Hyper-Converged Reviews
by Adam Armstrong

DataCore HCI-Flex Appliance Review

In July, DataCore announced DataCore ONE, the company’s vision for the software-defined storage (SDS) industry. As part of the launch, DataCore released a new turnkey hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliance. The HCI-Flex appliance merges the flexibility of hyperconverged with the flexibility of SDS into a single appliance that comes pre-installed with either VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V, as well as DataCore’s advanced data services including smart caching, thin provisioning, dynamic-auto-tiering, and Parallel I/O acceleration.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

StarWind HyperConverged Appliance Review

StarWind offers a line of Microsoft Windows based HyperConverged Appliances (HCA) designed to meet the needs of SMBs and other use cases that are generally budget constrained. Their portfolio includes 20 unique solutions which fall into three broad model lines the HCA All-Flash, HCA Hybrid, and HCA Disk. The All-Flash is designed for small and mid-size SMB virtualized environments and this configuration provides the best performance. The Hybrid models are built to deliver high storage capacity and great performance without having to go all-flash. Additionally, the Hybrid models utilize automated storage tiering to handle performance-intensive workloads in a cost-efficient manner. This platform offers a balance between performance and cost. The Disk models are built to provide high storage capacity and moderate compute power for capacity-hungry applications. This is a high capacity option with the best cost per GB value. 

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Western Digital Ultrastar DC SN630 VMware vSAN Review

Western Digital launched the Ultrastar DC SN630 in February of this year, as part of a refresh and rebranding of their Ultrastar line (formerly HGST) of data center drives. Within this portfolio Western Digital has several enterprise NVMe SSD offerings with the SN200 taking the throne as the performance leader and the new SN630 replaces the SN620 in the mainstream single port NVMe space, which is an increasingly popular alternative to SATA and SAS SSDs. The SN630, which is Western Digital's workhorse NVMe SSD comes tuned either for read-centric workloads or high-endurance mixed-use workloads. The drive construction in either case is the same, the functional difference in the level of overprovisioning that goes into the drive, which in turn produces the desired endurance rating.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI Review (DataON HCI-224 with Intel Optane NVMe)

So far we’ve dived deep into the Microsoft Azure Stack HCI, the on-premise implementation of Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. Azure Stack HCI can be seen as a best-of-both-worlds type of platform. It has all the management tools from Azure like Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center, Azure Update Management, Azure Network Adapter, and Azure Site Recovery, while housing the data on-prem and meeting certain regulations. Azure Stack HCI is broken down into three parts: software defined architecture, Azure services, and hardware. 

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by Brian Beeler

Hands On with HPE SimpliVity

Recently Kevin and I took a trip to Westborough, Massachusetts (unironically west of Boston) to visit the original, and still current home of what is now HPE SimpliVity. We met with Vinay Jonnakuti, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, and Chuck Wood in Product Marketing for HPE, both of whom were with the orignal SimpliVity team. SimpliVity started back in 2009 and was an original disruptor in what would come to be known as hyperconverged infrastructure. Now we're coming up on the two-year anniversary of HPE's purchase of SimpliVity. The match thus far appears to be working, as the SimpliVity team continues to develop the platform in their original offices, backed by the heft of HPE. More than just a big company though, HPE has leading server platforms which are fundamental to the success of HPE SimpliVity.

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell EMC VxRail P570F Review

The Dell EMC VxRail family of appliances are hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) underpinned by VMware vSAN. VxRail has long been the lead product when VMware talks about vSAN, as the concept of deploying and managing the VxRail appliance is appealing to many. Of course, Dell EMC and others sell vSAN Ready Nodes for those who want a little more control over server configuration. VxRail isn't new to the lab as we wrote about the features like streamlined deployment and rigorous compatibility testing that Dell EMC brings to the table in early 2017. Much has changed since then; primarily Dell EMC has migrated off whitebox servers to PowerEdge servers. This is not an insignificant change, primarily because PowerEdge servers bring additional management and reliability features to the table that VxRail appliances can benefit from, further strengthening the Dell EMC/VMware value proposition when discussing the benefits of the VxRail appliance vs. Ready Nodes or roll your own options.

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by Adam Armstrong

VMware vSAN with Intel Optane Review

We’ve talked about it and teased you with it, and now we are finally delivering the VMware vSAN with Intel Optane Review. This will mark the third major review of vSAN starting with a multi-part review of a hybrid vSAN 6.0 followed up by an all-flash review of vSAN 6.2. This go-round, instead of leveraging our Dell PowerEdge R730xd cluster, we are using Supermicro’s 2029U-TN24R4T+ 2U, 24-bay server running vSAN 6.7. For storage we are using an all NVMe configuration with Intel Optane P4800X (375GB) SSDs for the write tier as well as Intel P4500 (2TB) SSDs for capacity tier.

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by Brian Beeler

VMware vRealize Operations 6.6 for vSAN Review

VMware vSAN has delivered on the promise of HCI in large part by simplifying the purchase, deployment and maintanence of vSAN clusters, while still delivering on performance and data services requirements. In June VMware made sweeping updates to the intelligence side of the house, by adding or enhancing vSAN support for vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations and vRealize Log Insight. vRealize Operations 6.6 now pulls together all management functions in one integrated platform. In this review we take a look at the new enhancements through the lens of vSAN, highlighting the new and updated features across the vROps spectrum that VMware identifies as; Ensure Readyness, Operationalize vSAN and Optimize and Scale vSAN. 

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by Mark Kidd

Dell EMC VxRail Overview

VxRail is part of Dell EMC's hyper-converged infrastructure offerings, bringing together a streamlined hardware, operating system, and software stack for implementing VMware vSAN. The VxRail family competes in a marketplace where other major vendors offer two paths to hyper-converged infrastructure: either vendor-specific systems or vSAN ready nodes. VxRail takes a third route, making it as straightforward as possible to deploy vSAN via dedicated appliance nodes with tight VMware integration, rigorous component testing and single-vendor support. Our aim in this portion of our vSAN coverage is to highlight the benefits of VxRail when it comes to deploying vSAN in an organization. 

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by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Dell EMC VxRack Node Powered By ScaleIO Review: Wrap-Up

Over many months, StorageReview has been testing and analyzing two Dell EMC VCE VxRack Node all flash PF100 clusters – which is the predecessor to the recently released Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Node. One set of tests centered on the system configured in HCI, and the other in two-layer. If this sounds a bit strange, it is, as no storage is more flexible than ScaleIO. Hyperconverged is typically that; compute and storage combined into the same easy-to-manage platform. And just as it sounds two-layer is the separation of storage and compute as is typical in a traditional architecture. Dell EMC ScaleIO eschews the strict definition of both notions, allowing an enterprise to configure either way, or both ways. The Dell EMC ScaleIO solution meets the demands of organizations that want the best of each world, whenever they like.

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