Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Hybrid Infrastructure Gets Composable 

Growing demand for distributed applications delivered by micro- and other agile services are fueling the shift to composable and disaggregated infrastructure as enterprises look for new ways to provision and manage on-premise and cloud infrastructure.

A new forecast by market tracker IDC predicts a surge of disaggregate hardware and composable software as digital transformation efforts accelerate. (Composable/disaggregated infrastructure, or CDI, refers to the ability to select resources like computing and storage for a given set of requirements, thereby eliminating the need to configure those resources for a specific application.)

IDC expects the global market for these emerging infrastructure tools to grow at a compound annual rate of 58.2 percent through 2022 to more than $3.38 billion.

“New IT on-premises infrastructure deployments, mostly in the form of private cloud, will fuel aggressive investments in composable [and] disaggregated infrastructure,” said Ashish Nadkarni, vice president of IDC’s worldwide infrastructure practice. “The maturity of newer low-latency and high-bandwidth fabrics and interconnects will accelerate the development of newer CDI products and solutions.”

Source: IDC

As demand for CDI heats up, so, too, does the competition among key vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) and Dell EMC. HPE claims the first composable infrastructure platform, Synergy, released in 2016. It has since doubled down on its software-defined infrastructure push with moves like the May acquisition of hyperconverged networking specialist Plexxi and its January 2017 deal for Simplivity.

HPE said in May the Plexxi deal would help extend its mix-and-match infrastructure offerings marketed under its flagship Synergy platform.

Dell EMC launched its MX series in May as a direct competitor to HPE’s Synergy, following that up with the release of its PowerEdge MX server line last month. Other CDI players included Lenovo (HKG: 0992), Nvidia’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) HGX-1 reference architecture and the Gen-Z Consortium that includes several vendors developing standards for the disaggregation of memory and computing resources.

IDC said CDI market growth is expected to spring from datacenter operators looking to replace existing on-premises infrastructure with what the market researcher calls “full-stack CDI.” In that sense, CDI is viewed as the next step in the evolution of datacenter hardware after hyper-converged platforms as micro-services and other agile application tools enter the mainstream.

The market analyst also stressed the need for CDI vendors to support the steady enterprise shift to multiple cloud deployments. “The CDI fabric must hook into cloud deployments and enable transparent movement between the private, on-premises cloud and other public cloud resources,” IDC noted in its market forecast released last month.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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