by Michael Letschin, Field CTO
This is the fourth of six posts (the last one was Scale-out) where we’re going to cover some practical details that help raise your SDS IQ and enable you to select the SDS solution that will deliver Storage on Your Terms. The fourth SDS flavor in our series is Hyperconverged “SDS”.
Hyperconverged systems are the subject of much industry hype and analyst debate. Some consider hyperconverged systems to be a form of SDS, others keep them out of the category for not having software-only options. What to know: a hyperconverged system is a single integrated hardware and software system comprising multiple head nodes that present all storage as one virtual pool (think Nutanix or VMware’s EVO Rail). This means that some of the software-only SDS benefits – like flexibility and cost effectiveness – are severely limited.
That said, because it’s fast and easy to set up and drop in a hyperconverged system, it’s a good choice for branch offices or green-field deployments, where there are no existing storage systems to integrate with. Hyperconverged systems are somewhat of a “black box”– meaning you’re not going to have access to software to tune – but you can dial up the performance by increasing the number of nodes.
The downside of Hyperconverged “SDS” is that it’s difficult to impossible to change the system later. Hyperconverged “SDS” provides building block only. You buy what the vendor is selling, which narrows your options. Because you’re tied to a vendor and their pricing models, cost efficiency is also limited. Plus, you’ll need to buy equal amounts of storage and compute capacity. Unless you’re an organization where requirements for storage and compute capacity scale in perfect step, this means you’ll end up with too much of one or the other, wasting part of your investment.
Overall grade: C
See below for a typical build and the report card: