It is incredible that it already more than a year since my last post here at VDIcloud, and it’s even worse that I promised more content but never delivered. So let’s give it another try, and where better to start than with the Tech Field Days I’ve been to in the past. Let’s start with the last I’ve been to (also almost a year ago) at the NetApp Insight event in Las Vegas in 2018. As the next event will be this month, I thought it would be a good idea to see what they showcased last year, and then after the event this year compare and see what NetApp brings to the table.
How to give HCI power to the customer
We live in a world where data is worth more than oil, and companies are constantly looking for better and faster ways to utilize their data to the fullest. A lot of times we here about cloud, and instantly we think about Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform, but a lot of companies are still working on their own on-premises infrastructures albeit that more and more companies are trying to replicate the public cloud providers by utilizing Converged and Hyper Converged solutions. Bridging the gap between On-premises solutions and Public Cloud Providers is something that a lot companies are struggling with and for this they are looking at the HCI providers for help. NetApp is relatively late with their HCI solution, but that doesn’t mean that they’re providing the right solution for their customers.
NetApp’s view on HCI
During this presentation Gabriel goes deeper into what the focus is for NetApp HCI and provides answers on some of the important questions NetApp’s view on HCI. The presentation was focussed on what defines HCI, what types of HCI exist, and what are the benefits for customer. As always with the Field Day events there are some awesome delegates that have great questions an remarks on what the presenter is telling, and this presentation has some great remarks on HCI, CI and what the difference really is. I really loved the conversation on what the difference is between CI and HCI and what that means for the customer, but I do agree with Gabe that the biggest difference between CI and HCI is that CI comes by the rack and the stack is controlled by the vendor, where as with HCI you can start small and grow big. Both have their advantages, but if convergence started with the hyperscalers, HCI is much more in line than CI. NetApp offers a solutions that exists of Compute nodes and Storage Nodes that can be scaled independently of each other. This provides customers the ability to really disaggregate compute and storage, while still having the power of a single scalable and easy to maintain platform.
I’ve always looked at the HCI solution as a great step towards building on-premises cloud solutions (private cloud if that is a better name for you to use). The problem I’ve always seen with these solution is that the focus often seemed to be on the bringing the vendors solution to the customer and in doing so it is not always bringing the best solution to them. Hyper Converged Infrastructure for me is much more about bridging the private and public Cloud and for me the solutions that NetApp provide to its customers seems to meet these standards. So calling in Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure instead of Hyper Converged is a great one. Sure there is work that needs to be done by NetApp, but who knows what they will announce in a couple of weeks. Just watch the video and read the blogs below to have the best insights on the NetApp HCI solution. And don’t forget to visit the Tech Field Day Xtra site for this event here: https://techfieldday.com/event/netappinsight18/
I just wanted to shout out to my fellow TFDx delegates at this event that wrote some great insights to this preasentation:
Stormagic was one of the companies I didn’t know what to expect of during Storage Field Day 6. As one of many in the VSA market I just didn’t see the real value of another player on the VSA battlefield, BUT… As the title already reveals, Stormagic is one those awesome companies creating technology for a special market. They are not targeting becoming the next EMC or Nutanix, they want to help the companies in need of specialised technology.Let’s dive into the technology they offer and the companies needing this.
You can watch this presentation by Hans O’Sullivan (CEO) during SFD6 for more information on StorMagic SvSAN:
Based on linux, Stormagic SvSAN is a pupose build VSA to serve at the egde. Because of the SvSAN architecture it can run in on a hypervisor as well as on bare metal. As you can see, the product is based on iSCSI. That being said, because of the way SvSAN is build, there should be no problem to offer other protocols as well, whenever there is customer need. Stormagic accomplishes this by running SvSAN as a (sort of) stack in the user space and leveraging the Linux Asynchronous IO interface (including zero copy and direct access to storage devices) making it just as effecient as a kernel based product (I’ll have to try that for myself someday soon).
More information on this can be seen in this presentation by Chris Farey (CTO) during Storage Field Day 6:
So with a such well though technology, where does this fit into the customers environment? You might think this is a useable technology for the complete datacenter, and although it might very well be, it’s not where Stormagic SvSAN is build for. The technology is developed to serve at the edge of a datacenter. Using SvSAN there where it makes sense to have a high available but centrally managed solution for the business critical applications. With support for VMware as well as Hyper-V and a true hardware independent solution is what gives true strength to the SvSAN offering. This is what makes SvSAN a great solution for many use cases…
StorMagic SvSAN infrastructure
Central management through vCenter or StorMagic web GUI
You can watch this video for more information on the SvSAN product by Chris Farley:
So what are the use cases for StorMagic SvSAN? First of all it is a scalable and high available product that can be build with only 2 servers which makes it a great solution for smaller environments and Remote Offices at the edge of an environment where business critical applications run. Looking at the pricing of the product and the possibilties the product offers (High Availability/Central Management/VMware VAAI support/Caching/Storage Pooling and VSA restore technologies) reveals a great and mature solution that can be used for many environments. Using the Stomagic website here are the major fields Stormagic SvSAN is used:
Retail – stock control, customer and staff management, point-of-sale
Government – diplomatic communication platforms
Defense – battlefield control systems
Manufacturing – process control
Financial Services – customer transactions
Restaurant and Hospitality – booking and kitchen ordering systems
Transportation – vehicle positioning and monitoring
Energy – remote power generation plant control
Medical – PACS
More on the SvSAN use cases can be viewed in this presentation by Hans O’Sullivan during SFD6:
As said before I asked myself what to think of Stormagic SvSAN. After the presentation at SFD6 I really see where the true strength of SvSAN is. Does that mean there is nothing to improve? Absolutely not, there is always room for improvement, but as you can see in the presentation those questions were asked and I know the StorMagic people are more then happy to listen to your need for improvement and work on a solution as soon as there is a need. This is company knowing they can do well in a certain field and they keep improving to make sure they can offer a product to their customers that makes sense from their perspective and not because it’s another cool feature on the list….
Other Delegates on StorMagic:
A couple of delegates already blogged about StorMagic that you should read also, so here they are:
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event by the GestaltIT and they paid for travel and accommodation, I have not been compensated for my time and am not obliged to blog. Furthermore, the content is not reviewed, approved or published by any other person than me (Arjan Timmerman).