Table of Contents
Hyperconvergence has quickly become a popular option for IT infrastructures, no matter the size of the company or the industry in which it operates. Users like the simplicity and cloud-like experience offered by most advanced solutions. Moreover, several vendors are now working on solutions that keep the user experience similar across multiple environments, including major public cloud platforms, to help customers reach their hybrid and multi-cloud goals.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solutions for large enterprise deployments and those specifically designed to address small-to-medium enterprise (SME) and edge use cases share most core characteristics. The main differences between them can be found in two significant areas:
- Minimum cluster size and high efficiency with small configurations. The minimum size of the cluster is very important for many organizations. Often, users just want to run a bunch of VMs in a remote site or branch office, and they want the best availability at the lowest cost. For such users, HCI vendors needed to create specialized solutions that can start very small, often with just two or three tiny nodes, while maintaining the resources necessary to run applications.
- Tools to manage a large number of small sites. Edge infrastructure can be very challenging to maintain, with up to thousands of sites running business-critical applications. Monitoring, automation, data protection, disaster recovery, and ease of deployment are critical factors and need to be addressed with specific tools to provide a good user experience and overall low TCO.
With this in mind, it is clear that both edge and SME HCI differ from standard enterprise deployments, which are not limited by available cluster resources and are deployed in a relatively small number of large installations. It is interesting to note that HCI solutions designed for edge use cases are often chosen by MSPs to provide remote or on-premises managed infrastructures for their customers.
Thus, users looking for HCI at the edge need to pay attention to key criteria like edge-core-cloud integration, automation, analytics, and data protection services, keeping in mind that the most important evaluation metrics in this case are flexibility and efficiency. In SME scenarios, by contrast, the full spectrum of key criteria and evaluation metrics are more important but, because of the size of the infrastructure and the type of applications usually found in these types of environments, scalability and Kubernetes support are less relevant.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.