Scale Computing Review

By Cobus Smit – Updated 19 Dec 2019

About Scale Computing

Scale Computing started HC3 in 2012. They are headquartered in Indianapolis U.S with their primary development office located in San Francisco, CA. Their goal has been to alleviate complexity  and cost from IT shops where they felt the cost of VMware or other Hypervisors has been too high. They focus on the SMB  market where complexity and cost are more acute problems, but also in the distributed enterprise market where simplicity and affordability are a huge benefit to their customers. HC3 is an appliance-based hyper-converged infrastructure solution. HC3 combines servers, storage, virtualization, and backup/disaster recovery into a single appliance. This hyper-convergence of technologies simplifies IT infrastructure making it easier to implement and manage and significantly reduces the total cost of ownership of infrastructure. The HC3 hyper-converged appliance allows easy, non-disruptive infrastructure scale out and automated, non-disruptive software and firmware updates.

The Hypervisor Scale Computing use

This solution is one of few that uses their own developed hypervisoor and does not rely on VMware or Nutanix for virtualization and gained some ground over other traditional HCI players like HPE and Netapp. HC3 uses their own HyperCore operating system, HC3 uses Red Hat’s KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) as its hypervisor on the back end. Any platform that can communicate with KVM, including Linux and Windows, can also run on HC3. There are no additional licensing costs as with HPE and Natapp for example that depends on VMware or Nutanix.

Scale Computing Scribe and NVMe

Another cool feature from Scale Computing is their software defined storage called SCRIBE (Scale Computing Reliable Independent Block Engine). This is a 64-bit open source module and one of the very few that does not use VMware vSAN or Nutanix AHV as it’s SDS solution.

SCRIBE is an enterprise class, clustered, block storage layer that is purpose-built to be consumed by the KVM based HyperCore hypervisor directly. SCRIBE discovers all block storage devices—including flash-based solid state disks (SSDs) and conventional spinning disks (SATA, SAS or NL-SAS) and aggregates the block storage devices across all nodes of the HC3 system into a single managed pool of storage. All data written to this pool is immediately available for read or write access by any and every node in the storage cluster, allowing for sophisticated data redundancy, load balancing intelligence, and I/O tiered prioritization. More unique aspects of SCRIBE, including how it makes efficient use of flash storage where available for tiered data placement based on historical heat mapping, are detailed in the HC3 SCRIBE—Mirroring, tiering and wide striping section.

Scale Computing has announced unprecedented results in hyper-converged virtual machine IO performance using NVM express (NVMe). The lab tests have achieved mean IO latencies as low as 20 microseconds delivered to a guest virtual machine. The unique architecture of Scale’s software defined storage engine (SCRIBE) coupled with highly responsive NVMe drives enables this extraordinary performance.

NVMe is designed for unparalleled IO performance and Scale Computing’s new HyperCore-Direct NVMe integrated architecture is designed for IT environments that have intense data operations, high performance applications, and other exceptional performance requirements. HyperCore-Direct is part of a specialized business unit at Scale Computing with the goal of helping create customized NVMe implementations for IT environments.

With NVMe and HyperCore-Direct, those organizations that need that extra level of performance will benefit from going beyond the limitations of SATA-based SSD for incredibly fast speeds. HyperCore-Direct and NVMe won’t be a requirement in every IT environment, and the experts at Scale Computing can provide guidance on where NVMe is the best fit.

If you would like more information on how HyperCore-Direct for NVMe can be licensed for your organization or for inclusion in your product, contact Scale Computing Business Development at bd@scalecomputing.com.

Software stack

Server Virtualization

  • Integrated hypervisor based on proven, open source technology with no additional licenses
  • Integrated management with the patented HyperCore Software
  • Live VM migration
  • Cluster to Cluster Replication
  • Easy migration from physical or virtual environments to HC3

Integrated Management

  • Web based UI
  • VM console access from within a browser
  • No separate management server
  • Self-healing including automatic fail-over of VMs
  • Rolling upgrades and patching with no downtime

Storage

  • Software-defined, hybrid storage system
  • High performing spinning disk with optional SSD storage tier
  • Streamlined, direct block-access data path
  • Wide striping across cluster with redundant data placement
  • Thin provisioning, snapshots, cloning

Flexible Scalability

  • Industry Standard Hardware
  • Remote support
  • Mix and match node types after initial cluster with different storage, RAM and CPU footprints
  • Appliance configurations optimized for size, variety of hardware capabilities
  • Turn key plug and play expansion

Hardware Stack

Scale computing start small with branch office (HE500) up to DC in a box solutions (HC5000) These are with prices included already. You will not find these on other HCI vendors

More information regarding hardware:

Remote Office / Branch office

ROBO

SMB

SMB

Data center / Enterprise

Data center / Enterprise

Conclusion

Personally I see some advantages and cost savings choosing Scale Computing over Nutanix, Netapp etc.. This is an all in one solution that will work in most scenarios when choosing your HCI solution.

For more information on this product please contact me

Spread the HCI Information

Leave a Reply