StorMagic SvSAN – Scalable Virtual HA Storage for the Masses

HA (High Availability) storage is nothing new to business.  You need to keep your critical apps up and running and allow it to survive failures.  But when it comes to ROBO, the game changes.  Cost becomes a major factor in any design decision, and not just licensing, but infrastructure as well.  Do you have extra physical space for a storage system?  Do you have the infrastructure, power, and cooling to support a new solution?  If you didn’t answer a resounding “YES” to all that, this is where StorMagic SvSAN can help!

 

What is StorMagic SvSAN?

 

At it’s simplest explanation, SvSAN is a virtual storage solution that can be built inside you existing virtual infrastructure and mirrors itself across multiple nodes to build a highly available solution.

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But that’s an overly simplified explanation of the product, when you start to dig deeper, you see its capable of so much more.

First of all, SvSAN is a lightweight solution.  Each node only requires a VM with 1 vCPU and 1gb of RAM.  You also only need 2 nodes to get started.  You can simply throw 2 servers with some disks in them at a small site and have a fully redundant storage solution without expanding your footprint.  If you need some higher end features such as SSD caching or automated tiering, StorMagic has an advanced license to add enterprise features to this offering.

Now that’s easy to do if you want HA all in one physical location, but what if you want to step it up and allow your solution to survive a location failure (aka a metro cluster).  Well using the witness, you can mirror the data to multiple sites and protect from an interruption of service as well as data corruption.  This witness is built with remote links in mind.  It can handle up to 3 seconds of latency and up to 20% packet loss.  In fact, you only need about 9kbs of bandwidth per mirror.  So you can setup the witness in a central location and have it manage all your remote sites over the wan.  Probably the coolest feature I found about the witness was that its so lightweight, you can run it on a Raspberry PI!  $30 and you now have the witness external from all your mirrors.

 

StorMagic at TechFieldDay 13

 

This is not StorMagic’s first trip to Tech Field day, but I had the pleasure of meeting with StorMagic at TechFieldDay 13 (#TFD13) earlier this month in Austin, Texas.  I encourage you all to check out the videos from CEO Hans O’Sullivan as well as Technical Services Director Luke Pruen http://techfieldday.com/appearance/stormagic-presents-at-tech-field-day-13/

I’m heading to Tech Field Day 13!

We’re just a little over a week away from Tech Field Day 13 and I’m proud to say I’ll be there as a delegate!  For those of you who don’t know, the Tech Field Day series (a GestaltIT production) is a chance for vendors and members of the tech community to come together and discus their latest product innovations.  These sessions are broadcast live and are joined by the greater community on twitter.  Now for those of you familiar with the process, you might be saying “Sean, that was an over simplified explanation” and you’re right, it was.  Delegates are highly technical and won’t pull any punches when asking questions, so presenters need to be on top of their game and knowledgeable about all aspects of the products.  Nothing is really off limits, the only rule is no throwing things.

 

What companies will be presenting?

Traditionally with most Field Day events, ~7-8 companies will present to the delegates.  They range from large established companies down to those coming out of stealth (this is a great type of event for coming out of stealth btw).  So lets look at the list of presenters:

As you can see, we have some well established vendors, some new ones, and 1 blank space (that company will be revealed later).  I expect we’ll see some updates on existing product lines as well as some new announcements

So what’s next?

A few of these companies i’m pretty familiar with, but some of them i’m hearing from for the first time.  While Field Day events are not new to me (I attended my first one as a delegate for Storage Field Day 11 and you’ll also see me in the background of the EMC presentation at SFD5), I’m still pretty new to the experience.  I’m looking forward to being on the other side of this and learning a lot.  So be sure to tune in next week and join in the conversation on twitter using the #TFD13 hashtag!

The Future of NAS is Object Storage

For as long as I can remember, block based storage has been the way you achieve performance and reliability in your datacenter.  Almost all of the industry performance leaders tended to be block based.  Even when you add file services, it simply sits on top of this block based storage.  Now if you are a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know that i have written extensively on this subject and the latest and greatest offerings of my former employer, but there is a change coming to datacenter storage, and this change is object based!

What’s driving this change?  Simply put: Cloud.  The largest cloud based service providers all use object based storage, and as cloud becomes a bigger part of an it strategy, adopting a similar technology on-premises makes this integration easier.  Using cloud storage in the enterprise gets expensive though, so its best to be smart about how you implement it in your infrastructure.  In comes Scality RING

Scality RING

Scality RING has been an ever evolving over the past several years, starting as a data protection and replication product and evolving into a full fledged enterprise software defined storage platform.  At Storage Field Day 11 (#SFD11) I had the pleasure of meeting with them and learning about their latest version, the 6.0 release.

Scality RING 6.0

So what is RING?  RING is a feature rich software defined storage platform designed to run on commodity x86 hardware that scales up and out!  It supports NFS, SMB, and FUSE.  It also supports Amazon S3, OpenStack, and other object APIs.  On the data protection side, RING gains added resiliency through the use of erasure coding, replication, and geo-distribution.

Scality RING

RINGs architecture is based on a CHORD peer-to-peer to peer algorithm that allows it to scale out and add nodes with ease.  This architecture also allows the system to keep it’s performance at scale due to local lookup tables on each node, increasing it’s ability to do a distributed search across the system when looking for data.

CHORD Architecture

The beauty of this is that it all stitches together simply.  Got a computer running Linux with some local drives?  Good, now you have a Scality node.  So if you need to add more storage, just pick up another computer and install the software on it.  Add enough of these together, and you have a massive scale out system in the petabytes range.

My Thoughts

After seeing several options for offering on-premises scale out storage, I think Scality is one of the more robust solutions.  Its clear now, in it’s 6th major revision of it’s software, that they are listening to their customers and growing from a niche product into a full fledged enterprise workhorse.  I also found it particularly interesting that they hired several of their developers from a hackathon they did.  This ended up being so successful for them that they are doing this again.

I also want to thank Stephen Foskett of Gestalt IT and the rest of the Tech Field Day staff for putting together a great event.  If you want to see the full Scality presentation, head on over to the tech field day website.

I’m headed to Storage Field Day 11!

Storage Field DayWe’re just 1 week away from Storage Field Day 11 and I’m proud to say I’ll be there as a delegate!  For those of you who don’t know, the Tech Field Day series (a GestaltIT production) is a chance for vendors and members of the tech community to come together and discus their latest product innovations.  These sessions are broadcast live and are joined by the greater community on twitter.  Now for those of you familiar with the process, you might be saying “Sean, that was an over simplified explanation” and you’re right, it was.  Delegates are highly technical and won’t pull any punches when asking questions, so presenters need to be on top of their game and knowledgeable about all aspects of the products.  Nothing is really off limits, the only rule is no throwing things.

 

What companies will be presenting?

Traditionally with most Field Day events, 8 companies will present to the delegates.  They range from large established companies down to those coming out of stealth (this is a great type of event for coming out of stealth btw).  So lets look at the list of presenters:

Storage Field Day 11 Companies

As you can see, we have some well established vendors, some new ones, and 2 blank spaces (those would be the stealth companies).  I expect we’ll see some updates on storage mediums (Both spinning disk and Flash) as well as storage systems (Both Hardware and Software).

So what’s next?

I’m not really sure what is next.  While storage field day is not new to me (You’ll see me in the background of the EMC presentation at SFD5), I’ve never been a delegate before.  I’m looking forward to being on the other side of this and learning a lot.  So be sure to tune in next week and join in the conversation on twitter using the #SFD11 hashtag!