Jan 10, 2014
Welcome to 2014, with best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year. This should be an exciting year with many challenges and opportunities in IT. Before we left on the year-end holidays I published 10 trend blog series, which I expect to see in 2014.
Among them was the growing adoption of private cloud, which would be facilitated by converged solutions, which are integrated with VMware and other hypervisors to provide a software-defined data center. Hitachi Unified Compute Platform with UCP Director integrated with VMware’s vSphere enables the whole infrastructure of server, storage, LAN, and SAN to be provisioned and automated through vCenter for easy private cloud deployment.
Over the holidays, Searchstorage published their Hot Data Storage Technologies for 2014, among which was Hyper Converged Storage Systems – “all-in-one products evolving from converged systems that include storage, networking and compute, but also pack in a hypervisor.” The advantage of Hyper Converged Storage Systems over converged storage systems like VCE is simplified provisioning and operations through the use of the hypervisor management interface.
This is a perfect description of Hitachi UCP/VMware implementation. However, the Searchstorage article goes on to say …. “Currently, hyper-converged systems are only offered by a few startups. Nutanix was the first with its Complete Cluster (now called the Virtual Computing Platform), SimpliVity debuted its OmniCube last year and Scale Computing launched its HC3 shortly after.”
If you look at converged solutions in their entirety, there are 3 dividing factors: Form Factor, Management, and Support. While we believe management is the primary factor driving customer adoption (in order to offset Infrastructure complexity and costs), much of the Hyper-converged sub-category discussions are focused around Form Factor.
If you look up these products, what they all have in common is they provide a single chassis as an appliance instead of a single rack as an appliance. They are 2 U appliances with DAS that run a hypervisor and connect to other appliance nodes through NFS to provide node fail over. There is no SAN and there is no LAN. They are easy to manage and, because they use commodity components, the entry price is low. For those customers that only want a single chassis, they may be attractive. However, for those who wish to scale there are bigger concerns, such as how to manage storage vs. compute capacity requirements when you get a fixed amount of both.
Highlighting this, IDC has chosen to label the sub category as “CompuStorage clusters”. In reality, the best Form Factor depends on the work you need to do. Do you need a sports car, a truck, or a motorcycle? They have similar components in different packaging but the real difference is the workload characteristics they are best suited for.
Coming back to management as the primary driver for converged. It must be easy to use, high quality, and feature-rich in order to realize the initial cost benefits of converged. However, in order to realize the full benefits long-term, one must also consider the form factor and support aspects of the solution. It’s about finding a perfect fit.
Hitachi UCP/VMware implementation is extremely easy to administer natively from within vCenter with much greater scalability and enterprise functions like policy based network provisioning (VLANs and Zones), dynamic tiering and placement of VM’s, fully automated SRM and storage replication, unified health and performance monitoring with VMware vCOPs, best in class automation and custom workflow creation with vCO and vCAC, all with hardware based VM offload and acceleration. When tied together with the excellence of award winning, Hitachi Global support it becomes a viable platform for the entire data center.
See for yourself by attending the VMUG (VM Users Group) Virtual Event on January 21. Register now here.
While attending the VMUG event, tune into Hitachi’s presentation:
“A Perfect Fit: Converged Solution for Software Defined Data Center”
You will hear how Hitachi’s Unified Platform can simplify the management and operations of your entire physical and virtual infrastructure through one familiar tool, vCenter. It not only provides simple and quick provisioning and automation of day to day operations, it also provides unified health and performance, monitoring and trouble shooting. See how that compares with other hyper converged storage systems.