Hyper-Converged Storage the present and future of storage.
I had a customer asking me about storage recently. She has an environment that is largely Equalogix and I was researching the solution that best meets her needs. It has become very apparent that Hyper-Converged Storage with compute and store appliances that remove the complexity of the storage architecture is really the way to go. It makes sense, the old mindset for storage architecture was very stable, high performing, but very complicated. The newer, hyper converged storage is also very stable, high performing, but very clean and simple.
There are several companies that have compute and store solutions. Most of them have a few similarities such as offering everything from one manufacturer in a single appliance, and they all have a VMware ESX host pre-loaded, or ar ESX compatible. This group of next gen manufacturers includes brand names such as Dell VRTX servers that combine an Equalogix storage appliance with Dell severs and a switch in a 2U appliance. Dell offers the VRTX for sale beginning at the end of June 2013. There are also several smaller companies that have very compelling offerings in the Hyper-Converged Storage space as well. Companies such as Nutanix and Simplivity offer some amazing compute and store capabilities. The Nutanix offering is unique in that it is based on the GFS Google Filing System. The GFS shares many of the same goals as previous distributed ﬁle systems such as performance, scalability, reliability, and availability. However, its design has been driven by key observations of application workloads and the technological environment, both current and anticipated, that reﬂect a marked departure from some earlier ﬁle system design assumptions. Simplivity offers may more capacity than Nutanix and at a better price point, they do not operate on the GFS, but they have a secret sauce software OS called the Federation that allows them to tier together all of the Simplivty appliances together and operate as one computing/storage base. This can be tiered together via10GB on the same network, or via 1GB for separate network communications, this allows you to have Simplivity appliances anywhere in the world and have them operate as one collective unit. In addition, there is an outstanding hyper-converged storage option in the NAS arena as well with the Gridstore product line. Their offering is unique in that you add a gridstore appliance each time you want to add storage to the NAS. After adding a news appliance, all of your Gridstore appliances immediately begin to communicate with each other and act as one data store.
Whether you are looking for a solution like the ones I mentioned or if you are interested in spending a lot of money on a cobbled together multi vendor product like Vblock, from EMC, and Cisco-The future of storage is beginning to take shape and the shape is a simple, single appliance solution that does computing and storage in a single appliance.