Hardware DOESN’T Matter at the Edge

Published On: 27th April 2018//3.5 min read//

Hardware vendors will promote the message that hardware is a crucial element of any hyperconverged infrastructure solution.  They’d be right, to a degree, that the solution is advanced software running on hardware, therefore dependent on that hardware. However StorMagic SvSAN is focused at edge environments, where hardware flexibility helps keep costs down while still delivering enterprise datacenter functionality.

We’ve outlined six reasons why hardware is less critical at the edge:

1) Global IT hardware sourcing

The very nature of edge computing makes it critical that software is flexible enough to run on the hardware that is available to the administrator. While an ideal situation would see a cookie cutter approach to hardware, where all sites were able to deploy the same brand and version of  high powered servers, this is not realistic in most environments. When deploying across many locations, there are usually restrictions on budget or server vendor support capabilities that make it difficult. StorMagic’s global customers take advantage of the agnostic nature of SvSAN to run on the available server vendor in that country/location. A pure software approach like SvSAN is designed with this in mind and can run on any server.

2) Flexibility

We often recommend that our customers t-shirt size hardware. Having the same software stack means you can utilize the hardware that suits you, from Cisco UCS E-Series blades in a small branch office to a Lenovo SR650 with 100s of TB of storage and 20+ CPU cores for a large location. Many hyperconverged appliance providers will often suggest to customers that they need hardware that is more expensive and has significantly more power than their software actually requires. StorMagic seeks to eliminate the need for our customers to waste money on unnecessary hardware.

3) Removes hardware vendor lock-in

Some virtual storage software requires a user to buy their hardware to run it on. SvSAN’s perpetual licensing enables an admin to lift and shift existing software licenses to next-gen hardware as it comes along.  Rather than a ‘rip-and-replace’ strategy with potential large CAPEX overheads, our approach enables a change of server generation, change of internal hardware (like networking or storage), and even a change of vendor entirely, all of which can be carried out non-disruptively, maintaining uptime.

4) Security

Data protection is a hot topic – there has never been more pressure on organizations to ensure that their data is secure. This is particularly prevalent at the edge, where servers may not be operated with the same physical security as they are in larger data centers. While this can be remedied by implementing expensive, hard to procure self-encrypting drives, utilizing SvSAN with Data Encryption means that data is encrypted at a software level, removing disk drive vendor lock-in and enabling further flexibility.

5) Scalability

Typical hardware-centric hyperconverged appliances, force users to buy specific models that are difficult, or impossible to change. Scaling is achieved by adding more nodes, which typically leads to over-provisioning because compute, storage and networking don’t always need to be grown at the same time. With a software-centric approach like StorMagic’s, a customer can scale CPUs, memory, networking or storage independently within the existing server hardware already deployed or as additional nodes when desired. A site can run any combination of hard disks and/or SSDs depending on the workload and, if necessary, utilize performance-enhancing features such as read and write caching or data pinning which are included in SvSAN as part of its Predictive Storage Caching feature. This can even allow organizations to avoid having to scale entirely and simply leverage their existing resources more effectively.

6) Performance

The software approach allows users to size the hardware to customers’ exact requirements and eliminate over-provisioning. Rather than a strict appliance hardware compatibility list and forcing the customer to buy all-flash systems to deliver a few thousand IOPs you can size the hardware to suit you. Be it all-flash, hybrid with NVMe or enterprise value SSDs or even just all HDD.

Your hyperconverged infrastructure may not need expensive hardware, especially in an edge environment. StorMagic provides comprehensive hyperconverged solutions for edge environments, which can be run on any existing hardware – providing simple, low cost and flexible virtual storage solutions to the edge.

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