Here's Who Made Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant For Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Enterprises Buying Into Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Enterprises are starting to place their bets on hyper-converged infrastructure as major system vendors begin to acquire startups or bundle servers with hyper-converged software offerings, according to Gartner's new 2018 Magic Quadrant for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

The IT research firm predicts that by 2020, 20 percent of business-critical applications currently deployed on three-tier IT infrastructure will transition to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). Gartner defines HCI as a scale-out software-integrated infrastructure that applies a modular approach to compute, networking and storage on standard hardware with unified management. Manufacturers can either build their own appliances using off-the-shelf infrastructure or partner with system vendors that package the software stack as an appliance. 2018 marks the first year that Gartner has published a hyper-converged infrastructure Magic Quadrant.

Hyper-converged Infrastructure Research Methodology

Gartner evaluated vendors who provide a software stack that includes software-defined compute, storage and networking with integrated services and management. Vendors must also deliver a the solution as a hardware appliance, as software-only for use on a reference architecture or use as-a-service in on-premise or public cloud infrastructure. Vendors need to have a minimum of 50 production HCI customers and achieved at least $10 million in bookings.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant ranks vendors on their ability to execute and completeness of vision and places them in four categories: Niche Players (low on vision and execution), Visionaries (good vision but low execution), Challengers (good execution but low vision) and Leaders (excelling in both vision and execution).

Here are the 12 vendors that made Gartner's first-ever Hyperconverged Infrastructure Magic Quadrant, along with Gartner's assessments of each company's strengths and weaknesses in the space.

Leader: Nutanix

With more than 7,800 HCI customers, the hyper-converged pioneer is a market leader excelling at raising the performance level of its solutions and continually adding scale and diverse deployments. Against much larger competitors like Dell EMC and HPE, which can underprice Nutanix, the vendor has positioned itself as having a best-of-breed strategy with software-defined HCI that is intelligence-based, multi-hypervisor and multi-cloud with unified management. Nutanix has partnered with a set of vendors as OEMs, such as Dell EMC and Lenovo, and is self-certified on others, including Cisco and HPE, to reduce friction.

Nutanix is the top-ranked leader in both execution and vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: The company delivers a robust management and self-service interface in Prism, AHV, Calm and a supporting cloud service through Xi Cloud services with integrated automation and intelligence. Nutanix also has high customer satisfaction and strong repeat sales and high node counts in large global enterprise accounts.

Weakness: Nutanix lacks the traditional infrastructure incumbency that enables its competitors to fit seamlessly into data centers. Gartner said the company needs to demonstrate greater product breadth, particularly in the low-end market.

Leader: Dell EMC

The infrastructure giant has a large product line marketed as hyper-converged systems aimed to meet diverse customer needs. Dell EMC's products include a turnkey appliance, VxRail, and a rack-scale software-defined solution, VxRack SDDC -- both of which are co-engineered with VMware. Its rack-scale offering VxRack FLEX is based on ScaleIO. Dell EMC also delivers Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Nodes, a validated server and software bundle, for ScaleIO products. Dell has been focused on integrating HCI products to function more effectively within its portfolio including Data Domain and CloudArray.

Dell EMC is ranked No. 2 in execution and No. 3 in vision on the Magic Quadrant.

Dell EMC

Strength: VxRail has seen solid market traction with thousands of nodes deployed for a diverse set of use cases thanks in part to its fully integrated support model with VMware. VxRack SDDC is considered a best-in-class rack-scale solution with integrated physical and virtual networking.

Weakness: Dell EMC's ScaleIO product line lacks key enterprise features -- such as replication, deduplication and native compression -- instead depending on external software. Additionally, the company's VxRail Manager cannot be used to manage multiple clusters.

Leader: VMware

The virtualization leader's software-defined storage vSAN product serves as the foundation of VMware's HCI software strategy. VMware also offers a comprehensive management suite, vCenter, and a network virtualization product, NSX, to round out its software-defined data center portfolio. VMware has a bundled per-VM pricing model for remote and branch office environments that includes both the vSphere and vSAN licenses together. The company leverages its software assets to deliver hyper-converged products that can be deployed on certified hardware components, as vSAN ReadyNode, turnkey appliances or as a rack-scale solution.

VMware is ranked No. 2 in vision and No. 3 in execution on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: VMware offers the broadest set of hyper-converged solutions either as a turnkey software appliance, a rack-scale software-defined data center solution -- VMware Cloud Foundation -- or as HCI as-a-service. The company's set of well-integrated software products in vSphere, vSAN and vCenter makes management and support simple for virtualization administrators.

Weakness: Data reduction features such as deduplication, compression and erasure coding are not available as part of the standard edition or the hybrid configuration. Several customers have reported problems to Gartner regarding the stability and performance of VMware's vSAN.

Leader: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise's primary hyper-converged offering is HPE SimpliVity, which began shipping after the company's acquisition of HCI specialist SimpliVity last year. Since completing the purchase, HPE has doubled the number of SimpliVity customers to more than 2,000 and released an all-flash ProLiant DL380 configuration. The SimpliVity offering is now driving 80 percent of the company's HCI revenue. HPE SimpliVity, managed by VMware vCenter, is based on a software-defined scale-out storage architecture that can scale from a single node to eight clustered nodes plus an additional 16 network-only nodes. HPE offers 25 preconfigured hardware SKUs for the SimpliVity 380 product, with prices starting at $26,000.

HPE is ranked No. 4 in execution and No. 5 in vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: HPE SimpliVity delivers robust data services, such as in-line global compression and deduplication combined with an integrated backup solution and rapid disaster recovery capabilities for operational simplicity and cost reduction. HPE significantly enhanced SimpliVity's support and stability by leveraging its market reach and channel partners.

Weakness: HPE SimpliVity solutions are only available as all-flash configurations. SimpliVity is competing for mindshare and investment within a complex, overlapping portfolio of HPE hybrid IT, composable and other hyper-converged solutions that can lead to customer confusion regarding HPE's vision.

Challenger: Cisco

The networking giant leverages its Unified Computing System (UCS) as the platform for its HyperFlex HCI appliance solution. HyperFlex integrates UCS, UCS Manager and data and storage management software developed by Springpath, which Cisco acquired last year. Cisco has added all-flash versions and 40-Gbps fabric networking, an HTML5-based web GUI dubbed HyperFlex Connect, HyperFlex Edge for remote and branch offices, and can now support up to 32 compute and converged compute/storage nodes. Gartner expects Cisco to increase integration with its broad range of vertical-specific applications as well as increase its focus on SMB opportunities.

Cisco is ranked No. 5 in execution and among the middle of the pack in vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: Cisco is well-positioned to address internode networking challenges in HCI, which is one of the major performance constraints in the market. HyperFlex is supported by Cisco Intersight, a cloud-resident monitoring and management platform with embedded machine learning that provides predictive failure analysis, alerting and proactive problem resolution.

Weakness: Customers told Gartner that backup and disaster recovery are areas needing improvement for the HCI solution. Additionally, HyperFlex can be too costly for small remote and branch offices deployments.

Challenger: Huawei

Huawei's FusionCube includes storage, servers, Huawei's KVM-based and Xen-based FusionSphere hypervisors, as well as support for VMware and Hyper-V. The solution can be used for a broad range of applications, but is used mainly by midsize enterprises for high-density server-virtualized workloads, database and mission-critical applications, as well as hybrid cloud installations. It also integrates with AWS for backup, with plans for Azure and Azure Stack integration in the future. FusionCube's growth has been leveraged from the company's networking business in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

Huawei is ranked among the middle of the pack in both execution and vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: Huawei has built a strong foundation of ecosystem partners, including Oracle, SAP, VMware, Microsoft and Red Hat, enabling the company to penetrate new markets. FusionCube, while only newly positioned as HCI, is well-established and proven in Asia and EMEA across multiple verticals.

Weakness: The Chinese tech giant has limited market presence, third-party support, and certification for FusionCube and related products in North America. Some customers told Gartner that FusionCube lacks storage functions, such as deduplication, backup and recovery tool integration, as well as inconsistent management capabilities.

Challenger: Pivot3

With more than 1,900 customers, Pivot3 has been shipping HCI solutions since 2008. It offers its vSTAC and Acuity hyper-converged product lines. Acuity leverages storage technology gained from its 2016 acquisition of NexGen, designed to support mixed workloads in data centers and provide policy-based management controls to prioritize high-value applications. The company recently added data archiving and encryption for data at rest features to the solution. Pivot3 has established itself as a leading supplier of infrastructure appliances for the video surveillance and VDI markets.

Pivot3 is ranked among the middle of the pack in both execution and vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: Customers spoke highly to Gartner about Pivot3's pre- and post-sales support and ease of use. Acuity enables the vendor to support a broader range of customer workloads while providing a common infrastructure for both throughput and latency sensitive workloads.

Weakness: Customers identified to Gartner that API integration, logistics and reporting needs improvement. Gartner recommends that customers evaluate the depth of Pivot3 OEM relationships, as some partners offer multiple and sometimes competing offerings that could impact the long-term relationship.

Visionary: Stratoscale

Stratoscale offers its software-based hyper-converged solution Symphony with flexible hardware options. The software bridges a hybrid cloud ecosystem, delivering on-premises platforms while maintaining compatibility with public cloud. Symphony delivers AWS-compatible services and APIs, giving customers the ability to dynamically move workloads between on-premises Stratoscale infrastructures and AWS based on a predefined quota and policies. The company provides reference architectures with system providers including Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE, Lenovo and Supermicro.

Stratoscale is ranked among the middle of the pack in both execution and vision on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: Stratoscale has extended its offerings to address Mode 2 workloads, scale-out microservice applications and DevOps by adding Kubernetes as-a-Service and self-service consumption of cloud services. Its hardware-neutral solutions enable flexible and cost-optimized HCI platforms while avoiding vendor lock-in.

Weakness: Some IT leaders questioned Stratoscale's long-term viability to Gartner, given the competition with established public cloud options such as VMware Cloud on AWS or Microsoft's Azure Stack.

Visionary: Microsoft

For HCI, the software giant leverages it growing Windows server OS offering, which includes its storage virtualization product Storage Spaces. Microsoft's large install base gives the company the potential to convert a small percentage of the relatively untapped installed base of its Windows Server customers to Storage Spaces. Over the next year, Gartner expects Microsoft to increase its Windows Server and HCI migration with a broader range of integrated applications, as well as increased focus on cloud, mission-critical and remote and branch office opportunities, and additional Azure support and integration.

Microsoft is ranked No. 4 in vision and near the bottom of the pack in execution on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: Microsoft's HCI success is built on the sheer size of the Windows Server installed base, where even a small addressable market adoption for Storage Spaces represents success in the HCI on-premises market. With Azure, the company can target HCI for on-premises and off-premise.

Weakness: The vendor's decision to limit Storage Spaces Direct availability to Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition makes the offering too costly for scaled-down implementations. Microsoft is migrating many existing Windows applications to Azure, but cloud-native applications have been slower to move to Azure.

Niche Player: Scale Computing

With more than 2,5000 customers, Scale Computing's HC3 offering is designed for midsize businesses with limited IT resources and expertise. Scale is now delivered on a broad range of HC3 hardware models and allows customers to mix and match different nodes in a high-availability cluster that scales from three to eight HC3 nodes, with the ability to centrally manage up to 25 clusters using HC3's web-based user interface. HC3 is based on the HyperCore operating system, which includes an integrated KVM-based hypervisor and scale-out single storage pool featuring snapshots, cloning and automated tiering data services.

Scale Computing is ranked among the bottom of the pack in both execution and vision on the Magic Quadrant.

Scale Computing

Strength: Gartner said customers praised the product's ease of installation, management and support. Scale offers built-in and flexible disaster recovery as-a-service capabilities with continuous replication, robust failover and fail-back, as well as single-node disaster recovery site support.

Weakness: HCI lacks visibility among enterprise customers that limits adoption. HC3 hypervisor support is limited to its internally developed hypervisor, based on KVM, making it less attractive for customers that have chosen VMware or Microsoft hypervisors.

Niche Player: DataCore

DataCore provides software-defined storage infrastructure and storage virtualization with thousands of deployments, predominantly in North America and Europe. The company's Hyper-converged Virtual SAN, launched in 2014, is based on its 10th-generation DataCore SANsymphony product. DataCore software provides a broad set of data services, including storage virtualization, data protection, synchronous and asynchronous replication, deduplication and compression. DataCore is popular in distributed data centers and for SMBs, as it only requires two nodes for a high-availability, single-site or stretched-cluster configuration.

DataCore is ranked last in vision and among the bottom of the pack on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: DataCore's Hyper-converged Virtual SAN solution enables user to leverage and centrally manage direct-attach storage, external storage area networks and cloud storage. The company offers a robust set of data services and high-availability solutions.

Weakness: The company offers a software-only HCI solution without providing a fully integrated appliance, which often requires users to select and fine-tune hardware. Customers are often unaware of DataCore's hyper-converged product and strategy beyond software-defined storage.

Niche Player: HTBase

HTBase provides a composable infrastructure OS that abstracts resources from disparate hardware and public cloud vendors, creating a homogeneous resource pool that can be centrally managed. The OS and software layer enables organizations to run any workload on top of an intelligence infrastructure that adapts and allocates resources which bridge data centers and public clouds, enabling the migration of unmodified workloads to any cloud. Its Composable Operating System (COS) is hardware-agnostic, and allows IT departments to build and deliver applications and packages on it.

HTBase is ranked last in execution and among the bottom of the pack on the Magic Quadrant.


Strength: The company allows storage to span across multiple clouds as part of the storage pool, as well as part of failover and disaster recovery. Its hardware-agnostic capabilities eliminate hardware vendor lock-in.

Weakness: HTBase has limited market reach, brand recognition, global support, channel development and OEM partnerships. HTBase has demonstrated inconsistent marketing and is overly dependent on a few strong references that can confirm a significant ROI, according to Gartner.