Robust, cost-effective, flexible. SvSAN: A virtual SAN made simple

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StorMagic SvSAN is a software-defined storage solution designed to run on two or more servers. It is uniquely architected with the combination of a light footprint, availability out-of-the-box, uncompromising performance and centralized management deployment across a remote and branch office environment.

SvSAN eliminates the need for a physical SAN which are costly, complex and present a single point of failure. With high availability out-of-the-box, business critical applications and IT services suffer no downtime and the removal of a SAN along with the low cost of commodity servers and storage lowers IT acquisition and operating cost. Thousands of large organizations and SMEs across 72 countries have already chosen SvSAN to modernize their IT infrastructure.

SvSAN supports the industry leading hypervisors, VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. It is installed as a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) requiring minimal server resources to provide the shared storage necessary to enable the advanced hypervisor features such as High-Availability/Failover Cluster, vMotion/Live Migration and VMware® Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)/Dynamic Optimization.

SvSAN can be deployed as a simple 2-node cluster, with the flexibility to meet changing capacity and performance needs. This is achieved by adding additional capacity to existing servers or by growing the SvSAN cluster, without impacting service availability. A typical 2-node SvSAN configuration is shown below:

SvSAN features overview

Synchronous mirroring/High availability
SvSAN synchronous mirroring ensures data is written to two SvSAN VSA nodes to protect against hardware failures and to ensure service uptime. Write operations only complete once acknowledged on both SvSAN VSAs. SvSAN clustering delivers the availability required by critical applications through monitoring the health of the SvSAN infrastructure and failing over the service to other available resources in the event of a hardware failure.

Stretched/Metro cluster support
SvSAN stretched clusters provide additional levels of resiliency eliminating the data center from being the single point of failure. VSAs can be geographically separated enabling copies of data to be stored in two separate locations.

Volume migration
The SvSAN volume migration feature transparently and non-disruptively migrates volume from one storage location to another. Both simple and mirrored targets can be migrated between storage pools on the same SvSAN VSA node or to another SvSAN VSA node entirely. Users can ensure that storage targets are optimally distributed and load-balanced over all the available SvSAN resources.

VSA restore (VMware only)
SvSAN VSA Restore simplifies and automates the recovery process of a SvSAN VSA node following a server failure or replacement, speeding up the recovery process and reducing the time to return storage to its optimal state.
• All SvSAN VSA configuration changes are automatically tracked and stored on another SvSAN VSA in the same cluster
• Mirror targets are automatically rebuilt and resynchronized, enabling highly available shared storage to be quickly returned to optimal service
• Simple targets can be automatically recreated, ready for data recovery from backup

VMware vSphere storage APIs – array integration (VAAI) support (VMware only)
Accelerating VMware I/O operations by offloading them to SvSAN.
• Supports the Write Same and Atomic Test & Set (ATS) primitives

Atomic Test & Set (ATS)
An enhanced locking mechanism designed to replace the use of SCSI reservations on VMFS volumes that provides granular locking of disk sectors rather than the whole disk, reducing disk contention issues and allows VMFS volumes to scale to much larger sizes.

Write Same
One of the most common virtual disk operations and is used to zero portions of the disk for:
• Cloning operations for “eagerzeroedthick” virtual disks
• Allocating new file blocks for thin provisioned virtual disks
• Initializing previous unwritten file blocks for “zerothick” virtual disks

Centralized monitoring and management
Monitor & manage SvSAN VSAs remotely from a single location. Multiple management options including WebGUI to perform individual VSA point management.
• PowerShell CLI for automated scripted VSA deployments, configuration, and management
• SvSAN plug-in provides seamless Integration with the VMware vCenter Web Client enabling alerts to be forwarded and captured on a single pane of glass
• Email Alert Notification using SMTP
• SNMP Integration with support for v2 & v3

Remote shared quorum
The Neutral Storage Host (NSH), acts as a quorum or tiebreaker and assists cluster leadership elections to eliminate “split-brain” scenarios.

A single NSH can be shared between multiple remote sites and employs a lightweight communication protocol, making efficient use of the available network connectivity allowing it to tolerate low bandwidth, high latency WAN links.

A number of supported NSH configurations are available including, local quorum, remote shared quorum or no quorum to suit different customer requirements.

I/O performance statistics
I/O performance statistics provide granular, historical I/O transaction, throughput and latency statistics for each volume, simplifying the troubleshooting of I/O performance issues, or identify I/O trends or patterns.
• Simple, intuitive graphical presentation
• Per iSCSI target statistics
• Displays minimum, maximum, and average values for daily, monthly, yearly time periods
• Data can be exported to CSV for further analysis

Multiple VSA deployment and upgrade
SvSAN has added improvements to the VSA deployment and upgrades. including the ability to deploy multiple VSAs through a single wizard, reducing the time to deploy SvSAN.

In addition to initial deployment, enhancements have been made to the StorMagic dashboard enabling multiple VSAs to be upgraded at the same time. Firmware is selected from a repository and installed onto multiple VSAs. This can be installed immediately or staged where the firmware is uploaded to the VSA in preparation for a later upgrade, for example, out-of-hours.

SvSAN handles the dependencies and performs a health check ensuring that there is no impact to environments during upgrades.

PowerShell script generation
When deploying SvSAN via the GUI it is now possible to automatically generate a custom PowerShell script. These scripts can then be used for mass deployments for large environments removing the need for user interaction.

SSD caching
The SSD caching feature uses a solid-state disk (SSD) to act as a cache for slower, low performance hard disk drives and is suitable for read-intensive workloads. All data is initially written to SSD, providing low latency and improving application response times for random I/O workloads. Data is efficiently de-staged from the SSD to the final storage location at a later time.

Subsequent reads of data previously written to the SSD are read from cache, further reducing the number of I/Os going to the hard disks.

Caching is enabled on a per target basis allowing users to select only the targets that need to benefit from I/O acceleration, ensuring that only important data is accelerated.

Memory based caching
Memory based caching uses server RAM to service read I/O requests removing the need to read the data directly from disk reducing latency and improving performance.

Frequently read data is cached in memory which benefits read dominant workloads. Memory based caching has two key features “Predictive Read Ahead” and “Data Pinning”.

Read ahead mode
Predictive read ahead algorithms are used to detect sequential read I/O patterns, with the primary goal to reduce disk head movements and reduce I/O latency.

The predictive read-ahead algorithms are aware of the “I/O blender” effect and can detect sequential patterns from multiple VMs. When sequential read patterns have been identified, additional related data is pre-fetched from disk into memory, ensuring that any subsequent reads are satisfied from memory without accessing the disk, lowering response times further.

Data pinning mode
The data pinning feature allows data to permanently reside in memory ensuring that the data is always available in cache providing the best performance for specific workloads.
During the “learning” mode, Data pinning records all the data blocks that have been accessed in a “pin map”. Multiple pin maps can be created for different workloads such as start of day system boot up or end of month end processing, once created pin maps are loaded and the cache is “warmed” with all the data, accelerating future I/O operations.

Intelligent automated tiering
Intelligent automated tiering employs sophisticated algorithms to monitor and analyze read I/Os, identifying frequently accessed data. A hierarchy of cache tiers using any combination of memory, SSD or hard disk are populated based on the data access frequency. The “hottest” data being automatically promoted to the memory or SSD tiers and the “colder” data being demoted to hard disk based on the frequency of access.

SvSAN system requirements

Hardware requirements

SvSAN has the following minimum hardware requirements:

CPU 1 x virtual CPU core
• 2GHz or higher reserved
Memory 1GB RAM1
Disk 2 x virtual storage devices used by VSA
• 1 x 512MB Boot device
• 1 x 20GB Journal Disk
Network 1 x 1Gb Ethernet
• Multiple interfaces required for resiliency
• 10Gb Ethernet is supported
• Jumbo frames supported

 

1Additional RAM required when caching is enabled

SvSAN works with any x86 server that exists on the VMware vSphere ESXi or Microsoft Hyper V Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). SvSAN will work with any supported internal server disk storage or JBOD array.

Hypervisor support

SvSAN works with industry standard hypervisors and is supported on the following versions of VMware vSphere ESXi and Microsoft Windows Server/Hyper-V Server:

StorMagic SvSAN
Hypervisor 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.0 6.1
VMware VMware vSphere 5.5 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
VMware vSphere 6.0 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
VMware vSphere 6.5 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150
Microsoft Microsoft Windows Server 2012 tick-150x150
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 tick-150x150
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 tick-150x150 tick-150x150

 

VMware vCenter support

StorMagic SvSAN
VMware vCenter version 5.1 5.2 5.3 6.0 6.1
VMware vCenter Server 5.5 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
VMware vCenter Server 6.0 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150 tick-150x150
VMware vCenter Server 6.5 & updates tick-150x150 tick-150x150

 

NSH operating system requirements

The SvSAN NSH can be installed onto a physical server or virtual machine with the following operating systems:

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit) Raspbian Jessie (32-bit)1
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 (64-bit) VMware vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)2
Microsoft Windows Server 2016 (64-bit) StorMagic SvSAN NSH Appliance
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016 (64-bit)

 

1On Raspberry Pi 1, 2 and 3
2VMware vSphere 5.5 and higher

NOTE: The NSH should be installed onto a server separate from the SvSAN VSA.

SvSAN licensing

StorMagic SvSAN is licensed based on usable VSA storage capacity.

SvSAN licenses are:

Available for 2TB, 6TB, 12TB & Unlimited usable storage capacities.
1 license per server.
Pricing based on 2 node license bundle (single licenses available)
Standard and Advanced editions

For SvSAN license pricing please contact sales@stormagic.com.

Evaluation licenses

A free, fully functional evaluation of SvSAN is available to download, enabling organizations to trial and experience the features and benefits of SvSAN, before purchasing.

For more information and to download an evaluation copy, visit: stormagic.com/trial.

During the trial period, evaluators will receive support and assistance with the first installation and a product demonstration.

SvSAN Maintenance & Support

SvSAN Maintenance & Support provides organizations with access to StorMagic support resources, including product updates, knowledgebase access, live-chat and email support with our technical support staff.

Two levels are available. A summary of each is shown in the table below:

Gold Support Platinum Support
Hours of operation 9 hours a day, Monday – Friday 24 hours a day*, 7 days a week
Length of service 1, 3 or 5 years 1, 3 or 5 years
Product updates Yes Yes
Access method Email
Web Chat
Email
Web Chat
Telephone
Response method Email
Telephone
Email
Telephone
Remote support / WebEx Yes Yes
Access to knowledgebase Yes Yes
Access to documentation Yes Yes
Disaster recovery assistance No Yes
Performance tuning No Yes
Upgrade assistance No Yes
SAN solution configuration Yes Yes
Maximum number of support administrators per contract 2 4
Number of support requests Unlimited Unlimited
Target response times
– Low 12 business hours 8 business hours
– Medium 8 business hours 4 business hours
– Critical 4 business hours 1 business hour
Business hours Monday – Friday Monday – Friday
Europe 8am – 8pm (GMT/BST) 8am – 8pm (GMT/BST)
North America 5am – 5pm (CST/CDT) 5am – 5pm (CST/CDT)

 

*Global, 24×7 support for critical issues

More information on SvSAN Maintenance & Support can be found at support.stormagic.com.

Click here to download this data sheet in PDF format.