Best Hyper Converged Solutions Roundup

The field of all-in-on hyper-converged platforms has certainly grown over the past 24 months. While some smaller startups (Nimboxx?) could not gain enough traction early, others have been delivering robust, time-tested gear for several years. Here’s a run-down of a few of the top names.

Scale Computing

Scale Computing enters the best hyper converged solutions category by differentiating its HC3 and HC3x hyperconverged platforms with ease of use and simplicity. The company chose to standardize on KVM as a single hypervisor and built its own management layer, creating high functionality without the need for a virtual storage appliance, coupled with object-based storage with direct access to the hypervisor. Reliance on KVM also eliminates licensing fees for commercial hypervisors, making the product attractive to smaller organizations. Scale Computing recently added integrated disaster recovery capabilities into its HC3 platform.


Pivot3 is hardly a newbie, founded in 2002 with a focus on converging virtual servers, storage and networks. The company says it launched its best hyper converged appliance in 2008, when a casino asked for a secure and cost-effective way to store video streams (at the time, Pivot3 called it “serverless computing.”).”

Using Scalar Erasure Coding, Pivot3 developed vSTAC OS, which the company says “allows any program running on one appliance within the cluster to access resources across all the appliances in the cluster.” Pivot3 focuses on the video surveillance and virtual desktop markets and counts more than 1,300 customers worldwide. Recently, Pivot3 acquired NexGen Storage to flush out it’s all-flash offerings.


Hyperconvergence pioneer Nutanix launched its first product in 2011 and initially focused on a message of “ban the SAN.” Today, the company’s Virtual Computing Platform provides integrated compute and storage through servers running a standard hypervisor and the Nutanix OS. According to Gartner’s report on integrated systems, Nutanix’s technology is unique in that “the storage and compute elements are natively converged to create a much tighter level of integration”; a node-based approach that “enables theoretically limitless additions of new compute or storage bandwidth in very small increments.”

Nutanix, which released what it claims was the industry’s first all-flash hyperconverged array last year, has raised $317 million in funding, filed 43 patents, and touts an annualized sales run rate of $300 million. Last year, the company inked an OEM deal with Dell to offer converged appliances built with Nutanix software running on Dell PowerEdge servers.


Gridstore offers best hyper converged solution purpose-built for Microsoft Hyper-V. The startup’s hyperconverged appliances come in both all-flash and hybrid versions. Unlike other scale-out storage products, which use standard storage protocols such as SMB or iSCSI, Gridstore places much of the work of managing the scale-out cluster into the client as a virtual controller. Gridstore may have an advantage in the market if it can capitalize on its position as the first Hyper-V optimized storage system.

Dell’s Nutanix-Based XC Series

Dell’s first Nutanix based hyper converged solution is the XC730xd, which is based on Dell’s PowerEdge R730xd rack-mount server platform. The XC730xd, based on Intel Xeon E5 2600 v3 processors, fits up to 32 TB of storage capacity in a 2U enclosure, or about 60 percent more capacity than the previous model based on the PowerEdge R720xd servers. The second model, the XC630, is based on Dell’s 1U PowerEdge R630 platform, and can be configured with up to 9.6 TB of storage capacity.


The EMC VSPEX BLUE best hyper-converged infrastructure appliance delivers compute, storage, networking and management through VMware EVO: RAIL and EMC software. EMC claims the solution goes from power on to provisioning virtual machines in less than 15 minutes.

Included with the appliance is VSPEX BLUE Manager, which provides access to electronic services and automated patch and software update notifications; VSPEX BLUE Market, which gives access to pre-validated solutions; and EMC Secure Remote Support for monitoring of the appliance.

Hewlett-Packard HPE

Hewlett-Packard in December entered the best hyper-converged infrastructure market with its HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC StoreVirtual. Based on the company’s StoreVirtual virtualized storage solution, it provides advanced data services, disaster recovery, and heterogeneous interoperability across physical and virtual application domains. HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC StoreVirtual includes the converged management of HP OneView for VMware vCenter, as well as robust VMware vSphere integration. A version running the HP Helion cloud was released recently.

HP also recently unveiled its HP ConvergedSystem 200-HC EVO: RAIL, a new hyper-converge appliance based on the VMware EVO: RAIL platform. This combines HP ProLiant SL servers with the VMware suite including VMware vSphere, vCenter Server and VMware Virtual SAN.

Riverbed SteelFusion

The SteelFusion 4.0 from San Francisco-based Riverbed Technology targets the simplification of branch-office IT support by virtualizing and consolidating 100 percent of data and servers from remote sites into data centers to centralize data security and IT management. SteelFusion does this with a series of hyper-converged appliances that are deployed in a remote office to run applications over a WAN using data stored in a central data center.

New with SteelFusion is FusionSync, which provides seamless branch continuity by ensuring all branch data is accessible across private and hybrid cloud environments. This, according to Riverbed, gives remote offices the ability to withstand and recover from data center failures with zero downtime.


Another pioneer in the hyperconvergence space, SimpliVity came out of stealth mode in 2012. The startup’s OmniCube platform combines compute, hypervisor, storage services and network switching on x86 server hardware with centralized management. OmniCube goes further than other integrated systems by incorporating features such as built-in VM backup, in-line data deduplication, compression and optimization at the source, according to Gartner.


Tintri VMstore best hyper-converged appliance consists of a fully redundant box containing flash and spinning storage, designed to simplify the task of providing storage for VMs while adding performance.

Unlike traditional networked storage systems, even those that also integrate flash and spinning disks, there are no LUNs, volumes or tiers, which Tintri says present barriers to virtualization because they have no intrinsic meaning at the VM level. Instead, each I/O request maps to the particular virtual disk on which it occurs, the system accesses the vCenter Server API to monitor and control I/O performance at virtual disk level, and you manage in terms of virtual disks and VMs.

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Dell SC4020 Pricing

Dell SC4020 Pricing

To compete with big business, you need efficient, real-time data access to quickly turn customer interactions into transactions and information into insights. The Dell Storage SC4020 puts the high IOPs and low latency your applications demand within reach.

A six drive configuration lists for around $25,000. SC4020 configuration is unique for a few reasons, primarily though it’s the lowest-priced all flash configuration from a top-tier enterprise storage vendor. Granted, it’s not a high-capacity offering, though out of the gate it only uses six of the available 24 bays. The goal in this case is simple. Besides playing well in ROBO with existing Compellent storage at the enterprise, this SC4020 has the promise of offering some of the highest performance per dollar, which is an increasingly valuable metric. For those with low capacity needs, this configuration works well to satisfy latency-sensitive applications with a mature stack and robust support infrastructure. Of course the SC4020 can scale to higher capacity demands too, giving this $25k configuration plenty of headroom as requirements scale

Product Configurations

Internal Storage
24 x 2.5” drive bays

Supported expansion enclosures
Dell SC200: 12 x 3.5” drive bays
Dell SC220: 24 x 2.5” drive bays

Maximum drive count
120 (24 internal, plus 96 external)

Total storage capacity
408TB based on maximum number of drives (120) and current largest capacity supported drives

Supported drive types
HDD: 15K, 10K, 7.2K RPM; SDD: write-intensive SLC, read-intensive MLC (different drive types, transfer rates and rotational speeds can be mixed in the same system

2 controllers per SC4020 array

Intel® Xeon® Processor E3-1265L v2, 2.50GHz, 4 cores

32GB per SC4020 array (16GB per controller)

Network/server connectivity (front-end)
8 x 8Gb FC ports per SC4020 array (4 per controller)

Internal drive connectivity (back-end)
4 x 6Gb SAS ports per SC4020 array (2 per controller)

NAS deployment connectivity (optional)
Supports file-based storage via FS8600 NAS appliance

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EqualLogic Pricing

Our self-service quote system will send you general pricing information via email quickly, often in minutes! This tool is provided by EchoQuote™ and should be used for planning and budgetary purposes only. Your actual pricing may be higher or lower.

Dell EqualLogic Pricing
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Compellent Pricing

Our self-service quote system will send you general pricing information via email quickly, often in minutes! This tool is provided by EchoQuote™ and should be used for planning and budgetary purposes only. Your actual pricing may be higher or lower.

Dell Compellent Pricing
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Dell DX base pricing – object storage

The DX Object Storage Platform is an object-based archiving approach that is said to be easy to manage, scales seamlessly and offers plug-n-play expansion and retirement. It serves as a foundational element for Dell’s Email & File Archive offering and service as well as Dell’s Unified Clinical Archive. It deals with large amounts of unstructured data. The Email and File Archive helps companies store large amounts of data off-site.

The DX6000G, for example, is a CIFS/NFS protocol gateway for applications that use common file-based networking protocols to interact with the DX Object Storage Platform for archiving purposes. List price starts at $20,882.

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Dell Compellent entry level budgetary cost for SMBs

Compellent features multi-protocol support, resiliency against downtime and disaster and the ability to reduce storage costs. Dell Compellent Storage Center 5.4 offers Dell Fluid Data storage management capabilities including: automated tiered storage, thin provisioning, thin replication, space-efficient snapshots, boot from SAN, storage virtualization and multi-site storage resource management with automated storage utilization reporting.

It comes with 6 GB SAS drives that provide twice the performance yet use nearly half the power of 3 GB SAS drives. Further, the 2.5″ SAS drives used to offer a smaller footprint. That means 6 Gb SAS enclosures provide 24 bays to accommodate twice the number of spindles in the same amount of rackspace. 10 Gb iSCSI and FCoE I/O cards and HBAs provide good interconnect performance. Live Volume acts as a storage hypervisor, mapping one storage volume to two Dell Compellent arrays at the same time. A new Series 40 controller boosts performance by 25 percent for demanding applications. Dell is targeting this product at midsize to large enterprises. The starting price is $48,000 excluding maintenance and services.

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Dell VRTX pricing brings value to converged stack computing

Dell Pricing for the VRTX is….

PowerEdge VRTX, a new converged infrastructure offering with integrated server, storage and networking technology targeted at small and midsize businesses and remote offices of midsize and larger businesses.

Dell also introduced its fifth-generation of modular data centers, which Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager for Dell servers, called the first modular data center solution targeting the broad market….

The PowerEdge VRTX features up to four dual-processor server blades, each with a maximum capacity of 768 GB of memory. It can be configured with up to 48 TB of direct-attach storage capacity, which is shared among the up to eight processors. Dell PowerConnect networking technology is also built into the small chassis.

The PowerEdge VRTX is scheduled to ship in June with an entry price of $9,999 for two blades, each with a single processor and 32 GB of memory, as well as 5 TB of SATA storage.

Paul Clifford, president of Davenport Group, a St. Paul, Minn.-based solution provider and Dell partner, said the PowerEdge VRTX appears to be way ahead of the market.

“That much simplicity and power in such a small footprint,” Clifford said. “I had four of my engineers sitting at my table this morning. When they heard about it, they started grinning. After the keynote, they got together and were already talking about where they can use it.”

Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and Dell partner, said the idea of a simple data center converged infrastructure with little cabling is attractive to his company’s customers. “Our engineers are really excited about it.”


Original article at CRN

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Tegile vs Compellent

Tegile is making inroads into traditional legacy array accounts. This is part 1 of a 2 part series about Tegile versus Compellent, not just from tegile price perspective but functionality as wel.

Per a press release by Tegile:

“Tegile Systems, the leading provider of flash-driven storage arrays for virtualized server and virtual desktop environments, today announced that more than 100 of its feature-rich Zebi appliances have served as a direct replacement for Dell (Compellent) hardware at customer installations, providing these organizations with significant savings from a storage utilization, performance to dollar ratio and maintenance perspective.

Rather than overspend on the forced hardware refreshes that are necessary in order to update aging Compellent systems, Dell customers have decided instead to upgrade to a new generation of flash-driven enterprise storage arrays that balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtualization, file services and database applications. Tegile Zebi arrays provide solid-state performance without sacrificing the capacity or cost advantage of hard disk storage. Inline deduplication and compression provides usable capacity that is far greater than its raw capacity without the performance hit of the traditional Compellent storage systems.

In addition to hardware replacement costs, organizations face a myriad of migration fees, unplanned downtime and other soft costs that are associated with updating Compellent equipment. Customers that have made the switch from Compellent to Zebi arrays include Credit Union of Colorado, Fanatics Inc., Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Wild, Nutraceutical and Oil Insurance Limited, among others.

“Our data center previously contained Dell Compellent storage but Tegile delivered much higher scalability, smaller footprint and simple management for the IT team. Our staff is now spending less time fixing system issues and more time addressing customers’ needs,” said Jim Ibister, vice president of facility administration for Minnesota Wild.

In addition to Compellent replacements, Tegile has been chosen over Dell for new installs in hundreds of other customer sites with users attesting to the superiority of Zebi arrays in price, performance and capacity.

Tegile channel partners have the opportunity to help their customers cut their storage expenditures in half, triple performance and easily manage storage without adding staff by making the switch from Compellent hardware to Zebi arrays. Tegile partners can experience levels of service and margin long gone from their current Compellent relationships. Additional incentives include a buyback of existing Compellent hardware based on the value of the equipment. Details of all current channel offers are available at Tegile’s secure partner portal.

“For less than the cost of a Dell Compellent hardware refresh, organizations are increasingly upgrading their storage systems to the feature-rich Tegile storage array instead,” said Rob Commins, VP Marketing of Tegile Systems. “Zebi flash-driven arrays have every critical feature included, and because of our dedupe and compression, users get 75% more capacity than they would have paid for. Dell customers and channel partners alike can benefit from a switch to a better, less expensive option that our Zebi arrays provide.”

Our Take

The bottom line is that the Tegile cost structure and advanced functionality makes sense for organizations that are ready to refresh their storage infrastructure. Like all markets, products at the “low end” tend to rise over time and take over higher cost, upper-end products. That is exactly what Tegile and Nimble Storage are doing to the major players.

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Compellent Performance Up, SAN Pricing Steady

Original article at Slashdot

Dell claims that any customers for its Compellent storage arrays will see a roughly 100 percent performance increase with the introduction of Compellent Storage Center 6.3, plus end-to-end 16-Gbit Fibre Channel technology.

In addition to Storage Center 6.3, the company has released new PowerVault MD3 array software with enhanced data protection, capacity utilization, and virtualization improvements. And on top of that, it issued new PowerVault appliances that integrate with AppAssure, NetVault and CommVault Simpana data protection software.

Bob Fine, a director and product director of Dell’s Compellent business, said that the company has previously taken incremental approaches to the platform’s code base, adding 64-bit OS support in January and transitioning off of EMC hardware and onto Dell’s own hardware in June. “In both of these cases, the primary aspect of these releases was stability,” he said.

With the new release of Storage Center, Dell has also moved to 16-gigabit Fibre Channel from end-to-end, from server to switch to storage, doubling the available bandwidth in addition to the performance improvements. Specifically, Fine said the Compellent architecture had undergone incremental improvements, in particular to the I/O stack and how Dell virtualized the storage.

“Here’s a very easy way to do twice as much,” Fine said. “You don’t have to have an outage, or replace an existing platform; from a cost standpoint this software is a no-charge firmware upgrade as long as you have a support contract in place. And that’s a pretty rare statement to make these days, to get customers that much more in terms of their productivity at this price point.”

Dell Compellent Storage Center 6.3 will enter beta in early 2013 and move to general availability in the second quarter, Dell said.

The new MD3 software release, available now, brings a virtualization layer and chunking architecture to the MD3 line, providing improved data protection and increased efficiency. This release also adds dynamic disk pooling—a self-healing, rebalancing technology for when a drive fails—plus iSCSI asynchronous replication, a first-ever feature within the MD3 line. The new software also doubles the snapshots from 256 to 512.

Additional enterprise enhancements to the MD3 software include Windows Server 2012 support, Active Directory, and LDAP support for automating and integrating Compellent storage with a corporate directory, and synchronous replication enhancements. New thin provisioning and VMware VAAI support are standard along with the arrays, a Dell spokesman said.

Dell also announced the Dell PowerVault DL4000, the first backup appliance based on Dell AppAssure software, which contains 5.5 TB of storage; its scheduled availability is the first quarter of 2013; Quest NetVault Backup 9.0, which combines Quest data protection with NetVault Extended Architecture and will ship in December; and Dell’s Dell PowerVault DL2300, which includes CommVault Simpana 9 for data backup, recovery, replication, archiving and de-duplication. The DL2300 is available now. The new DR4000 is a virtual tape (VTL) cost effective unit.

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Dell DR4000 vtl cost may be enticing

Dell has introduced the DR4000, its de-duplication appliance based on its Ocarina technology and upgraded the software for its enterprise-class Compellent storage line with 64-bit technology.

Pricing for the DR4000 starts at $11,750 for the 2.7 TB model.

Dell Compellent DR4000 PricingThere’s no way around it – we’re in the midst of a data explosion – an explosion many small businesses are struggling to keep up with, without ever-increasing budgets. By eliminating redundancies, organizations can maximize their storage capacity and see immediate results. However, such technology has previously been out of reach for growing businesses. We’re pleased to announce the wait is over – today we announced the new Dell DR4000 Storage Platform which combines the performance and reliability of disk-based backup with innovative deduplication and compression capabilities from Dell’s Ocarina Networks acquisition. Virtual tape library (VTL) pricing and cost are decreasing.

So, how does it work? Data deduplication inspects chunks of data. A fingerprint of that chunk is taken and looked up in the system’s data index. If the fingerprint is in the index then the chunk does not need to be stored again. Instead the object map is updated and a shortcut is put in place of the duplicate data.

By keeping data online for weeks or even months before moving it to archive storage, customers can more easily locate and restore important data, creating new efficiencies and reducing the total cost of ownership for their storage infrastructure. These capabilities eliminate multiple copies of the same data and enable customers to keep more data online longer and readily available in the event of a disaster or data loss event.

Here are the DR4000 highlights:

* Eliminate redundant copies of data by decreasing disk capacity requirements up to 15 times.
* Reduce dependence on tape backup
* Reduce bandwidth requirements for data transfer by up to 15 times
* Reduce backup storage costs to as low as $0.25/GB
* Reduce the footprint of backup delivering power and cooling savings in the datacenter

In addition to excellent data reduction capabilities, the DR4000 reduces storage costs over time through an all-inclusive software licensing model that allows customers to leverage all of the DR4000 current and future product capabilities without incurring additional licensing costs.

Data deduplication helps optimize storage and more intelligently manage growing data – with less. As Dell continues to evolve its Fluid Data architecture for storage, customers will be able to apply deduplication technology on data in primary storage, backup storage, cloud storage or data in flight for replication, LAN and WAN transfers. So, what are some real-life examples that create duplicate data in a network? Email blasts that include attachments, saving multiple versions of file or the same file in different place and server/desktop virtualization containing redundant images of the same operating system. These activities are becoming more and more common, increasing the importance of deduplication technology for organizations of all sizes.

Implementing deduplication into your backup strategy is a critical part of moving into a next generation data center. What plans do you have in store for deduplication? Is the DR4000 in your future?

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