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Items Tagged: SME


Integrated Disaster Recovery: Technologies for Comprehensive Storage Array Protection

DR has long been particularly challenging for the midmarket customer. It usually requires multiple layers and components, host-based software, replication gateways or appliances, and often array-based functionality that is licensed and managed separately. Add to this complexity the need for robust bandwidth or an expensive WAN optimization approach and it’s no surprise that DR can have a significant impact on both OPEX and CAPEX budgets.

The cost to manage all of these different elements can dwarf the cost of a primary storage system itself. The enterprise faces many of the same challenges, but they also have bigger budgets and more specialists to manage the complexity. Midmarket businesses and organizations may not have the same level of budget and specialists, but they certainly face the same challenges.

Recently, Taneja Group Labs put the StorTrends 3400i array through a Technology Validation exercise to evaluate how StorTrends measured up as a SMB/SME storage solution in terms of ease of use, performance, availability, adaptability, and innovative features. Over the course of our Technology Validation exercise, it was clear that one particular StorTrends capability rose above all others: StorTrends built-in multi-site WAN optimized data replication. Specifically, StorTrends suite of replication functionality looks poised to equip SMB and SME customers with the tools that for the first time makes robust DR really achievable. In this report, we’ll highlight what we found, and why it stood out.


Publish date: 09/06/12

StorTrends 3400i - Reinventing the value of storage

Selecting a primary storage solution is undoubtedly one of the most critical decisions an IT department can make. As the foundational piece of the modern datacenter, it represents perhaps the single most important piece of IT infrastructure for businesses large, medium or small. Business critical applications will live and breathe on the performance of the selected storage system, and business data will be inevitably constrained by the capacity of that storage system.

In the mid-market, making a storage investment can be particularly daunting, as the stakes are higher, and the selection is harder. Compared to larger enterprises, in the mid-market, storage dollars are fewer and harder to come by. Precious and often limited IT staff time is spread across more systems and technologies, their core skills are often not rooted in storage, and technically vetting a storage system can be all but impossible. This makes storage a risky proposition for the small enterprise (SME) and SMB customer. We frequently hear tales of storage system purchases where I/O is not sufficient, features are missing (or require additional licenses and cost to acquire), or where architectural compromises create availability issues that regularly impact the entire business.

For several years, the developers of the StorTrends line of NAS/SAN solutions have been working hard to architect a storage system for the mid-market that puts an end to these risks and compromises. By harnessing the engineering expertise from their parent American Megatrends, Inc. (AMI) – an innovator in storage and BIOS technologies – StorTrends has been tackling the challenge of delivering abundant performance, robust reliability, and feature rich storage with the SMB and SME customer in mind. Their claim is that the StorTrends 3400i is both one of the most cost effective choices in the market, and one of the most well rounded. 

In mid-2012, StorTrends caught our attention with these claims and a series of notable customer wins in a highly competitive market. To learn more, we approached StorTrends with the idea of a hands-on lab exercise, what we call a Technology Validation, to examine in more depth how StorTrends was delivering comprehensive value for customers in the mid-market space. Utilizing our proven validation methodology that included time spent at AMI headquarters in Norcross, GA, we put a set of StorTrends 3400i storage systems through the paces, with an eye toward examining several capabilities that StorTrends claims makes the 3400i one of the best value storage options in the mid-market.


Publish date: 12/10/12

The Dell FS7600 and FS7610 - Advancing unified, scalable storage

Unified storage – combined block and file storage from one system – has made serious inroads into customer datacenters over the past couple of years. It is little wonder, as it offers tremendous value and flexibility. Unified storage can serve up multiple types of data – both file and block – and help businesses support a wider number of storage demands from fewer better consolidated storage systems. The business in turn can increase storage utilization, simplify management of storage, and deliver storage services that are both more cost efficient and agile.

But despite these benefits, a historic compromise has often faced the unified storage customer. Unified storage systems were often highly capable, but lagged behind the most recent storage innovations in at least two key dimensions – adaptability and easy to use unified management. In terms of adaptability, the underlying architecture of many of these systems often made next generation capabilities like simultaneous performance and capacity scaling much harder to implement. In terms of management, these systems often fell short of allowing typical administrators to easily manage the increased functionality delivered by a unified system. 

In 2011, Dell announced the pairing of FS7500 NAS controllers with their family of EqualLogic iSCSI storage arrays – a solution set designed to unleash a new level of adaptability in unified storage. The FS7500 was no paltry piece of add-on equipment – it was in fact built for a considerable amount of performance that could make full use of big eight-array EqualLogic storage pools, which could contain up to 384 of the fastest disks on the market. Moreover, the FS7500 came with another powerful ingredient: when paired with EqualLogic storage, the combined system retained all of the classic EqualLogic scale-out capability (within the underlying iSCSI storage) while the FS7500 was itself also scalable, easily going from 2 to 4 controllers. 

This meant for the first time, the small and medium enterprise (SME) customer could purchase a truly scalable unified storage system from a major vendor – a system that could start small, and grow with them as their business needs changed over time. Just as importantly, these systems were nicely integrated. An FS7500 continued to leverage all of the SME-empowering management functionality within Dell’s class-leading (and free) Group Manager and SANHQ storage management tools, which are the same tools used to manage the iSCSI storage. We previously reviewed the FS7500 storage system in a hands-on Technology Validation exercise, available here.

Recently, Dell announced an update to the EqualLogic-paired FS family – the EqualLogic FS7600. To be clear, other Dell products exist based on the same underlying FS technology – Fluid FS – including the Dell MD storage-integrated NX3600 and the Dell Compellent storage-integrated FS8600. But with an eye toward our findings in our original FS7500 Technology Validation exercise, we were keenly interested in how the FS7600 may have advanced in a relatively short period of time since the FS7500 hit the market. This was all the more intriguing because Dell EqualLogic has long excelled in rapid storage capability innovation. A closer look revealed an all-new hardware architecture, the addition of several key storage capabilities, and some claims about performance improvements. In this Product Brief, we will examine the FS7600, and evaluate how well Dell has advanced capabilities and tackled some of the challenges in its first generation FS7500 NAS.

Publish date: 11/30/12

HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 - Enterprise for the Mid-range

Over the past couple of years the mid-range storage market has become a hotbed of on-going innovation. We’ve watched as products have entered the market from all sides – large vendors as well as the newest, hottest startups. Yet many of the apparently pioneering announcements leave the mid-market customer facing on-going challenges. A storage system is a foundational element of the IT infrastructure on top of which the rest of a business’s IT is deployed. For many, even the cutting edge solutions just coming to market lack in one or more critical dimensions. Typically, those shortcomings arise around critical elements of scalability or resiliency, forcing the organization to pursue complex workarounds to compensate. Customers too often settle for capacity at the cost of resiliency, and in turn weave together multiple systems and parts, such as replication, management, and even heterogeneous virtualization tools to try to offset the shortcomings. Other times, the mid-range customer has been undone simply by a demand for capabilities that bring with them far more complexity than the mid-range customer can take on. Even just ensuring that a system can perform sufficiently and scale with demand often mandates complex underlying configuration semantics, and significant expertise in managing disk groupings, extents, RAID levels, and more.

In reality, the mid-market demands enterprise capability – performance, resiliency, and features – but with an innovative level of simplification and a unique level of adaptability. Moreover, the mid-market is tremendously big, with a wider diversity of customers and needs than in the large enterprise. Building the biggest possible storage has long satisfied the sweet spot of enterprise customers. But in the mid-range, one customer may need smaller than a vendor can profitably build, while the next customer needs something bigger. More importantly, each of those customers may grow and change fast, and they need a storage system that can do likewise. It isn’t a sufficient answer to offer ten different products that each must be periodically replaced.

When we survey mid-range storage systems, we look at 5 key criteria (Table 1) that represent this intersection of challenges. Together, they make a complex recipe for established or new-coming vendors alike. But the bigger part of the challenge by far rests in carefully balancing that recipe without compromising any particular dimension, and then delivering the right price point to suit the mid-market of SMB and SME customers. An enterprise-class mix really requires enterprise-class architecture, but such an architecture can hardly be delivered at the right price points.

In an unusual twist, HP recently announced a new mid-market storage system built on 3PAR technology and preserving the same foundational enterprise-class architecture found beneath other HP 3PAR storage arrays that have long supported some of the largest IT infrastructures around. By preserving this architecture, advancing their reputational ease of use even further, and then packaging features and capabilities for the mid-market, HP has set their sights on delivering just what the mid-market demands: enterprise-class, but packaged for the mid-market customer. In this product-in-depth, we’ll take a look at the underpinnings of the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 family, and how and whether it comes together to deliver against these fundamental mid-market criteria.

Publish date: 12/03/12

Astute Expands ViSX Family of All Flash Performance Storage Appliances

Astute Networks™, Inc., the leading provider of performance storage appliances, today announced the expansion of the ViSX family of Performance Storage Appliances with enterprise-class data protection and a new MLC flash offering that will be particularly attractive to the small to medium enterprise (SME) and small-to-medium business (SMB) markets.

  • Premiered: 04/22/13
  • Author: Taneja Group
  • Published: MarketWire.com
Topic(s): TBA Astute Networks TBA SSD TBA replication TBA SME TBA SMB TBA Deduplication TBA flash storage

Got mid-sized workloads? Storwize family to the rescue

Myths prevail in the IT industry just as they do in every other facet of life. One common myth is that mid-sized workloads, exemplified by smaller versions of mission critical applications, are only to be found in mid-size companies. The reality is mid-sized workloads exist in businesses of all sizes. Another common fallacy is that small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) or departments within large organizations and Remote/Branch Offices (ROBOs) have lesser storage requirements than their larger enterprise counterparts. The reality is companies and groups of every size have business-critical applications and these workloads require enterprise-grade storage solutions that offer high-performance, reliability and strong security. The only difference is IT groups managing mid-sized workloads frequently have significant budget constraints. This is a tough combination and presents a big challenge for storage vendors striving to satisfy mid-sized workload needs.

A recent survey conducted by Taneja Group showed mid-size and enterprise needs for high-performance storage were best met by highly virtualized systems that minimize disruption to their current environment. Storage virtualization is key because it abstracts away all the differences of various storage boxes to create 1) a single virtualized storage pool 2) a common set of data services and 3) a common interface to manage storage resources. These storage virtualization capabilities are beneficial to the overall enterprise storage market and they are especially attractive to mid-sized storage customers because storage virtualization is the core underlying capability that drives efficiency and affordability.

The combination of affordability, manageability and enterprise-grade functionality is the core strength of the IBM Storwize family built upon IBM Spectrum Virtualize, the quintessential virtualization software that has been hardened for over a decade with IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC). Simply stated – few enterprise storage solutions match IBM Storwize’s ability to deliver enterprise-grade functionality at such a low cost. From storage virtualization and auto-tiering to real-time data compression and proven reliability, Storwize with Spectrum Virtualize offers an end-to-end storage footprint and centralized management that delivers highly efficient storage for mid-sized workloads, regardless of whether they exist in small or large companies.

In this paper, we will look at the key requirements for mid-sized storage and we will evaluate IBM Storwize with Spectrum Virtualize’s ability to tackle mid-sized workload requirements. We will also present an overview of IBM Storwize family and provide a comparison of the various models in the Storwize portfolio.

Publish date: 06/24/16