Tag Archives: HC3

You Have Questions, We Have Answers

Hyperconverged infrastructure is a fairly new but rapidly growing technology. It’s natural to want to research new technologies like hyperconvergence and unless you are an insider, you likely have questions. Here at Scale Computing, we are experts in hyperconverged infrastructure. We were not only an early innovator in hyperconvergence but we were the first to combine a purpose built hypervisor with a hypervisor-embedded storage system designed specifically for hyperconverged infrastructure.

Between our Product Team, our R&D Team, our Systems Engineers, our ScaleCare Support Team, and really everyone else, we have the expertise you need to learn whether hyperconvergence is right for your IT department. Our award-winning HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure solution is not only one of the most innovative, but definitely the easiest to use. It is so easy to use, in fact, that not everyone can believe it.  We are here to assure you that it is real and we’ll answer all your questions to prove it.

We’ve taken the time to compile some our most frequently asked questions into our helpful new FAQ for HC3. Hopefully this document helps answer some of your initial questions. As you can imagine, we get a variety of questions ranging from general hyperconvergence concepts to specific questions about third party solutions. If you don’t find an answer in the FAQ, we’ll be happy to answer your questions by email, phone, or in person at one of the many events we host or attend.

If you are an existing customer, new customer, or just extra curious, we also have put together our helpful new FAQ for ScaleCare Support. This document will answer nearly all your questions about our expert support, how to use it, and what’s included. Our ScaleCare Support Engineers are experts at everything HC3 and much more. We are happy to help answer any questions about your new or existing HC3 system.

There is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when it is about new technology and platforms that run our businesses and industries. Feel free to ask away. Contact us at 877-SCALE-59 or info@scalecomputing.com.

 

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

Okay, I’m not really a doctor, but my nickname here at Scale Computing is Doctor P.  Regardless, your trust is very important to me and everyone else here at Scale. We work hard to provide products like HC3 along with services and support you can trust.

Trust can be hard to quantify but I believe our ratings and reviews we receive from our users and partners are a good reflection of that trust. Having been involved for several years in the online user community of Spiceworks, we have received 49 reviews from users and partners. All 49 reviews have given Scale Computing a 5 out of 5 star rating. Those reviews are all available on Spiceworks here.

More recently, we’ve joined TrustRadius to learn how our users and partners rate us in a more comprehensive way.  So far on TrustRadius, we’ve received 56 ratings and reviews. As a result of these ratings and reviews, we’ve earned an overall rating of 9.4 out of 10 on TrustRadius. Those ratings and reviews are available on TrustRadius here.

If you’re still on the fence about hyperconverged infrastructure or HC3 from Scale Computing, we welcome you to let us earn your trust. The trust and satisfaction of our users and partners is what keeps us working hard each day to keep improving our products and services. We’re committed to revolutionizing IT infrastructure with simplicity, efficiency, and lower costs of ownership. If you haven’t already, join one of our live demos to see for yourself what makes Scale Computing different.

 

Another DR Planning Reminder – Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey is an on-going disaster of epic proportions. Flood waters are still receding in the hardest hit areas of Texas and Louisiana while the remnants of Harvey are dumping rain in Tennessee.  The flooding has affected millions of people and the devastation affecting their lives may take years to recover from. Relief agencies that are working to help the victims of Harvey need support now and will continue to need support for many months to come.

In addition to acknowledging the cost in human suffering, we shouldn’t ignore the financial costs dealt to businesses affected by this disaster. Some of these businesses may never recover from this disaster because of the extent of the devastation, and in some cases, because of insufficient disaster preparedness.

The full extent of the damage will not be known for some time, but it is safe to believe that with over 50 inches of rain falling in Houston and surrounding areas, some businesses had their servers and data storage literally underwater.

Radar Image from Weather Underground  on August 25.

I personally have been involved in creating disaster recovery solutions for IT for over 18 years.  In this industry, no one welcomes disasters and they are not viewed as events to capitalize on.  They are instead taken as harsh realities from which springs renewed desire to improve the way IT is protected and recovered.  The lessons we learn from each disaster elevate our efforts to prevent the loss of business critical data and services.  And when I say business, that includes government and other organizations whose IT services may be critical to responding to disasters of all shapes and sizes.

Harvey is a reminder that disasters can and will happen and your primary data center could be at ground zero despite your best preparations. Are you prepared to recover from such a loss? Do your disaster recovery (DR) plans do enough to ensure recovery from a total loss of a data center? There are plenty of DR solutions and strategies available today to make sure you can recover from even a regional disaster like a hurricane.

Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions that combine servers, storage, virtualization, and backup/DR solutions into a single appliance can help. With traditional infrastructure solutions that have servers, storage, virtualization, and backup/DR as separate solutions, things get very complicated and often very expensive. Hyperconverged infrastructure provides simplicity starting with rapid, easy implementation and ongoing simplicity through unified management, unified support, and seamless scalability.

Scale Computing’s HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure solution is a prime example of simplified infrastructure that includes robust high availability and backup/disaster recovery at no extra cost. HC3 includes incremental backup, replication, failover, restore, failback as native features while Scale Computing also offers disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) for organizations who want or need a hosted DR site with their HC3 infrastructure. On top of the native features, HC3 supports a wide variety of third party backup/DR solutions including traditional backup/DR players like Unitrends, zero-downtime and real-time replication solutions like DoubleTake Availability from Carbonite, and newer backup/DR appliance solutions like Restoronix, to name just a few.

If you’ve been watching Harvey and wondering how you can implement a better DR plan that is both simpler and more cost effective, you should be looking at an infrastructure solution like HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure. Scale Computing offers DR planning services to make sure your data and critical services are protected while also providing a DR runbook (also provided with DRaaS) that will be your guide should disaster strike.

For more information on how you might better plan for DR, check out this white paper, Disaster Recovery Strategies with Scale Computing.

What’s New – August 2017 Edition

Last week, we held a webinar to talk about what is new in HC3 these days. We are doing these “What’s New” webinars every six months so if you want to be informed and have the chance to ask questions to our product management team, you should attend. Today I am going to summarize some of the topics from last week’s webinar for you.

If you have been following along closely, you’ll have noticed we’ve been leaking mentions of our newest HC3 models in previous webinars.

HC1150DF

The first new model we have available is the HC1150DF, our first ALL-FLASH appliance. If your applications need screaming fast performance, you can’t get much faster than the HC1150DF.  Like the HC1150D, the HC1150DF has dual processors for higher performance computing. The HC1150DF can be mixed and matched with existing HC3 product lines which allows users to dial in the exact amount of flash needed in their environment.  See the latest support matrix for specifics.

HC5150D

The new HC5150D is a storage-heavy HC3 appliance with 12 drives including 3 SSDs and 9 NL-SAS drives for 3X the storage capacity of the HC1150s. It is a dual processor appliance with plenty of storage capacity to pack in the VMs. The HC5150D can be mixed and matched with other HC3 appliances including the new HC1150DF (see the latest support matrix for specifics).  

There are the baseline specs and U.S. pricing. Regional pricing is available upon request. Click the image to make it a bit bigger and easier to read.

Along with these new models comes the new HyperCore version 7.3 with new features and functionality.

Storage Deduplication and Improved Detail

HyperCore 7.3 added storage deduplication to reduce the storage footprint of data stored on virtual machines. Virtual disks are deduplicated, post-process to eliminate duplicate data blocks and free up storage with minimal impact to running VMs. With deduplication, disks can hold considerably more data than previously allowed within the same physical disk capacity. Along with the deduplication, the storage details available in the HC3 Web interface have significantly improved with more information on utilization and efficiency.

Multi-Cluster Remote Management

With HyperCore 7.3, we’ve made available the ability to monitor multiple clusters within the HC3 Web Interface. The intuitive design shows the status of multiple clusters that can be local or remote to keep tabs on your entire enterprise of HC3 nodes and clusters. Whether they are single nodes in remote offices or DR targets, or multi-node clusters, the new multi-cluster view provides at-a-glance monitoring of all your HC3 assets.

Multi-User Administration and Logging

With HyperCore 7.3, we’ve introduced multi-user login and administration so you can better manage your multiple admins.  Multiple users may login with their own credentials to perform their own administrative functions. Logging keeps track of administrator access to assist in management and troubleshooting.

Important note: HyperCore version 7.3 is not yet generally available, but is in restricted availability and will be made available to other HC3 users later this year.

Those were the new models and features in a nutshell. If you would like more information about what is new with HC3, you can use the links below to get access to a recording of last week’s webinar and our What’s New guide.

August 3rd Webinar Recording

What’s New in HC3 Guide

 

CRN Top 100 Executives 2017 Recognition

It’s been ten years since Scale Computing first opened its doors, with a single objective in mind—to help an underserved segment of the IT world.

Scale Computing has done just that. We’ve helped small businesses, universities and organizations achieve their IT infrastructure goals, at a fraction of a price of our competitors. When we began we were focused on serving small to mid-sized business segment.

Since that time, we’ve continued to expand our offerings through large institutions, government entities, and the global enterprise, including some of the world’s largest HCI deployments. In the last quarter, we’ve closed five Fortune 500 deals and we expect to close many more in the coming year.

Since 2007, there has been a distinctive shift from traditional legacy external storage to a hyperconverged infrastructure. HCI is now one of the fastest growing segments in the IT infrastructure market.

Scale Computing has been a pioneer long before it was fashionable, even coining the term “hyperconvergence.” We worked hard to develop our patented HC3 systems to be high performing, affordable and accessible.

Our intelligent, driven employees and Midwestern work ethic have brought us to where we are today. We are never satisfied with the status quo and will always push for innovation in technology.

Scale continues to drive innovation in the hyperconverged industry, most recently announcing the HC5150D, boasting 3x the capacity of Scale’s award-winning HC1150 system.

In the coming months, we have some exciting news and we couldn’t be more thrilled for what’s ahead.

I’m proud to have been named one of CRN’s Top 25 Innovators of 2017, but it’s really testament to my amazing team at Scale Computing. They continue to surpass my expectations in pushing the technology and support envelope, so this honor actually belongs to the entire company.

Change is Difficult. Implementation can be Easy.

No one relishes the idea of changing out IT infrastructure, except maybe consultants and contractors who are willing to get paid big bucks to help you do it. It can be hard enough deciding when to make the change, and then shopping for new solutions. Then there is the new implementation. Migrating workloads from older systems to newer systems has historically been a minefield of issues and delays.

Does that image reflect any of your own experiences?

Implementing a new IT infrastructure doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need those expensive consultants and contractors if you choose the right solution. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is designed to be simpler, easier to implement, and easier to scale out. If you choose the right HCI solution, like HC3 from Scale Computing, it can be almost too easy to believe.

HC3 is an appliance-based approach to virtualization that has preconfigured all of the storage, compute, and virtualization needed for IT infrastructure. A cluster of HC3 appliances can be up and running with live VMs in under an hour. If you don’t believe us, just listen to the Scale Computing customers.

The next question you will undoubtedly have is about migration of workloads. ScaleCare support assists customers with migration using our HC3 Move solution, powered by Double-Take Move. Workloads can be migrated from any physical, virtual, or even cloud platforms to HC3 with almost no downtime. HC3 Move makes moving workloads both simple and efficient.

With HCI, implementation simply does not need to be difficult. Don’t let the fear of a complex implementation delay your decision to update your infrastructure to a solution that will be easier to manage, maintain, and ultimately save you on total cost of ownership. Check out HC3 from Scale Computing to see how you can refresh with ease and eliminate complex and difficult IT infrastructure challenges from your future.

Healthcare Runs on HC3

When it comes to IT, healthcare organizations face many of the same challenge as any other organization including limited budgets and scalability. Healthcare organizations also face challenges related to storing, managing, and protecting critical patient data and research data and keeping systems available to handle critical care.

Healthcare organizations of all types have been choosing HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure from Scale Computing to serve their IT infrastructure needs. HC3 offers simplicity, scalability, availability, and affordability to organizations who need to streamline operations with a reliable solution. Whether a healthcare organization is specialized in emergency services, mental health, medical imaging, research, or any other aspect of care, HC3 is a smart choice.

These are just a few of the healthcare organizations that have chosen HC3 for IT infrastructure. Click on the company logos to get the full success stories.

“Our vision is to be THE national model for patient centered care. An integral part of that process is ensuring that our IT systems can keep up with our growing staff and patient needs. With the help of HC3, our small IT department has found the bandwidth needed to not only keep us running, but developed new programs and processes that help us move toward our vision.” – Renee Jensen, CEO, Summit Pacific Medical Center

“HC3 is a huge advantage from the standpoint of managing your infrastructure. Instead of a separate interface for every layer in the environment, you are condensing it into a single tool.” – Greg Starnes, Network Coordinator, Families, Inc

“I think I could have gotten the same thing done [with the HP blade server and Hyper-V solution], but it would have been infinitely more complex, time consuming and nowhere near as redundant as what I’ve got with HC3.” – Chuck Myers, System Administrator, Medical Imaging Northwest

“The Scale solution is perfect for our environment. As well as simplified management, the face value of the Scale solution has saved us over £80,000. This is an amazing cost reduction and we can put this money to use elsewhere.” –  Matthew Underhill, IT Team Leader, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine


What Shirts Taught Me About Scale Computing

When I started at Scale Computing everything seemed pretty normal. There was a startup vibe. There were Nerf guns everywhere. There was an open office concept going on. It wasn’t until a few days went by that I noticed something that seemed odd. My new coworkers were wearing Scale Computing branded shirts to the office nearly every single day.

Were there some special events going on? Special visitors to the office? No, it turned out that these guys and gals just preferred to wear these shirts. No one talked about it, and it was not suggested or required. It was just part of the culture.

Ok, at my former employer, where I worked for 17 years, I had built up quite a wardrobe of company branded shirts. Because of that, I did end up wearing them fairly often. It wasn’t the same as what was happening at Scale. People were making a point to wear their shirts to represent Scale Computing. From this gesture, I really got the feeling that my coworkers believed in the company in a way I had not experienced before.

Of course, it wasn’t just the shirts. It was more. It was the shared idea that we could create the best solution in IT infrastructure. It was the positive attitudes. It was the high-fives. It was the encouragement between coworkers that lifted everyone up. It was the cheers every time we closed a deal. It was everything. But for me, it started with the shirts. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

Recently when having lunch with a partner who was visiting our office, the partner asked why everyone was wearing Scale branded shirts in the office. What was the occasion? It gave me a great sense of pride to explain that it was just a normal day at Scale Computing. It is more common to see a Scale employee in a Scale shirt than not. It’s just who we are.

I know these are just shirts. Every company has shirts. I just know they mean more at Scale Computing. Wearing my Scale shirt is a source of pride in a company I believe in, where I love working, and where I feel at home.

The Value of Customer Support

IT is an arena for problem solvers and innovators. As much as every IT administrator may be looked at as an all-knowing demigod of technology, we know that many of those super powers come from sources like web research and tech support hotlines. Good technical customer support from vendors can be the greatest asset an IT administrator has for dealing with any problem, great or small.

From initial implementation to disaster recovery, good support can be the difference in you being a hero or a villain in the eyes of your bosses. Having help only a phone call away can save you both time and money when it comes to finishing your projects on time and within budget. Without good support, you are subject to delays, finger-pointing, increased project costs, and it may even put your own job in jeopardy.

At Scale Computing, we think support is as valuable and as important as our products, maybe even more valuable. Even though we design our products for simplicity, scalability, and high availability to make them easy to use for anyone, we believe you should get the best support when you do need it. We have a #bestever philosophy of making each interaction with our support team the best ever for each customer.

I could go on and on about why our support is the best about why we have a Net Promoter Score of 87 for our support. Instead, I am going to let some of our customer quotes from our TechValidate surveys speak for themselves.

These are just a few of the great quotes we have gotten from our customers. This kind of feedback is why we keep working hard  to provide that #bestever support our customers have come to expect from Scale Computing.

WannaCry, Petya, What’s Next? Are You at Risk?

Recent ransomware attacks called WannaCry and Petya have been making headlines. They are demonstrating just how vulnerable many computer systems are to attack. Tens of thousands of systems have been affected by these ransomware attacks and they should be making you consider how vulnerable your systems are.

The type of ransomware attack used by WannaCry and Petya encrypt data, making it unreadable, and then demand payment to decrypt the data. They both attacked a vulnerability exposed in Windows operating systems that were not updated to a sufficiently recent patch level. While your systems may not have these specific vulnerabilities, it is impossible to prepare for every new or existing vulnerability that may be the target of the next attack. In addition to making your systems less vulnerable to attack, it’s a pretty good idea to have a plan for how to deal with a successful attack on your systems.

Who is most vulnerable?

In this particular case, Windows users. Windows servers and more importantly Windows Hyper-V servers were vulnerable. A Hyper-V server being hit by ransomware can cripple a small business and do serious damage to larger businesses. Small businesses really take the brunt of these attacks because even one server or one virtual host can represent nearly the entire business IT infrastructure.

What are the options?

Worst Case: Total Data Loss

You lose your data and start over. If you didn’t have a good backup or no backup at all, you may have just lost your data. No one wants to be in this situation. It could literally be the end of a business trying to recover from this type of total loss.

Recover from Backup

You may have a good backup of your data and you can recover it. Great. When was the backup taken? Last night? What is the cost of the lost data since then?  How long does it take to recover onto a clean system?  What is the cost of the lost productivity while recovering? These costs can be high.

Recover from a VM Snapshot

If the machine that was affected was a virtual machine running Windows, you may have been taking regularly scheduled snapshots of the VM and you can revert to a snapshot of the entire VM from before the ransomware infected the system. The recovery time here is very short and the amount of data loss depends on how often you are taking snapshots. This is probably the best case scenario, unless the hypervisor was Hyper-V and it also got hit by the ransomware. Then you are in bad shape.

Pay the Ransom?

For Petya, which demanded $300 in bitcoin, a few actually paid the ransom before the contact email was shut down, closing off that option for the rest of the victims. Even those who do pay have no guarantee of getting their data back according to Forbes.com. Even if you were guaranteed to get your data back, it is not a good option, no matter how much economic sense it makes, because it rewards the perpetrators.

What can you do?

If you are a small business, you might be using Hyper-V because it is a popular choice for virtualization at a low cost. You might also not have the budget to employ a full-time IT staffer to make sure your systems are up to date against the latest threats. Still, being prepared for attacks like ransomware may be easier and more cost-effective than you might think.

Consider HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure from Scale Computing. Our virtualization platform combines server and storage hardware with virtualization into an easy-to-use appliance. With HC3, you can rest more easily knowing that with our snapshot technology and other security features, you can easily restore VMs from ransomware and other virus attacks quickly and easily.

HC3 is not out of your budget. Our appliances are comparable in price to traditional server hardware and you can start with just a single appliance if that is all you need. Our solution is cheaper than traditional virtualization architectures that require external storage like SAN or NAS and are easier to deploy and manage.  If you are concerned about how these ransomware attacks and other security threats seem to becoming a way of life, check out what HC3 can do to help protect your business.