ZeroStack and Nimble get close to offering a converged infrastructure solution

Converged infrastructure -- a last-gasp attempt to justify existence or a valid approach?

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Maybe I haven’t attended many legacy vendors’ conferences lately, but I haven't seemed to have heard many converged infrastructure mentions recently.

Go back a year or two and every legacy vendor under the sun (and every younger vendor wanting to partner or be acquired by a legacy vendor) was dropping the converged infrastructure moniker all the time. Converged infrastructure (CI from now on) is a pretty simple concept, one which users of personal computing devices will see as normal. Essentially CI is all about offering storage, compute and the infrastructure to run it all within one unit. Instead of having a standalone storage device, some compute infrastructure elsewhere, and some software to tie it all together, CI packs it all up nicely with a bow on it.

Of course for those people who suggest that the public cloud is the future of everything, and that on-premises infrastructure no longer has any part to play in the world, the very idea of CI is anathema -- it harks to all of those comments a decade or so ago about the “fake cloud.”

But hang on a minute and look at this within the context of real organizations running existing workloads and the situation isn’t so clear. These organizations don’t live in some abstract world of greenfield opportunities and uber agility -- they have existing workloads that they need to keep running, and legacy platforms that, for better or worse, they need to think about. For these organizations, while the public cloud certainly has a part to play, their moves have to be more measured.

Which is where traditional infrastructure in general, and converged infrastructure in particular, comes in. The promise of CI is to offer a “cloud in a box.” While many would say that is a contradiction, the idea of having a solution that is pre-tested and configured, completely automated and supported, makes sense. While there is certainly an argument to be had as to whether this really delivers “cloud,” it’s fair to say that it delivers many of the benefits that the cloud does -- and for this reason it has its place.

So to add to the list of CI offerings out there, ZeroStack and Nimble Storage are partnering to offer a joint solution. Take Nimble’s storage systems and apply ZeroStack’s intelligent cloud platform and you have an automated, high performance infrastructure offering.

And while it may not be a “true cloud,” according to the companies, the combined ZeroStack/Nimble Storage solution offers several distinct benefits:

  • ZeroStack’s cloud platform solution can now use Nimble Storage systems as back-end storage. Users can simply plug the Nimble Storage devices into the ZeroStack platform.
  • Nimble Storage’s features, such as cross-site replication with end-to-end encryption, and application-level policies under which applications like Oracle or SQL Server are specifically tuned to run on Nimble Storage.
  • ZeroStack users can leverage Nimble’s QoS and Dedupe capabilities for overall storage efficiencies.

Both Nimble Storage and ZeroStack will market the solution to their customers and resellers. In a clearly articulated carrot offered up to their sales channel, the companies state that with this combined solution -- their resellers can offer their customers strategic advice on cloud and storage options while retaining customers who might otherwise have no choice but move to a public cloud provider.

While I’m not 100% comfortable with the “cloud” moniker, there is no denying that a converged approach towards infrastructure makes sense. It will be interesting to see the traction that these two can create here. 

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