The market for hyper-converged integrated systems (HCIS) is forecast to grow 79 per cent to reach almost US$2 billion in 2018, propelling it toward mainstream use in the next five years.
According to Gartner findings, HCIS will be the fastest-growing segment of the overall market for integrated systems, reaching almost US$5 billion, which is 24 per cent of the market, by 2019.
Although the overall integrated systems market is growing, other segments of the market will face cannibalisation from hyper-converged systems, analysts said.
The analyst firm 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.
Consequently, analysts believe that hyper-converged systems deliver their main value through software tools, commoditising the underlying hardware.
"We are on the cusp of a third phase of integrated systems," said Andrew Butler, vice president and analyst at Gartner. “This evolution presents IT infrastructure and operations leaders with a framework to evolve their implementations and architectures.”
Butler said the integrated systems market is starting to mature, with more users upgrading and extending their initial deployments.
Specifically, phase one is the peak period of blade systems (2005 to 2015), phase two marked the arrival of converged infrastructures and the advent of HCIS for specific use cases (2010 to 2020), and phase three represents continuous application and micro-services 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 explained.
Despite high market growth rates, Butler said HCIS use cases have so far been limited, causing silos with existing infrastructure.
“Its progression will be dependent on multiple hardware and software advances, such as networking and software-defined enterprises,” Butler added.
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 added. “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.”