Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is no longer a buzzword. It is fast becoming part and parcel of the data storage conversation, as enterprises seek alternatives to hard disk drives to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and simplify operations. According to IDC, worldwide converged systems market revenue increased 10.9% year over year to $3.9 billion during the second quarter of 2019 One of the key players in the HCI marketplace, Dell Technologies, is surging ahead with $533.2 million in revenue and a 29.2% share. In a recent interaction with CXOToday, Amit Mehta, Director, Modern Data Centre, Dell Technologies, explains what drives the HCI market and how Dell is working towards maintaining its strong position in the HCI market.
CXOToday: What according to you is driving HCI adoption in the large enterprise?
Amit Mehta: The first phase of HCI adoption was driven by VDI use case in large enterprises. Customers then moved from VDI to embracing HCI for tier 2 and tier 3 workloads in their datacenter. We are now poised at an interesting point where customers are moving their Tier 1 workloads like ERP , Databases , Analytics on to HCI. HCI is fast becoming the architecture of choice for driving consolidation of workloads in the datacenter and the foundational block for Hybrid Cloud/Multi Cloud architecture. Adoption of HCI reduces key metrics like Infrastructure provisioning time which enables faster time to market for key business initiatives. It also cuts down on operational flexibility in the datacenter as customer no longer need to manage lifecycle across storage, network and compute separately. It’s completely patch-managed, provisioned and updated by the click of a button in the HCI world.
Other key business initiatives that are driving HCI are the move to the world of agile software model with micro-services and containers being the new paradigm of how organizations write software. A lot of customers are writing software and leveraging HCI architecture for its agility and operational simplicity. For instance customers who have Microsoft as their vendor of choice can write test and dev code on Azure stack instance on premise and deploy production on Azure while having the same user experience and management across on-premise and off-premise.
CXOToday: How matured is the India market when it comes to HCI adoption? Where do you see maximum traction?
Amit Mehta: Globally, we are the market leader in HCI. We have got our portfolio right across the spectrum. Now specific to India, year on year growth of the external storage market is about 23%. Quarter on quarter is about 25%. The Indian external storage market has grown on the back of all the big initiatives taken across BFSI, telco, government and the e-commerce verticals.
The global and Indian HCI trends are similar but India appears to be ahead of the curve because it doesn’t have the same legacy. Also, the India data rates are the cheapest. Some of the telecom revolution and digital transformation trends are there due to no legacy and that’s why we are ahead of the adoption curve. Indians are also the ones who are transforming whether it is ITES or large IT companies they are transforming global companies, so they are embracing this trend faster. The government has also become a very emphatic player off late. There has been a push on data centers thanks to all these different schemes that the government is releasing. They are adopting cloud and pushing their departments to adopt cloud via MeitY approved vendors. After that there are disaster recovery centers which are based on HCI architecture. They are leveraging hybrid cloud. They are using Azure Stack, a hyper-converged infrastructure. National Informatics Centre (NIC) is a big adopter. Among our clients, of course IT companies are top implementers of HCI, but banks have started embracing hyper-convergence in their hybrid cloud infrastructure that includes large government and private banks. State governments are doing so in their modernization projects. Manufacturing and automotive sectors have also deployed hyper-convergence.
CXOToday: How has Dell been able to differentiate from its competition?
Amit Mehta: We believe that the only way to maintain leadership is by ensuring customer delight. We work closely with our customers to help them transform their IT thereby, helping them to increase their productivity, performance, scalability and also reducing the footprint in their data center through our HCI solution. Adoption of Hyper Converged technologies is no longer restricted to Non-Critical/perimeter workloads. HCI is slowly emerging in enterprise applications along with bringing new opportunities in the market. Our strength lies in the breadth of our portfolio. Customers can choose from simple appliances or rack scale ready-made end to end HCI based solution. In case of Hybrid clouds, customer can chose any Dell EMC platform to build their cloud, while at the same time, they can also buy complete solutions like EHC and Azure stack and cut deployment times into less than half. In addition to all this, the Dell technologies portfolio comprising VMware, pivotal etc. makes our solution more compelling for customers compared to others. We differentiate ourselves in packaging our solutions. Our solutions come with data protection, disaster recovery and data backup solutions in-built with lowest bandwidth utilization.
CXOToday: What’s in the offing in HCI from Dell’s kitty?
Amit Mehta: At Dell we help enterprises to transform the wide area network (WAN) edge, helping customers to modernize and evolve their WANs to handle the demanding requirements of a new, hybrid cloud world. For example, the new Dell EMC SD-WAN Edge powered by VMware is an integrated platform that helps improve the customer purchase experience by bundling VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud software as a subscription with Dell EMC hardware and a single support number.
Early this year, Dell announced VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell Technologies VxRaila – a fast and easy path to deploy and operate hybrid cloud through a fully integrated platform. VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail is lifecycle managed as one complete, automated, turnkey on-premises experience, greatly reducing risk and increasing IT operational efficiency. This tight integration facilitates smooth, rapid deployment and a simplified management experience while also delivering infrastructure agility that can accelerate your organization’s ability to offer IaaS and PaaS. Dell is counting on a new midrange storage array platform to push storage revenue in 2020.
CXOToday: Why do you think more Indian enterprises will go for HCI solution in the coming years?
Amit Mehta: HCI adoption has been on the rise in both the Indian and global markets. IDC sees a number of reasons for this. For one, HCI Is the best suited architecture for both hybrid and multi cloud. Other contributory factors are simplified DevOps, micro services, containers and the Wave 2 adoption for business critical applications on HCI. Indian enterprises are increasingly realizing these benefits and are increasingly looking at HCI solutions for their businesses. We, at Dell are also witnessing a complete data center migration from Tier 3 to HCI.
We now have the top HCI vendors present in India market, which will further fuel the growth of the market. Adoption of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure in India is expected to grow significantly as these systems can help address some of the key critical challenges. Datacenters have restrictions when it comes to scaling easily because of the legacy infrastructure and the related migration challenges. Organizations are fixing these scalability needs by adding resources but this process is getting complex. Organizations are also looking for complete open environment, so that they can plug n play the required resources without any integration challenges and be more flexible to organizational needs. These are some of the areas where HCI can simplify the process, improve performance, scalability and reduction in hardware footprint in Datacenters.