From Appliances to Software: Gartner's Market Guide on Full-Stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solutions

Bob Deleeck
Bob Deleeck
28 August 2023


The ever-evolving IT landscape continually introduces new technologies and approaches to meet the dynamic needs of organizations.

One such groundbreaking development is hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), which has revolutionized data center operations by offering enhanced efficiency, scalability, and agility.

Gartner, a renowned research and advisory firm, has recently unveiled its first-ever "Market Guide for Full-Stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software," which heralds a significant shift in evaluating hyperconverged (HCI) solutions.



Content overview

In this article, we will shed light on the emerging landscape of full-stack HCI software and its potential to address the evolving demands of modern data centers. Additionally, we will dive into the main findings from the market guide, with a specific focus on Nutanix, a leading vendor in the hyperconverged infrastructure space. Below is a complete breakdown:

  • The emerging landscape of full-stack HCI software: market definition, description and more
  • Hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) vs. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)
  • Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vs. Converged infrastructure (CI)
  • 8 key findings from Gartner's market guide
  • Bonus: Top 20 questions answered on hyperconverged infrastructure (free download)
  • Other resources on hyperconverged infrastructure

The emerging landscape of full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software

Strategic planning assumption

Gartner's report highlights a strategic planning assumption that predicts a decline in the usage of hypervisor-based virtualization for data center x86 workloads, projecting a reduction to over 75% by 2024.

This prediction underscores the industry's transformation and the need for more flexible and comprehensive solutions like full-stack HCI software.

Market definition

Full-stack HCI software represents a complete software solution that integrates virtualized compute, storage, and networking functionalities into a unified platform running on server hardware.

This market encompasses vendors developing and offering hyperconverged infrastructure software, including their own server virtualization, software-defined storage, and network management tools.

Market description

In the early stages of hyperconverged infratructure, appliances provided by a single hardware vendor dominated the market, known as hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS).

However, as the market evolved, a clear bifurcation occurred, with hardware providers focusing on HCIS while software providers took the lead in developing HCI software.

Hyperconverged integrated systems (HCIS) vs. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI)

HCI software differs from HCIS as it supports and can be deployed across server hardware solutions from multiple providers.

The shift towards HCI software has enabled the development of solutions tailored to specific use cases or geographic niches, as well as solutions that encompass broader cloud-related functionality.

Additionally, some HCI software providers have expanded their deployment options to include various private cloud and public cloud providers, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure.

This expansion reflects a growing emphasis on offering turnkey private or hybrid cloud solutions, enabling organizations to manage diverse on-premises, cloud, and edge deployments efficiently.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vs. Converged infrastructure (CI)

Apart from hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), you'll also find converged infrastructure, both being ways to approach data center management. But what are the differences between the two?

HCI software offers a more flexible and scalable solution which can be deployed across multiple server hardware solutions and emphasizes cloud integration.

It enables organizations to tailor solutions to specific needs and manage diverse on-premises, cloud, and edge deployments efficiently.

In contrast, converged infrastructure relies on pre-integrated appliances from a single vendor, simplifying initial deployment but potentially limiting hardware choices and cloud-related functionalities.

converged infrastructure hyperconverged infrastructure

As organizations evaluate their data center requirements, considering the advantages of each approach is crucial to align with their specific needs, growth plans, and cloud integration strategies.

Market direction

The full-stack HCI software market is witnessing ongoing developments in response to evolving customer requirements and market trends.

Many providers are extending their support for orchestration tools like Kubernetes, aiming to offer an interface that automates the deployment of containerized applications.

While the adoption of these orchestration tools remains limited at present, they are poised to play a crucial role in future container management capabilities.

Simplified management capabilities for infrastructure across enterprise data centers, colocation facilities, edge locations, and public clouds are also gaining traction.

Full-stack HCI software providers leverage this trend by offering streamlined management solutions tailored to diverse deployment scenarios.

Market analysis

Full-stack HCI software has emerged as a specialized segment within the broader hyperconverged solutions market. Providers have expanded the development and utilization of their software across compute, network infrastructure, and storage.

Most of these providers offer subscription-based models, allowing their software to be deployed on various server hardware brands.

The global market for full-stack HCI software exceeds $1 billion, with two main types of vendors:

  1. Those with a global footprint in terms of installed base and support capabilities, and
  2. Regional providers primarily based in China.

These solutions are poised to seize opportunities in the developing edge computing market, but their widespread adoption will depend on demonstrating clear business-based advantages in edge deployments.

8 key findings from Gartner's market guide for full-stack hyperconverged infrastructure

#1 Shifting paradigm: From HCI MQs to full-stack HCI software

Gartner's market guide signifies a notable shift in the industry's approach to evaluating hyperconverged infrastructure solutions. Previously, Gartner published the Magic Quadrant reports for HCI, which primarily focused on evaluating hardware and software combinations.

However, the emergence of full-stack HCI software has led to a more holistic approach, encompassing a broader range of features and capabilities beyond the traditional HCI stack.

#2 Understanding full-stack HCI software

Full-stack HCI software refers to an integrated software suite that combines storage, compute, networking, and virtualization capabilities into a single, unified platform.

This approach offers organizations the advantages of HCI while expanding its scope to address additional data center infrastructure requirements. It enables seamless management, scalability, and enhanced resource utilization across diverse workloads and deployment models.

#3 Nutanix: A leader in full-stack HCI software

Nutanix has emerged as a key player in the full-stack HCI software market, delivering comprehensive solutions that align with the evolving needs of modern IT environments.

Gartner's market guide recognizes Nutanix as a vendor that provides full-stack HCI software capabilities, empowering organizations to simplify their infrastructure, streamline operations, and drive digital transformation.

#4 Feature-rich and versatile solution

Nutanix's full-stack HCI software offers a robust set of features that enable organizations to build and manage their digital workspaces, virtual desktops, and data center infrastructure efficiently.

With Nutanix, IT teams can seamlessly deploy and scale applications, virtualize workloads, and optimize resource utilization. The software's intuitive interface simplifies management tasks, reducing complexity and enhancing operational efficiency.

#5 Scalability and flexibility

One of the key advantages of Nutanix's full-stack HCI software is its ability to scale seamlessly.

Organizations can start with a small deployment and expand incrementally as their requirements grow, ensuring optimal resource utilization and cost-effectiveness. The software also supports flexible deployment models, allowing organizations to leverage a hybrid or multi-cloud approach, providing agility and freedom to choose the infrastructure that best suits their needs.

#6 Enhanced data protection and resilience

Data protection and resilience are critical considerations for any IT infrastructure. Nutanix's full-stack HCI software offers advanced data protection mechanisms, including data replication, backup, and disaster recovery.

These features enable organizations to safeguard their critical data and applications, ensuring business continuity in the face of unforeseen events or system failures.

#7 Simplified management and automation

Nutanix's full-stack HCI software excels in simplifying infrastructure management. Its centralized management interface provides a single pane of glass to monitor and manage the entire infrastructure stack, eliminating the need for disparate tools and complex configurations.

Additionally, Nutanix offers robust automation capabilities, empowering IT teams to automate routine tasks, reduce manual efforts, and optimize resource allocation.

#8 Customer satisfaction and market presence

Nutanix's commitment to customer satisfaction and strong market presence has positioned the company as a leader in the full-stack HCI software market. Through its customer-centric approach, Nutanix has built a reputation for delivering exceptional support, reliable solutions, and continuous innovation.

The company's extensive customer base spans various industries, further attesting to the trust and confidence placed in its products and services.

In closing

In conclusion, Gartner's "Market Guide for Full-Stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software" marks a significant shift in evaluating hyperconverged solutions, showcasing the emergence of full-stack HCI software as a game-changing approach in the IT landscape.

With Nutanix leading the way as a key vendor in this space, organizations can leverage its feature-rich, scalable, and flexible solutions to simplify infrastructure management, enhance data protection, and drive digital transformation.

As the industry moves towards cloud integration and containerization, full-stack HCI software's focus on cloud-related functionalities and orchestration capabilities positions it as a strategic choice for organizations seeking optimal efficiency and agility in their data center operations.

And by embracing HCI software, businesses can unlock many benefits and prepare themselves for future IT demands and market trends.

Bonus: Top 20 questions answered on hyperconverged infrastructure

Whether hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is new to you or you think you're an expert, there are still some benefits to HCI you may not be taking advantage of. Because yes, hyperconverged infrastructure does actually improve your IT operations.

We've taken the time to answer the Top 20 Hyperconvergence Questions for you in this ebook.

Download the ebook to learn about:

  • The benefits of HCI compared to legacy technology.
  • The components of HCI and the problems it solves.
  • What the market acceptance rate is for HCI.
Bob Deleeck

Bob Deleeck

Bob Deleeck is a co-founder at Agisko and has over 15 years of experience in the field of virtualization, business, and application continuity.

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