Maxta’s MaxDeploy Changes the Hyperconvergence Game
I try to stay current when it comes to virtualization and storage topics and have a particular interest these days in hyperconverged infrastructure. I am a believer in the potential of this data center architectural option because it simplifies the data center “inputs” while also providing positive outcomes. Of course, hyperconvergence is not for everyone, but I believe that it’s an option that should be explored by anyone managing or supporting a mainstream data center environment. Besides the potential for lower overall capital expenditures due to the use of commodity hardware, hyperconverged infrastructure also has the potential to benefit the operational side of the budget thanks to simplified deployment, operations, and scaling capabilities.
However, for all of my efforts to stay current, I missed something significant. You see, in early 2014, I visited Maxta headquarters and learned about their MxSP software-led hyperconverged infrastructure solution. At the time, Maxta was selling software only and providing customers with reference architectures and a hardware compatibility list. Customers would buy their own hardware, procure the Maxta software, install the software, and then be on their merry way with a hyperconverged infrastructure solution. While the flexibility and choice that this approach provided enabled a great deal of flexibility and granularity, it wasn’t as simple to procure and deploy as appliance-based solutions.
And then, in August of 2014, Maxta announced what they call MaxDeploy. This is where I made a mistake and missed a critical piece of information. I thought MaxDeploy was just a series of reference architectures that Maxta developed in order to help potential customers build solutions upon which they could rely. In case you don’t know, a reference architecture is basically a recipe that tells you steps to take to build a similar environment and what you might be able to expect from that environment. Even if MaxDeploy was just a reference architecture that helped customers choose the best hardware for their needs, that would have been good.
However, as I recently discovered, MaxDeploy is far more. As I was writing a paper for Maxta, Yoram – Maxta’s CEO – and Carolyn – Maxta’s VP of Marketing – could tell that I was missing the bubble, so they arranged a call between the three of us. As soon as Yoram finished giving me an overview of what MaxDeploy really is, the light bulb went off and I realized my error and also realize the implications… which are very good.
MaxDeploy is a process by which customers buy appliances with the Maxta software already installed. It’s an appliance model, not a software + separate hardware model. However, unlike other appliance-based vendors, customers can choose their server hardware vendor, with options that include HP, Dell, Cisco, Lenovo, Quanta, and Supermicro. For those that want or need the goodies that come with Cisco, they are more than welcome to pay the premium and get Cisco servers with Maxta software already installed. For those that want to go the commodity route and save money on the hardware, Supermicro is fully supported. Maxta’s site has a configuration tool that helps customers understand what hardware they need in order to meet certain goals. For example, if you want to deploy a 500-seat VDI solution using HP servers, you need four servers, that are configured as shown in the figure below. Maxta does the heavy lifting here. Once you’ve narrowed down you choice, you get a quote from a Maxta channel partner and the solution is delivered to you as a single purchase, thus keeping the promise of a simplified procurement and deployment experience that is one of the promises of hyperconverged infrastructure.
For those that really want to buy their own hardware and procure Maxta separately, they can still buy MxSP and install it on their own. Maxta’s reference architecture remain perfectly viable and, when it comes down to it, MaxDeploy is really an extension of these constructs that moves the recipe-building from the customer to the vendor.
I really like Maxta’s model. It provides customers with all kinds of flexibility while still maintaining the operational benefits that are expected from hyperconverged infrastructure. I think the company has a great opportunity with MaxDeploy and it has the potential to be a real game changer in this space.
If you’d like to learn more about Maxta’s approach to hyperconverged infrastructure, my paper on the topic can be found here.
Disclaimer: ActualTech Media, the company that operates EnterpriseStorageGuide.com, was paid to provide the white paper linked to in this article. However, all thoughts here are my own.