back to article When you play the game of HCI thrones, you win or you slowly shrivel up

Top dog Dell Technologies and second-placed Nutanix have more than half the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market cornered between them. greenlake Nutanix and HPE sitting in a Greenlake: That disavowed hookup has actually happened READ MORE HPE, Cisco and Netapp all have a single-digit share and virtually no prospect of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet ...

    ... they are making zero inroads into the enterprise or large commercial market. VxRail has serious performance issues and Dell/EMC immediately upsells Unity into those accounts. Nutanix has the same issues.

    What you are seeing is Nutanix and Vmware subsidizing the SMB and commercial market. Yes, the guys who will go into a multipartner multivendor bid to eek out $2,000 on a deal. Sure, so they saturated that market with no profitability in sight. Great strategy. In other words, they succeeded in buying themselves into the cheapo storage market, killing Tintri and other 3rd tier storage vendors.

    We will bookmark this article Chris and hold it up in a year or two.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet ...

      You're right...Dell EMC has LOTS of enterprise success with VxBlock/VBLock. However, don't count out what they have up their sleeves for VxRail. After all, Dell Tech World is right around the corner. Wouldn't be surprised if there's a solid enterprise offering for VxRail. How cool would it be if they put VCF on top, incorporated switching and made it rack-scale. Now that would be an enterprise game changer.

      You may not have to wait a year or two to check your bookmark...

    2. mandeep

      Re: And yet ...

      Zero inroads, are you serious? So firstly full disclosure, yes I'm in 'Kings Guard' with exposure of North American and UK markets. VxRail is doing phenomenal in Large Commercial and Enterprise the customer base and use cases are huge. In those ultra price sensitive and really small edge deployments we now have this nailed by having a robust 2 node deployment so the space occupied by the Scale Computings/Pivot is now covered.

      When you say 'subsidizing', the characterization is almost along the lines of anti-competitive. This isn't the case as the players in this space whether its traditional storage such as Pure or startup HCI players are all selling at a loss to buy customer share.

      You mention performance issues, suggest subsidizing as if some kind of big bully. The reality is the IT market isn't particularly forgiving of bad products/looking for a problem to solve. If you compare the scenario of MS trying to shove windows phones down everyone's throat's, the market voted iOS/Android for the reasons it did. The market is voting in droves VxRail because of the strength of the product, the ability of us to support it end to end, performance, simplicity, VMware everywhere etc...

      Dell EMC isn't winning because the product is cheap, its winning because its good, if you think its because its cheap, I think you're being a bit cynical as there's enough examples of great technology that has gone from zero to hero, taking on the incumbents and disrupting the market.

  2. jtaylor

    It's great that you're going to hold the author to account, but how will we know which anonymous coward to recognize for the above market insight?

  3. WYSIWYG650

    Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

    This use of data to try and predict the future is pretty weak use of the data. I remember when the Reg clamed that NetApp flash was dead.... A few years ago NetApp was 5th or 6th in market share and that was the data you used at the time. Now we have a similar slow start and a similar dramatic response. If NetApp gets traction with HCI like it did with All Flash...you will have to change your tune. NetApp is #2 in all Flash, and with EMC completely fork lift refreshing its entire line up, it would not be hard to see NetApp taking #1. Nutanix and VSAN have hit the scaling wall and will not be able to continue growning at this pace until they figure out how to run Enterprise applications and not just SMB and ROBO use cases. I know many of the Nutanix and VSAN folks will reply back saying how wrong I am, but to that I would say, we may have different definitions for what "enterprise scale" is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

      Cisco is the one to watch. I am getting a feeling like back in the day with UCS. Hearing a lot of rumbling lately and something’s definitely up, I just don’t know what it is.

      Of course, my intuition could be completely off and all a big nothing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

      Building an HCI platform out of a SolidFailure is not a rewarding exercise...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

        Wait... so independently scaling compute and storage is not rewarding? Watch Dell copy NetApp in their announcements at DTW. Just watch.

    3. mandeep

      Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

      Errrmm, there's not many use cases left that VSAN can't really handle at scale. Certain EMR apps are not yet certified for it but the fact SAP HANA is shows its come a long way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

        Yeah, for test and dev environments. SAP prod workloads? Not so much.

        Dell and Nutanix tried to get EPIC Cache certifications and bombed spectacularly. Another vendor is being certified right now and it’s looking good.

        1. Dcrolltide

          Re: Is the sky really falling for the small market share vendors? chicken little says so

          "Dell and Nutanix tried to get EPIC Cache certifications and bombed spectacularly. Another vendor is being certified right now and it’s looking good."

          wrong. Dell VxRack Flex passed all Epic testing, including databases.

  4. Nate Amsden

    still seems flakey

    Disclaimer I've never personally used any of the hyperconverged stuff.

    I've been a vmware customer for 20 years (back when vmware was a linux product that ran on the desktop), Vmware GSX/Server and later ESX for 15 years or so now.

    But I'm quite shocked to read complaints about simple stuff causing problems on VSAN, the one that sticks out to me the most is multiple comments from users running VSAN on Dell hardware where they have a hard disk or SSD fail and NEITHER Dell NOR VMware can figure out which physical drive it is! I mean that has got to be the most basic of basic things. Even doubly so for a company like Dell who basically own VMware. I mean the word shocking doesn't even justify how bad that is to me. I'm sure it doesn't happen all the time, and doesn't happen that way for all customers but still that is just so basic.

    I've read a bunch of other stuff from VSAN users over the past couple of years but that one stood out the most. I even brought it up with my Vmware rep recently when he asked me about VSAN and he didn't even try to defend it, just said it is likely just because Dell and VMware are different groups so they still have issues figuring it out.

    In my mind at least especially for a Dell platform with VSAN, that should have full integration with DRAC and/or whatever else is storage related to immediately identify the bad storage resource, should not have to hunt it down.

    I haven't read much about Nutanix by contrast but that is mainly because I don't follow anything Nutanix related, I do follow some Vmware stuff and VSAN often pops up as a result of course.

    Hyper converged storage has always sounded nice on paper, the concepts and cost savings and stuff sound really nice. But my personal experience with storage over the past 15+ years tells me storage is really difficult to get right. And while HCI tries hard to simplify the management aspects of storage by abstracting it more the underlying complexity goes up quite a bit, which just invites bugs. Whether it is in software, or firmware, or interoperability etc. It just scares me (for anything beyond single digit numbers of servers).

    1. mandeep

      Re: still seems flakey

      So I don't know the context here fully but let me attempt to explain what might be going on here. So as you know VMware is a fiercely independent company within the DT umbrella, VMware technologies work great across many different X86 Vendors including Dell Server platform.

      We do have solutions/products where we do leverage the power of both companies to offer a truly integrated offering however that's a different set of outcomes. i.e. buying a VSAN ReadyNode and VSAN is a reference architecture/build type outcome where you as a customer are responsible for integration and lifecycling of the system (yeah you may pay someone to do the initial stand-up but after that your on your own). Products on the other side of the spectrum such as VxRail /+ VCF are of the 'Buy' outcome and have been Engineered to a different set of standards, this is where we can leverage the power of both orgs to for example have an iPhoneEsq upgrade experience for the entire stack.

      Some people still enjoy tinkering and having complete control of the stack and the reality is that you own the complexity and issue associated with that, regardless of the vendor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: still seems flakey

      Complete bollox, in both NTX or VSAN you can identify the failed drive easily. Very easily. You mention iDRAC and you will be able to clearly identify the drive that's failed using the storage tab. The HCI stack have this capability too.

  5. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Help!

    I apologize for my lack of knowledge: Who are the people who use hyperconverged infrastructure? Is this for large companies, supermarkets, banks, SMBs, tech start-ups, mom and pop shops? Is it used by companies who build their private clouds, public clouds, run on other clouds, don't run on clouds?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Help!

      HCI solutions are generally sold to IT management big wheels (or similar exec wannabes) who've been told to cost-cut and/or downsize, in hopes of turning their poor overworked vmware admin into a storage admin + network admin on top of everything else.

      Because HCI simplifies everything. Somehow. Like an overfull creaky basket full of eggs and ... other stuff ... and you're not sure how much more it can hold, or how long. Simples.

    2. WYSIWYG650

      Re: Help!

      It's like back to the future... mini mainframes coming back like vombies. Right now I think it is way oversold and often does not achieve the success that was intended. I also see an empowerment of shadow IT, aka VMWare and Apps owners, driving demand just to help them avoid dealing with slow internal processes. I think it is similar to cloud, we all know it is not cheaper(at scale) but the agility makes the extra cost worth while to app owners and VMWare end users. The power of the purse is moving and these solutions are working to take advantage of that dynamic.

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