Moor Insights’ McDowell believes buyers should choose a platform to match the problem they’re trying to solve. “What HCI does is democratize the platform to allow you to pick and choose the right one for your needs,” he said. “I can put a screaming high-performance system next to a print server and manage them as a whole.”
Myth #3: HCI Can’t Scale to Handle Enterprise Applications.
“That’s rich,” said Lucas Mearian, an International Data Corp. research manager who specializes in infrastructure. “HCI is certainly an excellent platform for business-critical workloads such as VDI, but because of its high availability, it’s also well suited for database workloads.”
HCI is becoming a de facto standard for data-intensive services like data protection, backup and disaster recovery and is increasingly a primary platform for deploying modern hybrid cloud infrastructure, Mearian said.
“Many enterprises are rolling out a hybrid cloud strategy from single-tenant HCI infrastructure and then investigating how to leverage the public cloud from there to support workload portability,” Mearian said. “As the basis of a hybrid cloud environment, HCI can create a consistent experience across all platforms, whether on-premises or in the cloud.”
It’s widely acknowledged that real-time business needs can’t be satisfied with traditional three-tier infrastructure.
Myth #4: The Server Uses Too Many System Resources, Especially Cores and Memory.
In truth, HCI’s aggregate volume of cores and memory is less than that of a conventional three-tiered storage network, Bhattacharyya said. “We use less CPU and memory because we don’t have to drive a lot of network I/O,” he said.
“Three-tiered storage systems rely on “a black box where you don’t know how much compute and memory you are using. You’re using more resources, but it’s not visible.”
McDowell said this myth “is the same one that virtualization fought 15 years ago, which is that any time you put something on top of bare metal, there’s some cost.” In reality, virtualization improves performance by ensuring that virtual machines have the resources they need.
“By and large, HCI stays out of the way while you’re doing the work you need to do and only activates when you need it for management,” McDowell said. “It’s a wrapper and nothing tells me that it impacts performance at all.”
Myth #5: Choosing an HCI Platform Leads to Vendor Lock-In.
That may have been true at one time, but HCI today is a software platform that runs on a wide range of hardware. “You aren’t locked into any server vendor,” Bhattacharyya said. “We expose our storage protocols and you’re free to use them or move between them.” In contrast, migrating between different storage array vendors requires special software and a transport mechanism.
McDowell said the choice of a virtualization platform involves a certain level of commitment, but customers make that choice knowing the implications. With HCI, “there’s no hardware lock and you can move workloads to any other virtualized environment,” he said.
Myth #6: HCI Won’t Last.
Given that Research and Markets expects the global HCI market to grow more than 26% annually through 2026 and Gartner forecasts that the percentage of enterprises running some form of hyperconverged infrastructure will grow from 30% to 70% from 2019 to 2023, this myth seems almost laughable.