The All-Flash Advantage: Hyperconvergence from StarWind

8 June 2021 | 4152 Shares

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There are more than a few misconceptions around hyperconverged infrastructure. The first is that it only belongs in huge, globe-spanning enterprises. The second is that it doesn’t scale well, or at least doesn’t scale well without the owners having very, very deep pockets.

The first perception regarding the size of the institution that deploys HCI stems from the idea that the technology is only beneficial for large companies with huge amounts of infrastructure. These organizations can justify the return on investment by cost savings on consolidating compute, storage, and networking and streamlining their deployment, management and support.

In reality, the flipside of that argument is the truth — smaller companies benefit more from HCI as the technology allows them to optimize what resources are available, thus getting the most “bang for their buck.” In many ways, hyperconverged resources allows SMB companies with great products to compete alongside larger enterprises with bigger overall networks and stacks.

The second misconception is over the supposed high cost of an HCI. The assumption of a high-ticket price comes from an idea that the technology is new, and cutting-edge usually equates to sky-high price. Again, the reality is somewhat different. Not only is the concept of software abstraction decades-old (consider how long servers have been commonly virtualized), but the underlying software and hardware for broad virtualization are mainstream. On the pages of Tech HQ in the past, we’ve looked specifically at the cost of hyperconvergence and found vendors that offer powerful, scalable, and complete HCI solutions at commodity prices.

However, knowledge of the availability of lower-priced HCI solutions might lead to a third misconception, one that equates realistically priced hyperconvergent devices with low performance. Consider the HCA (hyperconverged appliance) from StarWind — it’s the only all-flash HCA range available today on the market. It’s a range designed for maximum performance that uses high-end off-the-shelf components to guarantee uptime, efficiency, and best value-for-money in organizations that previously might never have even considered hyperconvergence as available to them.

The range of drop-in appliances comes configured for maximum performance, capacity, or value, and whichever option forms the basis for the initial install of a pair of nodes can form the basis of an infrastructure that changes according to business requirements. As needs change, the devices can be equipped with more storage, network cards, and memory. Mixed clusters are, therefore, perfect for different workloads for different parts of the business.

The all-solid-state devices come with up to 46TB of storage and 512GB RAM and are capable of efficient and powerful performance with fault tolerance (the StarWind HCA operates as a true two-node cluster). At the core storage layer, Intel Optane enterprise SSD technologies offer the best possible performance with low latencies for read/write, and blistering IOPS.

The entire all-Flash HCA range offers RDMA (remote direct memory access) for low-latency and high-performance computing that enables unmodified applications to access memory from the pool without requiring any changes to the underlying software.

All StarWind’s appliances come with ProActive Premium Support by default (with its various software offerings — like virtualized tape libraries, having that option as well). They are monitored proactively by the company’s technicians, meaning that any issues are instantly identified on StarWind’s side without the need to constantly monitor your own infrastructure. This gives SMBs without resources to dedicate to infrastructure oversight significant peace of mind.

To return to the incorrect notion of cost for HCI technologies, it’s worth noting that some HCI vendors seem to bake in limitations, as a matter of course; limitations that can only be lifted by the purchase of new and expensive nodes. StarWind’s solutions include offerings like fully virtualized storage arrays that expand capacity for the entire hyperconverged infrastructure in the form of its Storage Appliances that create malleable virtualized SANs.

The management and oversight of hyperconverged infrastructures have been evolving over the years, like the technology itself and its component hardware. StarWind presents IT administrators with a single dashboard through which the entire network can be monitored and configured. Changes can be made in real-time via the Command Center interface, and, unlike its competitors, the StarWind solutions come pre-configured according to requirements, ready to plug-and-play.

The company will happily demo any aspect of its offerings, but the specifications of the StarWind HCA speak for themselves. No other vendor packs so many top-shelf components into its solutions yet falls into a price bracket that SMBs find attractive. Once hyperconvergence was a data center-only technology, but now the StarWind all-flash HCA changes the way businesses can structure their networks, compute, and storage.

To learn more, head over to StarWind, and as the company’s site states: “There is no need to surf through endless reviews if you don’t want to: Just contact us and we’ll showcase everything to you live and answer any of your questions. For. Free.” Click here to begin the process.