Comparing Six Leading Converged Infrastructure Vendors' Product

IBM | June 01, 2020

  • Many enterprise hardware vendors continue to offer compelling converged infrastructure products, even though the technology has been largely forgotten.

  • Hype-converged infrastructure, disaggregated hyper converged infrastructure and composable infrastructure have received considerable attention for their innovative capabilities.

  • Both technologies bring together compute, storage and network resources that the vendor of the infrastructure certifies for use with one another.


Over the past year or so, technologies such as hyper-converged infrastructure, disaggregated hyper-converged infrastructure and composable infrastructure have received considerable attention for their innovative capabilities. But at the same time, many enterprise hardware vendors continue to offer compelling converged infrastructure products, even though the technology has been largely forgotten. Here, we examine the latest happenings from six established converged infrastructure vendors -- Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Hitachi Vantara, IBM, NetApp and Pure Storage -- and address where it still makes the most sense to use CI technology. What's the difference between converged and hyper-converged infrastructure?


Before discussing the various converged infrastructure systems, let's briefly examine the difference between converged infrastructure and hyper-converged infrastructure. Both technologies bring together compute, storage and network resources that the vendor of the infrastructure certifies for use with one another. But a hyper-converged system is designed to function only as a cohesive unit. In contrast, a converged infrastructure is made up of off-the-shelf components that can be used individually, if needed. How is a converged infrastructure deployed? There are two ways to deploy a converged infrastructure. One option is to purchase a prebuilt system where the vendor provides compute, storage and networking hardware, along with a hypervisor and management software. Everything comes preconfigured, which simplifies setup.



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Converged infrastructure systems help reduce hardware deployment risks by providing a preconfigured software stack, which greatly reduces the risk of configuration errors.

~ Hewlett Packard Enterprise.


The other option is to build a converged infrastructure based on a reference architecture, which is essentially a list of hardware that the vendor that provides the architecture certifies for use in a CI configuration. Building a converged infrastructure system from a reference architecture is usually more complex than purchasing a prebuilt product. But the benefit of this approach is that it enables an organization to select the hardware that's best suited to its unique needs. In some cases, a reference architecture may even give an organization the opportunity to repurpose hardware it already owns. There are numerous advantages to deploying a converged infrastructure. First, it reduces the risks commonly associated with hardware deployment.

Organizations also commonly use converged infrastructure as a platform for hosting virtual desktops. Converged infrastructure platforms are also becoming popular for use with data analytics and machine learning workloads.


The vendor that provides the architecture certifies the components are compatible and configures the software stack. Deploying a converged infrastructure can also simplify the process of getting technical support. Because the vendor that provides the infrastructure tests and validates it for compatibility, it lessens the odds that vendor finger-pointing will become an issue. If an organization purchases a prebuilt converged infrastructure product, it may even receive a single point of contact for technical support, although this is more common with hyper-converged systems. Another benefit is that initial deployment and long-term scalability may be greatly simplified. If an organization orders a CI deployment as a package -- as opposed to using a reference architecture -- the package will include everything it needs to get the system up and running. The organization shouldn't encounter any surprises such as needing extra software licenses or an obscure cable that isn't included in the package.


When it's time to scale the deployment, an organization only needs to add storage or nodes. Similarly, it may be possible to replace aging components with newer components, which is an especially compelling benefit, since most hyper-converged systems don't allow individual components to be upgraded. Converged infrastructure systems are designed to be turnkey and made up of standardized components. But there's more to converged infrastructure than just the hardware. One of the most important features is the management and monitoring software, which has been specifically built for use with the converged system. This software typically automates various deployment and maintenance tasks and monitors system components for problems. In some cases, the management software can automatically remediate certain types of problems. In most cases, converged systems also include a hypervisor from VMware, Nutanix or Microsoft.


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Spotlight

Many businesses are beginning to realize the breadth of benefits SD-WAN provides. SimpleWAN’s SD-WAN 2.0 takes that value to the next level when it comes to unified communications, Point of Sale systems, the network, and the cloud.

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VodafoneZiggo selects Cognizant as Strategic Partner to Consolidate its Services for IT Infrastructure and Virtualized Networking

VodafoneZiggo | November 09, 2022

Cognizant announced today that it has been selected by VodafoneZiggo, a leading provider of fixed, mobile and integrated communication and entertainment services to consumers and businesses, as its managed services partner to consolidate and support VodafoneZiggo's operations of IT and virtualized mobile network infrastructure. This will enable VodafoneZiggo to improve the availability and reliability of its communications services through proactive monitoring of infrastructure operations, more accurate planning, and with faster deployments of new services to its more than five million mobile business and consumer customers in The Netherlands. As part of the five-year operations and maintenance agreement, Cognizant will harmonize and simplify the current on-premise landscape through increased levels of automation designed to reduce the total cost of ownership and enable more efficient onboarding of VodafoneZiggo's standard as well as containerized and virtualized NFV (Network Function Virtualization) infrastructure. "Due to the ongoing growth in the demand for data services and digital customer experiences, we continuously aim to optimize our services to serve customers in the best way. This goes hand in hand with a strong drive to establish the best efficiency and effectiveness in our operations and IT infrastructure. "We have chosen Cognizant as a trusted partner with the experience and expertise to assist us with maintaining and improving the infrastructure underpinning our mobile network operations and deploy new functions and services at scale." Diana Geels - de Koos, Lead for Cloud Infrastructure Tribe at VodafoneZiggo "We are proud to have been chosen by VodafoneZiggo based on a combination of our deep industry and domain expertise in infrastructure managed services for large-scale, global companies across various industries, including telecoms and communications," said Saket Gulati, Country Manager, Netherlands at Cognizant. "Due to our longstanding relationship and deep-rooted knowledge of VodafoneZiggo's challenges, we are confident that we will be able to support the company in meeting its next digitization targets and introduce a new level of stability to its IT infrastructure." About VodafoneZiggo VodafoneZiggo is a leading Dutch company that provides fixed, mobile and integrated communication and entertainment services to consumers and businesses. As of September 30, 2022, we have over 5 million mobile, over 3 million video and fixed broadband internet and approximately 2 million fixed telephony subscribers. Approximately 7,000 people are employed by VodafoneZiggo. Our offices are located in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Hilversum, Leeuwarden, Groningen, Nijmegen, Helmond and Rotterdam. The VodafoneZiggo JV is a 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global, one of the world's leading converged video, broadband and communications companies, and Vodafone Group, one of the world's leading technology communications companies. About Cognizant Cognizant engineers modern businesses. We help our clients modernize technology, reimagine processes and transform experiences so they can stay ahead in our fast-changing world. Together, we're improving everyday life.

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Wallarm Q3 API ThreatStats™ Report Reveals DevOps Tools and Infrastructure Under Attack

Wallarm | November 14, 2022

Wallarm, the end-to-end API security company, today released its Q3 API ThreatStats™ Report, which provides deep analysis into all published API vulnerabilities and exploits for the quarter. The Wallarm research team dissected the data from a variety of perspectives, including software type, vendor, CVSS scores, CWEs and both OWASP Top-10 (2021) for web apps and OWASP API Security Top-10 (2019). The team also examined publicly disclosed exploit POCs to determine where the risk lies. The initial analysis indicated that API vulnerabilities and the impacted vendors were leveling off from the significant increase reported in the Q2 API Vulnerability Report, with minimal to no change. Vulnerabilities and vendors impacted experienced a 16% increase, while high to critical rated vulnerabilities remained steady at 57% total. However, deeper analysis revealed three key findings, which may have costly implications on an organization’s API security program: Infrastructure. A vast majority of the most impactful vulnerabilities analyzed in Q3 impacted DevOps tools and infrastructure, resulting in a shift of an organization’s security focus. Injections. While the OWASP Top-10 Injection categories (A03:2021 for web apps and API8:2019 for APIs) top the charts at over 33% of all CVEs analyzed, further inspection reveals many, many variations, which will require extra effort to remediate. Exploits. A surprising finding was that the average gap between CVE and exploit POC publication was zero days, which greatly impacts a mitigation timeline. “Almost everyone involved in the API economy, from CISOs and their security teams to DevOps teams and beyond, are talking about API Security this year. However, only a few vendors can explain what it really means, and how to measure and calculate the risks and impact when things go badly. “Wallarm has been committed to tracking and analyzing API vulnerabilities and exploits, and sharing this with the community via our API ThreatStats reports. This Q3-2022 report is the third in a row, and we clearly see a chilling trend in the number, severity and focus of API vulnerabilities and exploits. No joke: the top 10 API issues we're seeing affect core DevOps and PaaS products, such as Kubernetes, Rancher, GitLab, HashiCorp, and several others.” Ivan Novikov, CEO & co-founder of Wallarm For more highlights from the final report, please see the Q3-2022 API ThreatStats™ Report executive summary. To learn more, register for Wallarm’s webinar on Thursday, November 10 at 11 AM PT where the research team will present all of its findings. About Wallarm Wallarm end-to-end API security products provide robust protection for APIs, web applications, microservices, and serverless workloads running in cloud-native environments. Hundreds of Security and DevOps teams choose Wallarm to get unique visibility into malicious traffic, robust protection across their whole API portfolio, and automated incident response for better risk management. The company is committed to supporting modern tech stacks, offering dozens of deployment options in cloud and Kubernetes-based environments, and also provides a full cloud solution. Wallarm is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and is backed by Toba Capital, Y Сombinator, Partech, and other investors.

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AWS to Launch an Infrastructure Region in Thailand

Amazon Web Services | October 18, 2022

Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company, today announced plans to open an infrastructure Region in Thailand. The new AWS Asia Pacific (Bangkok) Region will consist of three Availability Zones, adding to the existing 87 Availability Zones across 27 geographic regions. Globally, AWS has now announced plans for 24 more Availability Zones across eight more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand. The upcoming AWS Region in Thailand will enable developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and nonprofit organizations, to run their applications and serve end users from AWS data centers located in Thailand, ensuring that customers who want to keep their data in Thailand can do so. In addition, as part of its commitment to the region, AWS plans an estimated investment of more than $5 billion (190 billion baht) in Thailand over 15 years. For more information about AWS Global Infrastructure, visit aws.amazon.com/about-aws/global-infrastructure. “We are committed to supporting Thailand's digital transformation through our local infrastructure investments and fast pace of innovation, helping Thailand-based customers unlock the full potential of the cloud to transform the way businesses and institutions serve their stakeholders,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of Infrastructure Services at AWS. “The AWS Asia Pacific (Bangkok) Region will enable organizations to build with AWS technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics, and Internet of Things. With these new tools, AWS is empowering governments to better engage with citizens, enterprises to innovate for their next phase of growth, and entrepreneurs to build businesses and compete on a global scale.” “AWS’s plan to build data centers in Thailand is a significant milestone that will bring advanced cloud computing services to more organizations and help us deliver our Thailand 4.0 ambition to create a digitized, value-based economy,” said His Excellency Mr. Supattanapong Punmeechaow, deputy prime minister of Thailand and minister of Energy. “The Royal Thai Government is pleased to collaborate with AWS, the world’s leading cloud service provider, to bring secure and resilient world-class cloud infrastructure to Thailand. 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Eight Thai higher education institutions in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, and Pathum Thani have incorporated AWS Academy courses into their curriculums. AWS also works directly with organizations like Siam Cement Group to help build in-demand cloud skills and train employees. AWS plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand on a skilling plan and provide support to train more than 1,200 employees with cloud skills, on-demand digital courses, and facilitated training events so that government employees can develop the skills needed to implement cloud technologies at scale, make better data-driven business decisions, and innovate new services to drive improved outcomes for citizens. To continue fostering entrepreneurship in Thailand, AWS offers support to early-stage startups through the AWS Activate program. 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By using AWS EdStart, these members have built innovative solutions that help students make informed decisions along their education journey, provide experiential learning opportunities for primary and secondary schools across the country, and enable virtual mentoring between students and entrepreneurs. Commitment to Sustainability Amazon is committed to becoming a more sustainable business and reaching net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement, as part of The Climate Pledge. Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge and became its first signatory in 2019. As part of its Climate Pledge commitment, Amazon is on a path to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the original 2030 target. Amazon is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, and as of the end of 2021, the company reached 85% renewable energy across its business. See Amazon's public methodology for more on its approach. 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