CIOs take note: The software-defined data center will cause the line between storage and server administration to blur over the next few years, suggests to a new forecast from Gartner.
The IT analyst firm predicts that the market for hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) will grow 70 percent this year, reaching $2 billion and setting the stage for mainstream adoption in the next five years. By 2019, the market will more than double, hitting the $5 billion mark and accounting for 24 percent of the market for integrated systems.
As per Gartner, hyperconverged integrated systems is based on commodity hardware and features shared storage and compute resources, which is made possible, appropriately enough, by software-defined storage and compute capabilities. Unified management interfaces give IT pros the tools required to balance those resources and align them to the needs of their business application workloads.
IDC's latest reading on the market confirms that enterprises are snapping up hyperconverged systems at an increasingly brisk pace. In the fourth quarter of 2015, worldwide hyperconverged sales jumped 170.5 percent year-over-year to reach $355.9 million.
"Right now, most of the growth is coming from the mid-market, which is heavily skewed toward hyperconverged systems. We are expecting to see this trend continue into the near term," said IDC senior analyst Kevin M. Permenter in a statement.
Hyperconverged integrated systems' journey into the mainstream can be charted across three phases.
During the first phase, stretching a decade from 2005 to 2015, blade-based systems were at their peak. Currently, data center operators are in the second phase (2010 to 2020), a time when hyperconverged systems are establishing their footing in specific use cases.
The third phase, which kicks off this year and ends in 2015, is when things start to get interesting, asserts Andrew Butler, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
"We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems. This evolution presents IT infrastructure and operations leaders with a framework to evolve their implementations and architectures," said Butler in a statement. This third phase is characterized by flexible, fabric-based infrastructures that will imbue organizations with new levels of agility, unconstrained by traditional hardware.
With rapid growth come some growing pains, observed Gartner. Ironically, given their limited use cases at the moment, hyperconverged systems are causing silos within existing data center infrastructures. It's a situation that can be remedied with new hardware, software and networking innovations.
"While we fully expect the use cases to embrace mission-critical applications in the future, current implementations could still pose constraints on rapid growth toward the end of the decade," concluded Butler.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.