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Hyperconvergence & Why It Matters for Enterprise Cloud

Converged-Infrastructure_OVM

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.” – John Gall

Hyperconvergence is all the IT rage these days—even Gartner recently created a magic quadrant dedicated to the topic. With weekly announcements about multi-million dollar VC investments and new product releases, this space is still relatively young and pits some of the larger traditional vendors against a cast of emerging startups.

For all the buzz and spin around it, however, hyperconvergence itself is about simplicity—a minimalist approach that addresses many of the current cloud limitations and headaches. For example, a big challenge for today’s high-level IT decisions makers is finding a careful balance between the often competing technical, financial, and strategic priorities of their companies or clients. For most organizations, reducing the amount of time and effort that it takes to deploy new business-facing IT services is a complicated mess, and there are no clear paths for doing this easily, quickly, and affordably from launch to scale. The datacenter architecture is simply too rigid or too complex. Business units have to wait while IT prepares the environment, and then everyone crosses their fingers hoping there is sufficient resources to support demand and critical operations.
Hyperconverged infrastructure has the potential to help effectively address these issues, and in turn reduce or maybe even end the need for IT finger-crossing.

What is Hyperconvergence?

Converged systems are a natural progression from traditional IT infrastructure, which typically involves separate silos of systems and operations. In these legacy environments, storage, servers, and network are discrete elements that need to be coordinated, connected, and managed. The concept of converged systems combines two or more of these infrastructure components as a unified pre-engineered solution usually deployed on commodity hardware.

Hyperconverged systems take this concept of convergence to the next level. While converged systems are separate components engineered to work well together, hyperconverged systems are modular systems designed to scale out by adding additional modules.

Why Does it Matter to Enterprise IT?

“Software licenses for virtualization often cost more than the actual systems, and companies with hyper-scale data centers (e.g., Google and Amazon) don’t pay VMware or Microsoft for virtualization licenses — why should you?”  – Nimbox

One of the most significant advantages of this approach is leveraging a relatively simple design for a complex infrastructure environment. Normally, it could take months to design an infrastructure using a mix of best-in-class technologies. The differences between a hyperconverged system and servers with a bunch of disks are evident in engineering and software, with hyperconverged solutions leveraging improvements at the storage controller software layer to allow these systems to scale out.

In addition to the simplified architecture, there’s also a simplified administration model. The hyperconverged systems are managed via “a single pane of glass.” Instead of having a set of applications and a team to manage your storage array, a team to manage virtualization, and a team to manage the server hardware, one team (or in some environments one person) can manage the complete hyperconverged stack. What all this hardware simplification and architectural consolidation boils down to are immense savings and finally reasonable costs for scaling and growing out your Cloud IT footprint.

Platform or Appliance?

Most common definitions of hyperconvergence focus on appliances. The drawbacks to these appliances include the inability to make granular upgrades or tweaks to the system. Storage growth and performance tuning are also pain points for most organizations. If a cluster runs low on storage but not compute, you must still upgrade overall compute capability by adding another appliance. Likewise, if you want to tune storage disk configuration for a particular application, this can be a challenge, too.

In the past, the remedy for these drawbacks was the “build-your-own platform” approach. For many, the risk, lead-time, and cost of doing so were prohibitive, and most preferred to wait for solutions to mature and cover their platform requirements.

That wait is now over. OrionVM has built a platform that can be branded and deployed as an organization’s own hyperconverged cloud. The white-label functionality of this solution allows an organization to have unlimited levels of resellers and end users, bringing the advantages of simple design, decreased administrative overhead, and simplified vendor management to highly virtualized environments without the common drawbacks associated with appliances.

Simplifying the Datacenter

While the cloud continues to be considered not suitable for everything, the datacenter will continue to play an integral role for many companies. Even those companies that embrace the cloud are unlikely to move everything, so there remains a need to simplify the datacenter, especially when it comes to supporting new initiatives. Building datacenter environments is a lot of work and requires significant planning to ensure capacity. The emerging hyperconverged market can be of great assistance in meeting datacenter integration needs and can scale to fulfill requirements of even the largest of organizations. It also simplifies the datacenter by providing a one-stop shop for the entire environment with a single phone number for support.

With the demand for these solutions expected to rise significantly in the coming years, it seems likely that these organizations will dramatically alter the landscape of cloud providers, redefining how and by whom cloud services are sold. As IT departments are continually being directed more toward the business and less toward the technology, the need and desire to turn to solutions like the cloud and hyperconverged infrastructure will cause CIOs to simplify their datacenter and redistribute workloads in new and agile ways.

OrionVM – Taking Hyperconvergence to the Next Level Since 2010

OrionVM Hyperconverged architecture

Hyperconverged solutions are the future of cloud IT. These systems continue to garner a tremendous amount of momentum in the marketplace. Hyperconvergence is at the heart of what differentiates OrionVM from every other CSP out there, and is the cornerstone of what makes us different. But not all hyperconverged systems are created equal—OrionVM has a custom-built platform that possesses some unique features and, as a result, passes along some significant advantages. OrionVM has built its hyperconverged stack from the kernel up – we use open source tech e.g. Linux and XEN hypervisor, then combine that with supercomputer mojo (e.g., 40 gig low latency Inifniband interconnect as opposed to 10gig Ethernet.)  The end result is a complete homogenous, fully distributed scale-out architecture that delivers efficiencies and COGS reduction (power/hardware) unprecedented and unmatched in terms of cost/performance and combination of features.

The differentiators and advantages inherent in OrionVM’s hyperconverged wholesale cloud platform include:

  • Solves storage issues with a fully distributed block store that integrates compute, memory, and storage into single replicated nodes
  • No CAPEX: hyperconverged infrastructure offered as a platform vs. the high up front cost of buying an appliance
  • Can utilize preexisting assets such as datacenter capacity, network connectivity
  • Complete white label capability
  • Multi-tier reseller org management functionality
  • Wholesale model delivers sustainable cost advantages that increase in savings based on capacity commitments
  • Extreme performance/resiliency – up to 100,000 IO @ 4k in a VM with self-healing fully redundant architecture

For more detailed technical information on OrionVM technology, explore this blog post and keep an eye out for future posts that will expand on other groundbreaking technical advancements of the platform. OrionVM’s hyperconverged tech is market-tested and market-proven, running production workloads for Tier 1 telecoms, publicly traded SaaS orgs, and government agencies since 2010.

Conclusion: The Future of Hyperconvergence—“To Infinity and Beyond!”

Hyperconverged infrastructure will continue to gain market traction, marginalize legacy systems, and underpin the massive migration of IT to the cloud. Some interesting drama lie ahead as big name incumbents battle the upstarts and, in some cases, go head to head with the very vendors they enabled (see Nutanix vs. VMware). With its tech innovation, OrionVM is uniquely positioned to carve out a differentiated role and shake up this industry, as we empower a whole sector of service providers to instantly leverage all the benefits of hyperconverged infrastructure… but with a no-CAPEX IT-as-a-service business model and wholesale pricing.

Stay tuned for more posts, analysis, and exploration on this topic as it is fundamental to so much that is happening in the current cloud ecosystem.  Hyperconvergence is a key factor that finally allows businesses to leverage and benefit from the long-touted promise of the cloud.

For further information on partnering with OrionVM please visit our Channel Partner page, or contact us

The Cloud Street Fight: How Leading IT Broker Stratacore Wins with OrionVM Wholesale Cloud

We recently published a case study on our channel partner, StrataCore, an IT services consultancy and brokerage based in Seattle. Today, we thought that we would share their story and explore some exciting trends in the world of next-gen IaaS, wholesale cloud, and the rise of the IT broker. StrataCore began sourcing cloud services for their business clients a few years ago as demand for cloud began growing rapidly. Dealing with vendor selection and management can be problematic for IT executives, so StrataCore assumes the burden of selection, negotiation and ongoing management, thus saving time, mitigating risk and reducing costs. Brokers like Stratacore play a critical role in the booming cloud ecosystem as they help differentiate real value from spin, optimal configurations and vendors from a seemingly infinite set of hardware and software options, all the while balancing the often-competing technical, financial, and strategic priorities. Successful brokers like StrataCore do this with a holistic vision of a company’s goals so that their decisions do not detrimentally sacrifice one aspect (technical, financial, or strategic) in a manner that negatively impacts the overall health of a client’s business.

Broker+Client+OrionVM = Win-Win-Winning

StrataCore pairs a client’s need for a public, private, or hybrid cloud with the appropriate cloud service provider (CSP) to ensure that operational goals are achieved. With a multitude of vendors and services available today, it’s up to StrataCore to differentiate among them to identify the best possible fit for each particular project. A recent example of this was a NASDAQ-listed client who needed a CSP with presence in Australia that could deliver high-performing cloud IT in support of a multi-million dollar commercial SaaS application. After a thorough review of the market and various vendors, StrataCore referred OrionVM to their client as the best solution. OrionVM’s deployment was not only a success in terms of meeting cost, performance and timing requirements, but now is expanding to additional global POPS (points of presence). Complex deployment requirements, matched with an innovative cloud vendor, and StrataCore became the hero brokering a solution not otherwise possible via traditional options. Consequently, a happy client also means additional business and exemplifies the type of channel partnerships that provide ongoing value and profit for all involved parties. A true win-win-winning collaboration.

OrionVM’s groundbreaking tech suite sits squarely in StrataCore’s sweet spot: its firm commitment to providing the best possible solutions at the lowest possible cost to its clients. As a leading IaaS partner, OrionVM allows StrataCore to offer superior technical performance, huge CAPEX savings, and extreme flexibility for deploying premium cloud IT.

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Josh Gay, Director of Strategic Alliances, StrataCore

As Josh Gay, the Director of Strategic Alliances at StrataCore states:


“The stakes are high when deciding how to best deploy and scale a company’s IT, and OrionVM’s next-gen technology helps StrataCore deliver winning IaaS solutions for some of our top clients. OrionVM has cracked the code of how to build high-performing, extremely reliable cloud infrastructure—all at significantly lower price points than the offerings of bigger name vendors.”

By signing on as an OrionVM channel partner, StrataCore is now able to offer the tangible technical benefits of Cloud 2.0 to clients, which include:

  • A turnkey, custom-designed and built infrastructure platform that utilizes technology commonly found in supercomputers
  • The highest level of efficiency, with performance that allows migration of enterprise workloads
  • 40–1000 times the storage performance of a standard Amazon server, enabling clients to do more with less infrastructure
  • A fully redundant platform for rapid fail-over of servers in the event of an outage, ensuring resiliency with multiple copies of all data
  • Premium cloud IT built with a 50%+ reduction of the power/hardware footprint of prevailing Cloud 1.0 systems for huge cost savings

Advice for fellow IT Brokers and Resellers—proven innovators trump your misperceived allegiance to legacy vendors.

Identifying the best-in-class solution demanded by clients takes thorough research and vetting, and StrataCore stakes its reputation on the quality and reliability of its partner vendors. Successful deployments are the proof in the pudding, and satisfied clients ensure that this ongoing symbiotic relationship continues for the benefit of all. When it comes to sourcing CSPs, they look for companies that will not only meet the financial and technical requirements of the project, but they will be easy to work with, are well-supported, and provide tools and features that offer speed and efficiency when launching new systems. Additionally, by identifying breakthrough innovators like OrionVM, StrataCore sets clients up to win by delivering an infrastructure ROI not otherwise possible via legacy vendors, thus enabling clients to gain a real competitive advantage.

Cloud 2.0 changes the game – Is your CSP bonafide?

IT service providers have historically struggled between (1) the huge CAPEX and long development cycles of building their own cloud (BYO) and (2) the limited features/flexibility and hidden scaling costs of public retailers like AWS. Until now, there simply has not been cloud tech this cost-effective and powerful (in performance and reliability) to enable a third option between BYO and retail IaaS. OrionVM wholesale cloud delivers all the benefits of each approach, and amazingly, with none of the drawbacks.

This type of one-stop, complete turnkey cloud solution is unprecedented in the IT ecosystem, and thus, is truly a game-changer. Or as stated by BizCloud:


“OrionVM’s Wholesale Cloud Platform has the potential to really shake up the U.S. Infrastructure as a Service market. The breakthrough technology and fully distributed architecture of the platform enables cloud brokers and service providers to maximally monetize the cloud by rapidly delivering differentiated, enterprise-class cloud services while keeping costs down. By offering the best price-performance ratio on the market to its white-label partners, OrionVM enables them to compete more effectively with larger, more established cloud providers.”

OrionVM Venn Diagram

Summary: Cloud is a street fight – who really has your back?

We are entering a new realm of cloud computing as the next wave of technical innovation from emerging startups brings the dawn of Cloud 2.0, and with it, a new era of IT transformation and agility.

Alongside breakthroughs in disruptive IaaS technologies is the rise of the IT broker’s role in sourcing solutions, particularly for SMBs not beholden to legacy systems and therefore able to quickly move to or launch in the cloud. This new wholesale cloud superstructure presents a tremendous opportunity for service providers to capture market share. The global market for cloud services is expected to grow from $131 billion in 2013 to $244 billion by 2017 (source: PwC).

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

If your company is not leveraging these advancements of Cloud 2.0, and purchasing known quantities of cloud consumption at wholesale rates—then you are at a competitive disadvantage and probably throwing money and resources away on legacy Cloud 1.0 vendors and business models. OrionVM has flipped the cloud narrative, and though the saying goes that ‘nobody got fired for using IBM’, tech savvy CEOs and CFOs, not brand-hypnotized, may soon be asking their IT leaders, “Why didn’t we choose a CSP that allows us to easily launch stunningly secure and reliable enterprise cloud services, but at half the cost of our current big-name vendor?!?”

Ignorance will no longer be an acceptable answer.

Wholesale cloud capitalizes on 3 exploding global ICT trends

Welcome to the OrionVM Blog! Top 5 Lessons about Next-Gen IaaS and Wholesale Cloud

The launch of our OrionVM blog comes with auspicious timing, given the recent 25th birthday of the internet. We look to become a meaningful voice for a new generation of cloud technologies that will shape the next 25 years by redefining how and by whom enterprise ICT is managed and deployed.  We have discovered a few things about the industry since our inception in 2010. Read on for the top 5 lessons about next-gen IaaS and wholesale cloud computing that we have learned.

OrionVM’s message is a message of simplicity, innovation, and above all… possibilities; the business agility and profitability made possible when freed from traditional IT approaches to seize upon the many benefits of disruptive innovation. Engineering breakthroughs have enabled a whole new era of efficiency, flexibility, and performance for deploying cloud computing infrastructure. You need to ask yourself, do your technology partners fully leverage these innovations (is it in their DNA?) or do they ultimately have a legacy business to protect? As Larry Dignan states:

“Cloud-first players don’t have legacy businesses to protect. And cloud-first players don’t have sales commission models that will favor big licensing and maintenance deals over recurring revenue subscription models.”

We have ambitious plans for 2014 as we evangelize Cloud 2.0 and the wholesale business model that will enable a growing audience of integrators, VARs and IT solution providers to easily gain a cloud competency and successfully bring clients to market. High performing, premium cloud services – at wholesale prices, are the dream that OrionVM delivers. As Australia’s largest wholesale cloud provider, and now also in the US with the launch of our San Francisco office,  we have learned a few lessons and identified some key trends that you may find useful to consider:

“Global spending on cloud infrastructure to reach $285 Billion by 2017.”– HIS Tech, Feb. 2014

OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Venn

OrionVM’s wholesale cloud IaaS platform capitalizes on three exploding and disruptive global ICT trends

Top 5 Lessons about Next-Gen IaaS and Wholesale Cloud Computing:

  1. Not a commodity – selecting a CSP is strategic.  All clouds are not created equal. Your vendor selections engender many consequences in terms of features, flexibility, and hidden costs that you are wedded to for the duration of the relationship (sometimes longer). You must choose wisely.
  2. The current cloud incumbents have it all wrong — There are some fundamental limitations to how traditional cloud architecture is built. We will talk about the heart of the matter: the problems with 3 tier architectures and the corresponding cost of goods sold (COGS). Stay tuned.
  3. Margins do exist for IaaS resellers and channel partners. Despite what some analysts and CMOs might have you think, the dawn of Cloud 2.0 also brings great opportunity for the channel.
  4. A new approach to infrastructure might be exactly what your business needs.  In the words of Constellation Research, “As with all disruptive technologies, start with the business model, hone in on the business value, then chose the right technology”.
  5. The rise of IT brokers and how channel can challenge the enterprise. A new segment of providers is growing to meet the exploding demand for cloud, and their customers are wary of managing data centers, million dollar infrastructure investments, or worrying if a production environment can reliably scale to support high-traffic, mission-critical workloads.

Follow this blog frequently for relevant discussions and fresh perspectives about the emerging cloud ecosystem. You will gain technical deep dives from experts who are building platforms and tools that make the brave new world of Cloud 2.0 possible. Our mission is to help you better grow your business by making more informed IT decisions. We look to cut through the noise and ever-present “cloud-washing” that too often frame the cloud conversation. We will challenge the biases, agendas, and vested interests of incumbents (as well as our own) to offer real insight and a compelling dialogue to the booming industry of next generation cloud computing infrastructure.