Scale Computing Provides Hyperconverged Infrastructure for the SMB
In the quest for unending growth, many technology startups focus squarely on the midmarket space and above, hoping for huge deals that can boost their bottom lines, often on the way to raising more venture capital or even an IPO. Frankly, there is nothing at all wrong with this approach; it’s a proven strategy that carries with it the potential for ig benefits and big success down the line.
The unfortunate outcome, though, is that companies in the SMB and even the lower end of the midmarket may not have needs that justify even the bare minimum configurations offered by many players in the hyperconverged market. Moreover, small companies for whom technology is simply a tool and not their business may feel an even greater urgency in controlling technology costs than other organizations. Many times, such organizations have a handful – or even just one or two – IT staff members that have to hold the whole thing together.
This doesn’t mean that small companies don’t have the same broad needs as larger companies, including:
- Heavy virtualization
- Lots of storage
- Data protection
- Disaster recovery
- Easy administration
However, as mentioned, all of these needs must be met with very few IT staff people to handle the load and with budgets that are often pretty small.
This is where Scale Computing and hyperconverged infrastructure come in. What I like about Scale is that, despite the company name, they think small. That’s not to say that they can’t think big – their architecture is perfectly suited to larger scale – but at present, the company is working hard to provide modern data center (or server room in small places) solutions that can meet all of the needs described above and at a price that the SMB budget can handle.
Heavy Virtualization (At No Extra Cost)
Scale Computing’s products – their HC3 and HC3x appliances – are based the open source KVM hypervisor. Scale has taken KVM and extended its capabilities to provide robust enterprise grade features such as replication and other data protection features. Moreover, Scale’s implementation centralizes administration into a single console to help bring ease of use to the SMB data center.
Lots of Storage
With Scale’s HC3, each starter cluster come configured with 6TB, 12TB, or 24TB of capacity. The HC3x performance-focused cluster comes equipped with 7.2TB, 10.8TB, or 14.4TB of capacity. To add more capacity if things get right, companies can simply add an additional node to an existing cluster. Scale uses a wide striping methodology to maximize storage performance.
The same scaling process goes for expanding RAM and compute capability.
Data Protection and Disaster Recovery
As mentioned before, KVM builds into its product data protection
- HC3 Protect. All of the benefits of RAID 10, plus more, including protection against disk AND node failures, rebuilds in minutes instead of hours, and automatic 2 sets of copies.
- HC3 VM Failover. If a node fails, HC3 automatically determines where there is capacity, and moves VMs to those nodes.
- HC3 High Availability. All VMs have integrated high availability, so you no longer have to worry about downtime.
Like most hyperconverged offerings, Scale’s own system vastly simplifies the administrative experience for the data center environment by bringing all pertinent functions into a single console and treating the virtual machine as the center of the universe. This is different than other more distributed traditional systems that require the creation of LUNs, RAID groups and the like. Bear in mind that, in smaller environments, there might be very few people performing tasks across the whole environment, so their knowledge level may not be as deep as those that have to focus their entire effort on, for example, just storage.
The Hypervisor Question
Some may feel that Scale has to overcome is its use of KVM as the hypervisor. However, in speaking with Scale, they indicated that their customers and potential customers have not seen this as a problem. Instead, there is a focus on the necessary outcome – a stable, reliable, and protected environment upon which to operate business workloads. The input – and the hypervisor is just one – isn’t as critical as what can be done with the environment.
I’m a big fan of hyperconverged infrastructure due to its potential to simplify the data center, but it’s not for everyone. For the SMB, though, Scale provides a compelling solution at a price that is difficult to ignore.