Scale Computing was the last and final vendor to do a presentation last week at Tech Field Day - VFD4 (Virtualization Field Day 4) in Austin, TX. I really appreciated their style of presenting. Very laid back and deep knowledge of their product. Below is a snippet from their website that explains what Scale Computing is about….
Scale Computing integrates storage, servers, and virtualization software into an all-in-one appliance based system that is scalable, self-healing and as easy to manage as a single server. Using industry standard components, the HC3™ appliances install in under an hour, and can be expanded and upgraded with no downtime. High availability insulates the user from any disk or server failure and a unified management capability driven by the patented HyperCore Software™, efficiently integrates all functionality. The result is a data center solution that reduces operational complexity, allows a faster response to business issues, and dramatically reduces costs.
Scale Computing has been around as a Hyper-Converged platform since 2009. So they were an early adopter of this sort of platform (before it was cool).
Scale Computing is extremely focused on who their target customer is, which is the SMB market. They are not in business to get into the enterprise and their goal is to put VMware out of business (Their words, not mine :) ). Their design is built to allow SMB shops to deploy VMs and clone existing VMs without much effort. However you may not necessarily get all of the bells and whistles that you would get with a VMware solution but what they do, they do very well. They have built their converged design based around KVM (QEMU) hypervisor and their storage design is built around SCRIBE, which was built by Phil White, Chief Software Architect for Scale Computing. For a great demonstration of what SCRIBE is head over to this presentation from Storage Field Day 4. SCRIBE is very interesting and has a very elaborate snapshot mechanism. I highly recommend checking out the presentation above as well as this one.
The user interface to some may seem a little lacking but that is by design to keep the interface simple. Again, this is not a solution that is built to be in the enterprise (even though it could be). Their solution is cluster based and can grow as your needs increase. The initial setup requires 3-nodes to build the initial cluster and each node provides storage and compute to the cluster and then additional nodes can be added to the cluster at a later time. You can also mix and match the different model types that they sell within a cluster. The ability to live motion VMs between nodes in the cluster works extremely well and being that their solution is based on KVM (QEMU) the issues between different instruction sets (EVC mode in VMware) is not as much of a problem.
Potential use cases that come to mind with this outside of ROBO would be potentially a retail POS back-office scenario. This could be an easy deployment model for retail chains to use if the need for their POS systems is to remain in the store itself and not be ran from the datacenter. You could have a centralized Scale Computing cluster in your datacenter which could be a replication target for all of your retail stores providing DR/BC for each store. Another use case that was discussed was a VDI type environment running on Scale Computing. This is not a supported solution at this time and they do not currently have a broker for VDI but services could be provided via RDP and RemoteFX for Windows.
All support for Scale Computing platforms is provided through Scale Computing. This is important because their hardware platform is based on Dell servers and SuperMicro. Remote support via the internet is available for all solutions assuming that the customer allows this into their environment. So this allows support to directly connect into the customers environment to troubleshoot and resolve any issues.
Scale Computing’s pricing model is very compelling and they provide a very simple pricing model. So no additional SKU’s for additional features and such. Very nice!
I fully intend on reaching out to Scale Computing and requesting some lab time and get my hands into their product a little more in depth and provide some additional posts in the future.
DISCLAIMER: All meals, travel and entertainment was provided by Gestalt IT. However Gestalt IT nor the Vendor have provided any type of compensation to write-up any portion of this article. The information contained within this article are solely my views and take aways.