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Scale Computing HC3:  Ending complexity with a hyper-converged, virtual infrastructure Login

Scale Computing HC3:  Ending complexity with a hyper-converged, virtual infrastructure

Consolidation and enhanced management enabled by virtualization has revolutionized the practice of IT around the world over the past few years. By abstracting compute from the underlying hardware systems, and enabling oversubscription of physical systems by many virtual workloads, IT has been able to pack more systems into the data center than ever before. Moreover, for the first time in seemingly decades, IT has also taken a serious leap ahead in management as this same virtual infrastructure has wrapped the virtualized workload with better capabilities than ever before – tools like increased visibility, fast provisioning, enhanced cloning, and better data protection. The net result has been a serious increase in overall IT efficiency.

But not all is love and roses with the virtual infrastructure. In the face of serious benefits and consequent rampant adoption, virtualization continues to advance, and bring about more capability. All too often, an increase in capability has come at the cost of introducing considerable complexity. Virtualization now promises to do everything from serving up compute instances, to providing network infrastructure and network security, to enabling private clouds. Complex it can be.

For certain, much of this complexity exists between the individual physical infrastructures that IT must touch, and the simultaneous duplication that virtualization often brings into the picture. Virtual and physical networks must now be integrated, the relationship between virtual and physical servers must be tracked, and the administrator can barely answer with certainty whether key storage functions, like snapshots, should be managed on physical storage systems or in the virtual infrastructure.

With challenges surrounding increasing virtual complexity driving their vision of a better way to do IT, Scale Computing, long a provider of scale-out storage for the SMB, recently introduced a new line of technology – a product labeled HC3, or Hyper Convergence 3. HC3 is an integration of scale-out storage and scale-out virtualized compute within a single building block architecture that couples all of the elements of a virtual data center together inside one single system. The promised result is a system that is simple to use, and does away with the management and complexity overhead associated with virtualization in the data center. By virtualizing and intermingling all compute and storage inside a system that is already designed for scale-out, HC3 does away with the need to manage virtual networks, assemble complex clusters, provision and manage storage, and a bevy of day to day administrative tasks. Provisioning additional resources – any resource – becomes one-click-easy, and adding more physical resources as the business grows is reduced to a simple 2-minute exercise.

While this sounds compelling on the surface, Taneja Group recently turned our Technology Validation service – our hands-on lab service – to the task of evaluating whether Scale Computing’s HC3 could deliver on these promises in the real world. For this task, we put several HC3 clusters through the paces to see how they deployed, how they held up under use, and what specialized features they delivered that might go beyond the features found in traditional integrations of separate compute and storage systems.


Publish date: 08/30/12

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