​IT infrastructure evolution continues as hyperconverged systems approach mainstream usage

"We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems."

The market for hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) will grow 79 percent to reach almost $US2 billion in 2016, propelling it toward mainstream use in the next five years.

According to Gartner, HCIS will be the fastest-growing segment of the overall market for integrated systems, reaching almost $US5 billion, which is 24 percent of the market, by 2019.

Although the overall integrated systems market is growing, the research analyst firm claims other segments of the market will face “cannibalisation” from hyperconverged systems.

"We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems,” says Andrew Butler, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner.

“This evolution presents IT infrastructure and operations leaders with a framework to evolve their implementations and architectures.”

Gartner defines HCIS as a platform offering shared compute and storage resources, based on software-defined storage, software-defined compute, commodity hardware and a unified management interface.

As such, Butler says hyperconverged systems delivers its main value through software tools, commoditising the underlying hardware.

“The integrated systems market is starting to mature, with more users upgrading and extending their initial deployments,” he explains.

Butler says Phase 1 is the peak period of blade systems (2005 to 2015), Phase 2 marked the arrival of converged infrastructures and the advent of HCIS for specific use cases (2010 to 2020), while Phase 3 represents continuous application and microservices delivery on HCIS platforms (2016 to 2025).

“The third phase of integrated systems will deliver dynamic, composable and fabric-based infrastructures by also offering modular and disaggregated hardware building blocks, driving continuous application delivery and continuous economic optimisation,” Butler says.

Despite high market growth rates, Butler says HCIS use cases have so far been limited, causing silos with existing infrastructure.

According to Gartner, is progression will be dependent on multiple hardware and software advances, such as networking and software-defined enterprises.

Ultimately, the underlying infrastructure will disappear to become a malleable utility under the control of software intelligence and automated to enable IT as a service (ITaaS) to business, consumer, developer and enterprise operations.

“HCIS is not a destination, but an evolutionary journey,” Butler adds.

“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.”