which are aimed at simplifying application and workload deployments. The HVE lineup runs on VMware vSAN and can be configured with all SSD or NVMe storage. The HVE solution offers VDI nodes and customers can deploy VDI for small businesses and branch offices using HVE's Desktop Cloud Orchestrator.

Supermicro HCI Solutions SYS-1028U-S2D

Supermicro's SYS-1028U-S2D solution was introduced about mid-year and distinguishes itself from other hyper-convergence solutions with its pre-validated, dense, all-NVMe platform that runs on Windows Storage Spaces Direct. The Microsoft-certified solution includes four 1U Supermicro servers with all the software licenses and hardware to support up to 40 virtual machines per node. Nodes include dual Intel Xeon 5-2600 processors, 128 GB of DDR4 memory and offer more than 3 million IOPs.

VMware vSAN 6.6

VMware's vSAN storage virtualization software looms large over the hyper-convergence market, and its latest release, vSAN 6.6 includes native software-defined, data-at-rest encryption. The system has also been updated to help streamline hardware selection and includes a non-disruptive assessment tool to help evaluate workloads.