The Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards recognize the top products, technologies and services in the essential areas of technology that Modern Infrastructure covers. The award-winning tools will be those helping to run enterprise businesses with efficiency and insight -- whether they're used inside or outside the data center.
Judges have whittled down the list of submissions to the finalists below. Voting is open from October 16 through October 31, 2014. Winners will be announced in early January in a special issue of Modern Infrastructure.
Entrants in the Best Converged Infrastructure category offer compute, network and storage hardware infrastructure that is significantly improved with software.
The companies listed to the left are the finalists for the 2014 Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards, Best Converged Infrastructure category. Vote for your favorite below.
Dell PowerEdge VRTX
Dell says: The world's first integrated IT solution designed from the ground up specifically for office environments, PowerEdge VRTX is an unprecedented convergence of up to four server nodes; huge internal shared storage capacity; networking; and management into a single, office-optimized chassis the size of a desk-side tower server. Integrated, pre-tested and certified, VRTX delivers a complete technology platform that users can deploy smoothly and operate confidently. PowerEdge VRTX enables users to bring order to office IT chaos and experience greater simplicity to redefine their office IT operations and realize greater efficiency, and to deploy performance anywhere and discover greater versatility. Customers around the world with diverse use cases have selected Dell PowerEdge VRTX to reduce hardware complexity, improve IT efficiency and provide the scalability necessary to handle performance spikes and business growth. Dell PowerEdge VRTX is being adopted by customers in the retail, financial services and healthcare industries, and is now expanding its vertical reach and entering into new markets, such as education and manufacturing.
Gridstore says: Gridstore 3 enables the critical components in the delivery of the Cloud Data Center. There are three key elements in the realization of the Cloud Data Center. The first is the abstraction and pooling of resources from the hardware layer, enabling elasticity of capacity and performance from compute, storage and networking resources. The second is the delivery on a per-VM basis, precise allocation and control of these resources to meet SLAs in performance, capacity and cost. The final element is central management of the entire infrastructure and resources, providing maximum efficiency and flexibility. Gridstore 3 allows for management of all resources via a single console. Gridstore's patented software-defined storage allows companies to start small and scale non-disruptively over time. The more nodes in a configuration, the more network bandwidth, more cache, more processing power and more capacity that ultimately delivers linear performance scalability. Gridstore's unique end-to-end control -- from the server with Gridstore's patented vController installed, to storage nodes with Gridstore's added value technology -- create an isolated IO lane for each VM and auto-optimizes to enable optimal application IO, precisely controlled to allow critical applications to receive the highest priority, delivering the performance and resources when/where they are needed.
NetApp says: The FlexPod solution portfolio combines NetApp storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric into a single, flexible architecture. FlexPod solutions are designed and validated to reduce deployment time, project risk and the cost of IT. The FlexPod portfolio includes FlexPod Datacenter for core enterprise data centers and service providers, FlexPod Express for medium-sized businesses and branch offices, and FlexPod Select for data-intensive workloads. Since its launch in 2010, FlexPod has generated $3 billion in joint sales and unit shipments have grown 81% year-over-year, with demand for FlexPod solutions now reaching a $2 billion annualized demand run rate. FlexPod is deployed with more than 4,100 customers and is available in over 100 countries, an increase from 2,300 customers and 70 countries last year. By combining compute, networking and storage into a single system, integrated infrastructure provides the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency and agility of data center infrastructure, while reducing deployment risks. As a result, integrated infrastructure has emerged as one of the fastest growing segments of the IT infrastructure market.
NIMBOXX says: NIMBOXX brings the benefits of the hyper-scale data center model to companies of all sizes, delivering extreme simplicity and a new standard of performance, while reducing overall data center costs by more than 40%. NIMBOXX is an all-in-one solution that converges servers, storage, networking and security. The solution features mesh-based scale out, dynamic resource orchestration, self-balancing workload heuristics, and a shared-nothing management model. It also provides dynamic adaptation to cache and storage changes based on multi-dimensional workload analyses. Deployments can start with a single node and scale to hundreds. The NIMBOXX Mesh Operating SystemTM (MeshOSTM) installs on bare metal and allows for direct control over all hardware resources. This unique approach of owning the entire stack enables full software-defined data center functionality and delivers dramatic performance improvements. MeshOS also offers a RESTful API for integration with third-party applications.
With NIMBOXX, organizations can:
- Choose any ratio of SSD-HDD to meet workload requirements for performance/capacity/price.
- Eliminate centralized SAN/NAS storage that wasn't designed for today's data requirements.
- Manage the entire solution from hardware to virtual machines in a single pane of glass.
- Enjoy performance in excess of 120,000 IOPS from a single node.
- Leverage workload-specific resource allocation to right resources for the environment.
Nutanix says: Nutanix NX-3460 is a highly differentiated 2U Web-scale converged solution that consolidates compute and storage into a single appliance for virtualization environments. It enables IT to quickly and simply deploy new workloads with no need to configure dedicated storage systems. This is the same Web-scale converged infrastructure that easily deploys into and integrates into any data center using ESXi, Hyper-V or KVM, and can support any virtualized workload including desktop virtualization, SQL Server, Exchange, SAP, and big data and private cloud deployments. The NX-3460 is also a building block for the unique Nutanix Per Desktop and VDI Assurance Program, which enables IT to purchase virtual desktop infrastructure the same way they procure virtual desktop software per user or desktop. With support for multiple real-world user profiles, Nutanix eliminates complex infrastructure sizing for either VMware Horizon or Citrix XenDesktop, and assures predictable VDI pricing at any scale. NX-3460 can be setup and ready to serve desktops in just a few hours -- thanks to automated hypervisor installation, converged architecture and the Nutanix Prism management framework. The HTML5-powered, hypervisor-agnostic Prism for NX-3460 provides a highly intuitive management console that manages compute and storage through a single pane.
Riverbed SteelFusion 3.0
Riverbed says: As the need for branch offices has grown in order to pull from global talent pools and remain close to customers, companies have ended up spending over $4 billion on remote office IT, according to IDC. Only 8% of branch offices have consolidated infrastructure, leading to islands of distributed branch infrastructure, which have been necessary to meet branch performance, reliability and productivity needs. However, they are costly and inefficient to manage. Riverbed realized branch office IT desperately needed innovation, so in 2012, the company debuted SteelFusion (formally known as Granite), the first branch converged infrastructure solution that centralizes data in the data center, while delivering local application performance and near instant recovery at the branch office. SteelFusion allows businesses to restore branch operations in a matter of minutes vs. days, centrally protect and secure data in the datacenter and lower the total cost of ownership for branch and remote offices by 50%. SteelFusion reduces the average time to provision branch services by 30 times and recover from branch outages by 96 times, according to Taneja Group. SteelFusion has centralized up to 52 petabytes of data and powers up to 93,000 virtual machines across its deployments.
Scale Computing HC3 HyperCore v5
Scale Computing says: Since launching HC3 two years ago, Scale Computing has surpassed 900 customer deployments. HC3 fully integrates storage, servers and virtualization into an all-in-one appliance that is scalable, highly available and as easy to manage as a single server. Driving this customer success is version 5 of Scale's patented Ultra-Easy Hypercore Software. Hypercore V5 integrates all of the HC3 capabilities into a single data center building block. Using industry standard components, the HC3 installs in under an hour, and can be expanded and upgraded with no downtime. High availability insulates the user from any disk or server failure, and a unified management capability efficiently integrates all functionality. The result is a data center solution that reduces operational complexity, allows a faster response to business issues, and dramatically reduces costs. Designed as an alternative to the high cost and significant complexity of most virtualization environments, HC3 radically simplifies virtual machine implementations. When independently surveyed, Scale customers stated HC3 reduced the time to manage infrastructure, increased the availability of critical workloads, and improved scalability more than any other solution they had tried. HC3 is leading the way in hyper-converged data center solutions.
SimpliVity Corporation OmniCube CN-3000
SimpliVity says: SimpliVity, the fastest-growing IT infrastructure company since VMware, provides hyper-converged infrastructure that dramatically simplifies IT and delivers the best of both worlds -- cloud economics with enterprise performance, protection and functionality. Unlike siloed IT infrastructure, OmniCube provides a game-changing reduction in complexity, improves application performance, increases operational efficiency, and reduces TCO by 3x. Unlike partially converged systems that just offer scale-out storage and compute, SimpliVity uniquely assimilates 8 to 12 core data center services on a commodity x86 system, including the hypervisor, compute, storage, storage switching, backup, replication, cloud gateway, caching, WAN optimization, deduplication, etc. Combining two or more OmniCube building blocks provides high availability, mobility and scale. All instances of OmniCube within and across data centers form a federation that's managed from a single Global Unified Management interface via vCenter. SimpliVity delivers unparalleled data efficiency, with customers averaging 100:1 efficiency ratios. By managing data segments in 4K to 8K chunks, and deduplicating redundant segments inline before data hits disk, OmniCube eliminates unnecessary read/write IO, saving IOPS and improving performance. By deduplicating, compressing and optimizing data in real time the first time data is written to disk, capacity, bandwidth and IOPS savings occur throughout the workload's lifecycle. By abstracting data from its underlying hardware, policy management shifts from hardware resources to virtual machines, providing greater data mobility and automation. Further, OmniCube includes native full VM-centric backup and WAN-optimized replication to a DR site or the cloud. Market adoption is unprecedented, with 65% of SimpliVity customers consolidating all of their IT exclusively on OmniCube.
VCE Vblock System 340
VCE says: The Vblock System 340 architecture is optimized to support the most demanding workloads and customer applications, particularly in virtualized data centers, cloud environments and service provider implementations. To ensure the lowest total cost of ownership, the Vblock System 340 is engineered for rapid, simplified and scale-up of compute, network and storage resources. As a converged infrastructure, the Vblock System 340's individual components -- Cisco compute and networking, EMC storage and data protection, and VMware virtualization -- are pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-validated based on customers' specific needs and engineering best practices. Every system is composed of built-in redundancy for high availability with a Vblock cabinet that is customized for energy efficiency, with neatly organized cabling and power components. Vblock System 340 is security hardened and protected with a complete VCE product portfolio featuring advanced data protection for reliable backup and recovery, as well as inline deduplication for more efficient use of storage resources. As with all systems from VCE, the Vblock System 340 is delivered as a fully converged solution that is engineered, manufactured, managed, supported and sustained as a single product. Vblock System 340 deserves the Impact Award because of its technical innovation, ability to meet and exceed customer expectations, and proven industry leadership.
VMware EVO:RAIL 1.0.0
VMware says: VMware EVO: RAIL combines compute, networking and storage resources into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance to create a simple, easy to deploy, all-in-one solution offered by VMware-qualified partners. VMware, with qualified partners, delivers the EVO: RAIL hyper-converged infrastructure appliance via a new business model. Customers have choices for hardware and support provided by EVO: RAIL-qualified partners. EVO: RAIL is ordered via a single SKU and backed by a single point of contact for hardware and software support. EVO: RAIL enables power-on to VM creation in minutes, radically easy VM deployment, easy non-disruptive patch and upgrades, and simplified management. Building on the proven technology of VMware vSphere, vCenter Server and VMware Virtual SAN, EVO: RAIL delivers the first hyper-converged infrastructure appliance 100% powered by VMware software. EVO:RAIL is a resilient appliance design starting with four independent hosts and a distributed Virtual SAN data store ensures zero application downtime during planned maintenance or during disk, network or host failures. Customers can reduce operating costs with efficiency and ease: Time-To-Value (TTV) to first VM in minutes, zero-downtime updates of all VMware software, automatic scale-out, global settings and VM lifecycle management.