GigaOm released recently their first Radar report on Hyperconverged Infrastructure report for Small-to-Medium Enterprises and the Edge. I was impressed by the fact that StorMagic was selected as top performer and leader in their radar, before the well known enterprise vendors in the market.

The GigaOm HCI radar with StorMagic as an overall leader

In the past I evaluated the StorMagic SvSAN solution already, and published an How To article on how deploying the solution on a VMware based (hyperconverged) platform. Meanwhile the software keeps on running in my datacenter aka homelab, protecting my data flawless.

Meanwhile I have a lot of happy customers running StorMagic on a cluster of 2 or 3 servers with local storage to protect their corporate data.

 

Edge HCI solution

Recently I see more and more opportunities on the market for so-called Edge solutions.

The edge is everywhere—a factory floor, a distribution center, a branch or office environment, a retail store, even a cell tower, or an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. All these environments have similar needs, including simplicity, reliability, and affordability. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions can be a great fit for the edge but are missing a critical requirement. These edges are not always a clean & cooled server room and so may have higher physical requirements compared to the traditional servers we are deploying normally.

An example of an Edge deployment: a factory floor

 

HPE Edgeline

Therefore HPE has launched a specific server line called HPE Edgeline, besides their popular Proliant family of servers.

The current HPE Edgeline portfolio

These rugged and compact systems are designed to perform in harsher edge environments with higher shock, vibration and temperature levels. These systems are called Converged Edge Systems since they host compute, storage and networking in one single box.

What I see as a disadvantage, or at least a concern when designing an edge solution, is that you have local storage that is not protected, compared to a traditional server using for instance RAID. It will be the software running on the system that will need to provide data protection when required.

It is here where HPE And StorMagic have partnered to deliver a true edge HCI solution by combining the HPE Edgeline platform with the SvSAN software from StorMagic enabling complete storage virtualization and high availability between 2 physical Edgeline servers. When we look at the Edgeline 4000 solution that can host up to 4 Proliant servers with their own local NVMe based storage.

The combined solution concludes an hypervisor running on the 4 servers, and SvSAN runs on top of that hypervisor virtualizing the storage, making it an high available storage pool for these 4 hypervisors. Time for a test!

 

Hands on test

I was able to get an HPE Edgeline 4000 system in my lab and test it thoroughly in combination with StorMagic SvSAN.

The Edgeline 4000 system is equipped with 4 Proliant m510 servers.
Each server has the following hardware specifications:

  • 1 x Intel XEON D-1548 2.00GHz CPU
  • 128GB RAM
  • 2 x 10Gb (shared) networking SFP+
  • 2 x Samsung 1.92TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage

On these servers I deployed VMware ESXi 6.7, centrally managed by vCenter.

VMware ESXi deployed on a HPE Edgeline Proliant m510 server cartridge

Through the StorMagic plugin inside vCenter I deployed a StorMagic SvSAN virtual appliance on each ESXi host in the HPE Edgeline chassis.

A StorMagic SvSAN VSA running on VMware ESXi on HPE Edgeline

Each SvSAN virtual appliance uses the local datastore, which is an internal SATA based SSD drive of 240GB, to store the VSA OS files. These are 2 VMDK files of 512MB and 20GB in size.

The actual data of the iSCSI storage solution will be stored on 2 x 1.92TB Samsung NVMe SSD drives in the Proliant m510 servers. Since this is PCIe attached storage without data protection by a RAID controller, the StorMagic SvSAN will be using software RAID 10 to protect the data against an SSD failure.

To protect even further against an entire server failure (planned maintenance or unplanned downtime) StorMagic SvSAN will kick in by replicating synchronously all data written to the SvSAN pool across 2 Proliant m510 servers.

This will give the following picture:

StorMagic SvSAN vCenter Plugin

The administration portal of the entire solution is a plugin inside vCenter (take a look in the How To section for an overview of the installation of the plugin).

From there you can easily deploy the VSA’s on multiple hosts and create one or more datastores.

The StorMagic vCenter plugin - get started page on HPE Edgeline

In a second tab you get on overview of the deployed VSA’s in the cluster, 4 in my scenario on the 4 HPE Proliant m510 servers in the Edgeline chassis.

StorMagic vCenter plugin - manage VSAs

In the third tab you get the overview of created volumes with their connected hosts and status.

StorMagic vCenter plugin - manage storage

Typical functions like growing, migrating and deleting volumes are available here as well.

 

Conclusion:

Organizations operating at the network edge often face challenges of poor network connectivity, limited physical space and IT staff, restricted budgets, and remote locations that aren’t easily accessible.

StorMagic clearly understands these challenges and to make the complexity simple for edge computing environments. Their virtual SAN product SvSAN is clearly designed to meet the unique needs of the edge, enabling lightweight (1 vCPU & 1 vMem), highly available storage that is easy to manage and very affordable.

Therefore I confirm the leader position of StorMagic in the GigaOm report, definitely in combination with the HPE Edgeline platform. The 1U chassis hosting 4 Proliant servers deliver a high-speed, high available compute and storage platform ideal for the edge.

 

In 2 other articles I will take a deep dive in the HPE Edgeline 4000 platform from a hardware perspective, and I plan as well a more in-depth article on the technical configuration details of the StorMagic SvSAN software on the HPE Edgeline hardware. Keep on checking my website!

 

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