Scott D. Lowe authored a fantastic article on HyperConverged.org last week that focused on where HyperConvergence is NOT a fit. It is not an angle you hear often from a proponent of HyperConvergence and I have to admit…I like it.
At Scale, we have a laser-like focus on serving the IT infrastructure needs of small-to-medium sized businesses. Similar to Scott Lowe’s approach in his article, it is as important to define our target customer as it is to define who is NOT our target customer. When it comes down to it, a large company who has IT employees that specialize in every component in the infrastructure (think SAN or network admin, etc.) may never fully appreciate the simplicity of HC3 or may even be somewhat threatened by it. Continue reading
With a title like Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array supplies are bleeding, I couldn’t help but read Chris Mellor’s article on the decline of traditional storage arrays. It starts off just as strong with:
Great beasts can be killed by a 1,000 cuts, bleeding to death from the myriad slashes in their bodies – none of which, on their own, is a killer. And this, it seems, is the way things are going for big-brand storage arrays, as upstarts slice away at the market…
And his reasons as to why are spot on from what we have seen in our target customer segment for HC3.
…the classic storage array was under attack because it was becoming too limiting, complex and expensive for more and more use-cases.
Looking at our own use-case for HC3, storage array adoption for our target segment (the SMB) rose with the demand for virtualization, providing shared storage for things like live migration and failover of VMs. It was a necessary evil to know that critical workloads weren’t going to go down for days or even weeks in the event of a hardware failure. Continue reading
There was a recent article that focused on the benefits that city, state and local governments have gained from implementing HyperConvergence (Side Note: for anyone interested in joining, it was brought to my attention on a new HyperConvergence group on LinkedIn where such articles are being posted and discussed). The benefits cited in the article were:
- Ease of management,
- Fault tolerance,
- Redundancy, and late in the article…
I’m sure it isn’t surprising given our core messaging around Scale’s HC3 (Simplicity, High Availability and Scalability), but I agree wholeheartedly with the assessment.
It occurred to me that the writer literally could have picked any industry and the same story could have been told. When the IT Director from Cochise County, AZ says:
“I’ve seen an uptick in hardware failures that are directly related to our aging servers”,
It could just as easily have been the Director of IT at the manufacturing company down the street. Or when the City of Brighton, Colorado’s Assistant Director of IT is quoted as saying,
“The demand (for storage and compute resources) kept growing and IT had to grow along with it”,
That could have come out of the mouth of just about any of the customers I talk to each week. Continue reading
This past week I have been at the MidMarket CIO Forum in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. It is a fun event with very intimate boardroom style sessions that give vendors a chance to sit down with CIOs to discuss industry trends, their current problems and our potential solutions. In each of our sessions there was at least one CIO saying something along the lines of, “I see the value of HC3, but I have already invested in VMware. How can you work in my environment?” This is usually in a lamenting tone after we have described the added cost that they likely paid for the licensing, implementation, hardware (SAN/NAS), and training associated with a traditional Do-it-Yourself virtualization deployment. (Side story…one potential customer told us his woes of sending a sysadmin off to a week long VMware training only to have him return to leave for another job weeks later. Ouch!).
Since it came up so often, I thought a quick blog post was warranted in case there are others out there asking the same question.
VMware customers coming to HC3 for their Primary Infrastructure
Many customers come to us having used VMware in the past. Most have implemented VMware in the traditional “inverted pyramid of doom” style (to steal a spiceworks-ism) with a handful of host servers connected down to shared storage through redundant switches. Often they come to us when it is time to refresh either a SAN or NAS or when looking to add a new host into their environment (which can push their VMware licensing cost up significantly as they jump from Essentials Plus or another 3 host package into a more enterprise license). When we talk to potential customers in this situation, it is not uncommon to hear things like “For the price of replacing my SAN, I could have an entire HC3 cluster?” or “For the price of just the licensing, I can put in a new HC3 system?”. There are several examples of this in our customer success stories that I recommend reading through if interested.
VMware customers purchasing HC3 as a Disaster Recovery Site
Customers who have already made a heavy investment in VMware for their primary site, but still want to take advantage of the simplicity and affordability of HC3 still have an option. Instead of purchasing and implementing the same VMware environment that they have in place at their primary site, this group of users can implement an HC3 system along side HC3 Availability to replicate data from their primary site to the HC3 system. In the event of a failure at the primary site, HC3 Availability will detect the failure and can automatically (or manually if you’d rather) bring up those VMs on HC3. Here is a video of Dave Demlow walking through the HC3 Availability product which demonstrates the failover process from VMware to HC3:
We have admittedly seen this approach act as a “trojan horse” where users begin with HC3 as a DR target, but fall in love with the simplicity of adding new highly available VMs. At the time of that next server/SAN refresh cycle, those customers often replace their primary site with HC3 as well.
If you have any questions on making the jump from VMware to HC3, please feel free to reach out to us for more information.
Virtualizing Microsoft Exchange is one of the primary use cases that we see for HC3 customers. A general move to virtualizing Exchange has gained traction as companies take the normal cycle of hardware refreshes and Operating System upgrades as an opportunity to consolidate servers in a virtualized environment. These companies seek to take advantage of:
- Better availability;
- Flexibility in managing unplanned growth (both performance and capacity); and
- Lower costs from better hardware utilization. Continue reading
“Good news everyone!” HC3x has just been announced. For the last few months, we have internally referred to this platform under the code name “MegaFonzie.” Those of you familiar with Futurama probably know that Mega Fonzies are units used to determine how cool someone is (hence the picture of Professor Farnsworth) …and HC3x is off the charts! If your response is, “Balderdash…I’ll be the judge of what’s cool” then grab your cool-o-meter and let’s walk through this new hardware together.
It’s always good to reflect on the feedback you are being given. So I wanted to take some time and share some of the comments that I have received about HC3. *Only names have been changed due to shyness.
“The Tired IT Commuter”
“Ronald” is the lone IT person at his company. He’s spread across three educational sites managing 100 servers and 500 desktops. He has to commute up to 50 miles in-between all of these sites. I could hear the tiredness in his voice and when he saw the solution that I was introducing him to, that tiredness turned into excitement. All servers, across all sites, managed by a single browser – it was the simple answer to a question he’d pondered for years.
“The Jaded CTO”
I spent time with another customer, “Tony,” who originally was quoted a monolithic virtualization solution. He is the CTO of a manufacturing company and upset because he could not justify the price for an enterprise solution when he was not an enterprise company. His needs were different and he didn’t need everything that was being sold to him. He searched for a reason not to purchase a solution from Scale Computing since we were not an incumbent solution. During my onsite install with him, I asked about his purchasing decision and he told me that we gave him everything he needed. If he needed extra features, he would buy them from third-party vendors but he appreciated that he wasn’t forced into buying them.
“The Prudent Admin”
Lastly, I discussed the infrastructure needs of a long-time storage customer of mine, “Jared.” He was burdened by the aspects of virtualization that required him to construct an environment from disparate parts. I asked him why he didn’t just add virtualization into the existing Scale Computing storage that he previously purchased. He was dumbfounded. The shift of simply expanding his existing technology had not occurred to him since it is so foreign in IT technology. Once he learned that it was as simple as adding HC3 into his existing Scale storage, he never looked back.
The vast majority of people I talk to echo these sentiments, and as you can see, my team does not simply ship product and move on. We are proud that we can help these customers build a solution that works well for their companies. As one IT person to another, I am glad that we can work together to build something better.
The Cloud is cool. It’s the latest thing! Everyone wants to touch it and have access to it. All the big vendors make stuff that supposedly delivers the Cloud to you. But…what’s the Cloud? I have probably met more entrepreneurs over the past 5 years that were doing Cloud Computing, or Cloud Storage, or building a Cloud Provider, or providing Cloud Services or Apps running in the Cloud, or building infrastructure for the Cloud than in any other technology area.
Two things are usually missing when you ask about them: who is the actual customer and does he need your cool, new Cloudy-thing? And, how will YOU make money so you can sustain your business?
Crickets. Continue reading
Today, Scale Computing released results of a market survey conducted by ApplicationContinuity.org. Sponsored by the developers of HC3, the report showcases why midmarket organizations are embracing on-premise virtualization over the cloud, the driving factors behind this decision, and what alternatives companies are choosing for their mission-critical applications and data. More than 3,000 IT professionals in the US participated in the recent survey, which shows that nine-out-of-ten midsize companies prefer to keep their critical applications and data local and that cost and complexity remain key concerns for both cloud and on-site virtualization. For a complete list of survey findings, download the free report by visiting: http://bit.ly/CloudTakesABackSeat.
I’m going to put the Value Chain on hold for a post or two because I want to explore some other stuff with you. I was on a trip recently and met with a number of existing and prospective Scale Computing VAR partners and potential customers. The conversations were pretty normal for a company like ours, one that has brought to market a unique solution – our hyperconverged HC3 product. The discussion of why Scale is here and how we are being successful in the face of major competition always comes up.
The answer: The reason companies like ours exist is to solve problems that the big guys can’t or won’t. Continue reading