Businesses supporting multiple remote locations often find that they cannot leverage the cloud to service their end users in the field. For example, large retail chains sometimes have a need to support hundreds of stores across the United States. While some applications, like Email and web services, can be consolidated and centrally managed in a main data center, revenue generating systems often need to be serviced directly out of the location that the point-of-sale transaction is taking place.
But deploying dedicated SAN and NAS infrastructure can sometimes be cost prohibitive, particularly if hundreds of individual units need to be purchased. Likewise, ongoing operational complexity can be equally daunting since most remote office locations don’t have dedicated IT people on hand to manage storage resources. StorMagic has an offering that makes virtual SAN deployment cost-effective and simple to manage.
Keeping It Virtual
As a hardware agnostic solution, StorMagic’s virtual SAN software (SvSAN) runs on a modified Linux kernel and is installed as a virtual machine (VM) on either a VMware or Hyper-V host. Once installed, the software aggregates the internal disk resources on the server and carves them up into virtual disks that can then be distributed amongst all the VMs on the host. SvSAN is typically implemented on two hosts in an active-active configuration for high availability. So if one host goes down, the other host can manage all the application workloads, in a slightly degraded mode, until the active-active pair can be re-established.
Centralized Control/Local High Performance
What makes this offering particularly advantageous for large enterprises is the fact that no physical storage equipment needs to be purchased, shipped and implemented at the remote site. Instead, existing internal server disk can be utilized to provision storage capacity to local VMs. Additionally, rolling out the software can be scripted and centrally managed that way there is no need to dispatch engineers or worse, get a non-technical person at the branch office involved with the integration effort.
The SvSAN software is available on a 60-day trial basis, so giving it a test drive is a relatively low cost and low risk way to see if you’re remote applications can benefit from highly available, distributed virtual storage.
StorMagic has had success competing in the server-side, virtual storage market space. They attribute that success to both the maturity of their technology and its low total cost of ownership when compared to similar offerings.
Storage Swiss Take
Virtual server-side SAN technology is nothing new but it has attracted a lot of attention recently due to some very noteworthy companies, like VMware, entering the space. This has served to “re-legitimize” the idea of taking a software approach for solving a storage provisioning issue; particularly in virtualized environments. But maturity counts. So IT planners considering these offerings will want to pay extra scrutiny to whether these solutions have a well established base of customers and a proven track record of success.
StorMagic is not a client of Storage Switzerland