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Strong Midmarket HCI Adoption On the Horizon

Midmarket companies - particularly, those with a holistic digital transformation strategy - have a hyperconverged infrastructure strategy in their sights.

Over the next 18-24 months, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) adoption by midmarket firms will more than double, according to a survey from Techaisle. Today, more than one-quarter (28 percent) of midmarket firms use HCI solutions; however, another 46 percent have HCI adoption plans in place.

Three drivers are fueling midsize firms toward HCI: improved operational efficiency, cost reduction and improved scalability. These top drivers are followed by another set of factors: hardware upgrade, data-center consolidation and improved backup/disaster recovery.

The survey, which included more than 600 U.S. midmarket respondents, also found that companies that embrace HCI are aligned with a holistic digital-transformation strategy, are born in the cloud and are quickly moving from the advanced IT segment to an enterprise IT segment.

Other survey data show a significant relationship between various considerations that shape an HCI purchase preference and cloud — as well hybrid IT.

For example, some considerations impacting the preference for an HCI purchase include: high availability (45 percent); the ability to scale capacity and performance (39 percent); recoverability (38 percent); cost/ROI (36 percent; and management via a single interface (35 percent).

The last four considerations are also important to companies looking to the cloud, as are other items that survey respondents deemed important, such as automation (26 percent); public-cloud integration (25 percent); policy management (23 percent); and hypervisor support (23 percent).

These combined considerations “either relate directly to cloud or read on issues that impact cloud and hybrid IT strategy,” according to the survey report author, Anurag Agrawal, CEO and analyst at Techaisle.

Anurag Agrawal

While survey respondents demonstrate that cloud is front of mind in HCI evaluations, as it was with converged infrastructure (CI), there are important distinctions between HCI and CI, and the cloud connection. That distinction is largely based on a preference for private cloud – with CI adoption – and a more diverse hybrid IT infrastructure that spans public and private cloud, as well as support for on-premises workloads by HCI adopters.

The figures show that nearly half (47 percent) of CI users also have private cloud, compared to 34 percent of firms that have already deployed HCI.

Cloud use is common among most midmarket firms, meaning that some workloads that at one time ran on physical systems now run instead on services in third-party facilities. That said, there are many reasons that companies still opt to run on-premises physical systems, such as: the need to keep data local; performance and reliability requirements; high internal server utilization rates; bias toward the use of capex vs. opex for capacity acquisition; and security or privacy policy concerns, according to Techaisle.

“The desire to source equipment that is designed to support internal private cloud and deliver savings and efficient management is driving demand for hardware-defined converged infrastructure and software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure systems,” said Agrawal.

Earlier this year, Techaisle research looked at small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) and midmarket firms. It found that HCI, in addition to AR/VR and IoT, received top rankings among firms in both market segments.

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