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Welcome to the HYPER-converged bubble of HYPE! Enjoy it while it's here, storage folk

Bubbles always burst... don’t they?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Comment The hype around hyper-converged systems is huge. Are we experiencing a hyper-converged systems bubble?

Companies in the field are growing like crazy, especially Nutanix and Simplivity. Nutanix scooped a billion-dollar-plus valuation earlier this year after a $140m funding round.

Meanwhile:

  • Startups like Maxta, NIMBOXX, and Scale Computing are jumping aboard the bandwagon
  • VMware is validating the concept with its EVO: RAIL and RACL reference architectures
  • Dell is OEMing Nutanix systems and building EVO: RAIL boxes
  • EMC, Fujitsu, Supermicro and others are to build EVO: RAIL systems
  • Simplivity and Cisco are partnering to provide UCS server-based OmniStack boxes

There are basically two assaults aimed at the bedrock of the shared storage arrays business. We’ll ignore software-defined shared storage arrays as these are still, ahem, shared storage arrays.

One assault says replace shared arrays with clustered servers using their own direct-attach storage as a cluster-wide storage pool - the Nutanix, Simplivity and VMware idea. The second says move your data to the cloud and have a cloud-based shared storage array.

Ask yourself this: what proportion of shared storage array customers are going to go either route?

Out of 1,000 customers how many will rip-and-replace shared arrays with the cloud or a hyper-converged system? Let's say 100 do each, leaving 800 staying with their arrays.

Are we looking at a situation where the implied valuations of the hyper-converged startups is at variance with their intrinsic value? Let’s assume VMware takes a large proportion of the hyper-converged market; the remainder has to be split between the startups. How big is it?

Will Microsoft adopt its own Hyper-V-based hyper-converged architecture?

Against the idea that a hyper-converged bubble is appearing is the prospect of all-flash hyper-converged systems. Micron demonstrated an all-flash VSAN at VMworld. The prospects for scale out, massive collective IOPS and very fast inter-node storage communications are so great that the present hyper-converged system hype level could look like peanuts.

Just imagine if the all-flash array vendors and the PCIe server flash card vendors and the ULLtraDIMMers jump on board the magic hyper-converged systems roundabout?

Yes, I think we are in the hyper-converged systems bubble arena, but it has a long way to go before it bursts. ®

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