Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, as part of an effort to become more competitive in the red hot hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market, announced this week that it is acquiring SimpliVity for $650 million in cash.
SimpliVity first emerged as a provider of HCI software that could be deployed on any system. It then made available its own hardware platform based on x86 servers as an option. Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for converged data infrastructure at HPE, says HPE will continue to support all existing instances of SimpliVity until such time as HPE can migrate those customers to HPE Proliant servers.
HPE already offers its own HCI platforms. Miller says the HPE OneView software that was used to create those systems will be integrated with the SimpliVity software to create one offering in the months following the official closing of the acquisition later this year.
Miller notes that SimpliVity has been gaining traction because in addition to providing HCI systems that tightly couple compute and storage, SimpliVity also included data protection, data deduplication and compression software in the core platform. That approach significantly reduces the total cost of acquiring IT infrastructure as well as operating it.
While adoption of HCI systems has been rapid, Miller says HPE views HCI as part of a spectrum of systems that IT organizations will require. HPE, says Miller, under the framework of its composable infrastructure architecture, plans to make it simpler for IT organizations to move application workloads between HCI systems and traditional rack-based platforms that rely of storage area networks (SANs).
“As the application workloads requirements change, you’ll be able to move workloads back and forth as necessary,” says Miller.
According to 451 Research, over 40 percent of the IT market has already invested in HCI platforms. HPE is reporting that the HCI market is already worth approximately $2.4 billion in 2016, and is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent, to nearly $6 billion by 2020.
Competition across the entire HCI category at this juncture is nothing less than fierce. Every major IT infrastructure vendor has either developed its own HCI platform or is reselling one developed by someone else. In some cases, vendors are doing both. Regardless of how IT organizations approach HCI, most of them will at some point wind up deploying an HCI platform. In fact, at this point, it’s not so much a question of if as much as it is what percentage of the overall workload really lends itself to be deployed on HCI platforms that uniformly scale out both compute and storage.