Most converged infrastructures are designed to help enterprise data centers rapidly roll-out virtual infrastructures. As we discuss in our column “What Are Converged Infrastructures? – Hardware Convergence” many of these converged systems are a pre-integrated optimization of independent hardware solutions. Scale Computing targets a different market, the small-to-medium enterprise (SME), that requires a different approach. With the 6.0 release of their operating environment, Hypercore, they have made their HC3 architecture an even better fit for the SME.
What is HC3
The Scale Computing environment is a turnkey solution that provides a SME data center with server hardware, virtualization software and storage, all managed from a single, unified interface. A typical starter configuration is three server nodes with enough computing and storage resources to host most of the SME application environment. It is important to note that Scale does not use VMware, instead they use a form of KVM. This keeps costs down and allows Scale to customize the virtualization experience for the SME administrator. The Hypercore interface hides the inner-workings of KVM from the organization.
That interface is a big part of the 6.0 upgrade. Scale has created streamlined workflows for administrators surrounded by a new intuitive design. This is critical for the SME, since the “server guy” at these companies is also usually the “storage guy”, the “network guy” and the “desktop/laptop guy”. Workflows allow an administrator to be guided through whatever virtualization task is needed and get back to doing other things (like troubleshooting the network or providing desktop support).
Integrated Backup and Disaster Recovery
Scale Computing’s HC3 also includes built-in backup and disaster recovery (DR). First, the HC3 software can take near continuous snapshots locally between nodes, allowing a node failure or data corruption to be addressed via a quick rollback to a prior snapshot. Second, the platform performs continuous replication to a secondary HC3 cluster in a secondary site. Failover to the secondary site can be triggered manually from almost any device.
The HC3 Environment comes in three configurations:
- The HC1000 is a three node system that has 96GB of RAM and three quad-core Intel CPUs, up to 24TB of raw storage based on 12 SATA drives and either 1GbE or 10GbE networking.
- The HC2000 includes 192GB of RAM and 3 HEX core Intel CPUs. Storage is SAS based, with 12 SAS 10K or 15K drives with up to 14.4TB of capacity.
- The HC3000 includes 384GB of RAM and 6 HEX core Intel CPUs. Storage is SAS based with 24 10K drive delivering up to 28.8TB of storage.
An SME is a small-to-medium sized business (SMB) that has grown large enough to have something that resembles a data center (although it could be a broom closet). These businesses have applications to run, and while often ignored by virtualization vendors, they have the most to benefit from this technology. But the IT staff, (often a ‘staff’ of one), is stretched very thin at these organizations. Scale Computing’s focus of delivering turnkey, simple-to-operate, converged infrastructures could be just what the doctor ordered for SMEs.