Raising the Bar on Hyperconvergence, Storage and QoS

Pivot3 Briefing Note

IT professionals have a lot of choices to make when they design their next generation infrastructure. They have to choose between a hyperconverged offering that consolidates compute, storage and networking into a single tier or a more traditional design with dedicated tiers for each of the three. The reality is neither solution can do it all. Certain workloads will perform better or be more consistent on, for example, compute over storage, or networking over compute. As a result, many data centers today have some environments that are leveraging hyperconverged and others that are sticking with the tried and true multi-tier architecture.

Common Challenges

Whether an application or environment is running on hyperconverged or a traditional architecture, there are some common challenges. At the top of the list is delivering a consistent performance experience to users. Guaranteeing performance is especially challenging in hyperconverged environments. But even environments with a dedicated storage infrastructure struggle to make sure the right application receives the right level of performance.

Another challenge both architectures face is dealing with the reality that there are times when the other architecture may be better suited for a particular workload or situation. An application may need the dedicated performance of a storage array, or a hyperconverged architecture may need additional capacity but not additional compute. Surprisingly, most hyperconverged architectures have no way to extend themselves and leverage shared storage. Those few that do lose their simplicity, because the shared storage system has to be managed separately and does not share the same feature set.

Pivot3 – Intelligently Converging Hyperconverged and Shared Storage

Pivot3 provides a hyperconverged solution that has a shared all-flash array integrated as a tier. It leverages the Pivot3 Quality of Service (QoS) software to manage performance and protection QoS levels on a volume or VM level for data on the flash array tier. The combination is simply managed through a single-pane-of-glass vCenter plug-in. Both the hyperconverged products and the shared storage products are available separately. This means that a data center can start building their infrastructure based on their priorities, then as it makes sense add the other component.

For example, an organization could purchase a Pivot3 flash array to solve an immediate performance problem and then add Pivot3 hyperconverged nodes as a new infrastructure down the road, or vice versa. Pivot3 shared storage systems come in two configurations; all-flash or hybrid. Both provide a high-performance, low latency PCIe flash front end.

Raising the QoS Bar

At the heart of both solutions is the Pivot3 QoS capabilities. The ability to control storage performance at an application level is invaluable. With Pivot3 you assign the desired performance targets (IOPS, throughput and latency) on a per application basis. QoS also moves the data for workloads automatically between tiers in real-time.

Pivot3 is a leader in leveraging QoS to provide greater control over how all-flash and hybrid arrays use their resources. In the latest release of their software Pivot3 is raising the bar. New in this release is Data Protection QoS, which allows policies around snapshots, replication and retention that saves the tedious work of setting data protection policies on each volume.

Also in this release is scheduling. Not only can it schedule snapshots and replications, but it can also schedule performance resources. For example, if IT knows a certain application is going to need a performance increase at the end of every month, it can schedule the QoS performance boost ahead of time instead of the administrator having to remember every time.

The result is that Pivot3 has potentially the most comprehensive QoS capabilities in storage and hyperconvergence. It has policy management, data prioritization, data placement and now protection.

StorageSwiss Take

Seemingly out of nowhere, Pivot3 seems set to take on the storage world. Instead of being a hyperconverged vendor fighting off all-flash arrays or an all-flash array vendor fighting off the hyperconverged onslaught, they can provide customers both options, based on what makes sense for their organization’s needs. So, in the future when needs change, Pivot3 can merge the two and the customer can have the best of both worlds.

Eight years ago George Crump, founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal. To educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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