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Software-Defined Storage: StarWind Virtual SAN vs Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct vs VMware Virtual SAN
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on June 16, 2016
4.67/5 (3)

This is a comprehensive comparison of the leading products of the Software-Defined Storage market, featuring Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct, VMware Virtual SAN and StarWind Virtual SAN. It provides numerous use cases, based on different deployment scales and architectures, because the mentioned products all have different aims. As the market is already large enough, the vendors used to dwell its different parts, but lately they entered a full-scale competition, adapting their products to meet general demand. This post is an analysis of how Microsoft, VMware and StarWind fare in in the Software-Defined Storage market right now. The approach is practical and all the statements are based on the experience of virtualization administrators and engineers from all over the world.

SMB and ROBO

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Manage It Already
Posted by Jon Toigo on April 27, 2016
4.5/5 (2)

As I review the marketing pitches of many software-defined storage products today, I am concerned by the lack of attention in any of the software stack descriptions to any capabilities whatsoever for managing the underlying hardware infrastructure.  This strikes me as a huge oversight.

The truth is that delivering storage services via software — orchestrating and administering the delivery of capacity, data encryption, data protection and other services to the data that are hosted on a software-defined storage volume – is only half of the challenge of storage administration.  The other part is maintaining the health and integrity of the gear and the interconnect cabling that provide the all-important physical underlayment of an increasingly virtualized world.

1

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World Backup Day Is Coming
Posted by Jon Toigo on March 16, 2016
5/5 (7)

At the end of March, an event little known outside of a small community of vendors, will happen:  World Backup Day.  Expect a flurry of blogs and tweets and posts and all of the other stuff that goes along with such marketing events.  Then, expect the discussion to go silent for another year…unless a newsworthy data disaster occurs.

Truth be told, backup has never been front of mind for IT planners.  Most planners don’t even consider how they will back up the data they will be storing when then go out to purchase storage rigs.  And most have no clue regarding which data needs to be protected.  Backup is an afterthought.

Backup steps

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HYPER-CONVERGENCE TAKES HOLD
Posted by Jon Toigo on February 18, 2016
4.38/5 (8)

Hyper-converged infrastructure, when we started to hear about it last year, was simply an “appliantization” of the architecture and technology of software-defined storage (SDS) technology running in concert with server virtualization technology. Appliantization means that the gear peddler was doing the heavy lift of pre-integrating server and storage hardware with hypervisor and SDS hardware so that the resulting kit would be pretty much plug-and-play.

HCI

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Hyper-Converged Needs to Get Beyond the Hype
Posted by Jon Toigo on January 25, 2016
4.29/5 (7)

It used to be that, when you bought a server with a NIC card and some internal or direct attached storage, it was simply called a server. If it had some tiered storage – different media with different performance characteristics and different capacities – and some intelligence for moving data across “tiers,” we called it an “enterprise server”. If the server and storage kit were clustered, we called it a high availability enterprise server. Over the past year, though, we have gone through a collective terminology refresh.

Today, you cobble together a server with some software-defined storage software, a hypervisor, and some internal or external flash and/or disk and the result is called “hyper-converged infrastructure.” Given the lack of consistency in what people mean when they say “hyper-converged,” we may be talking about any collection of gear and software that a vendor has “pre-integrated” before marking up the kit and selling it for a huge profit. Having recently requested information from so-called hyper-converged infrastructure vendors, I was amazed at some of the inquiries I received from would-be participants.

HCI types

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Storage Spaces Direct: Overview
Posted by Anton Kolomyeytsev on November 20, 2015
5/5 (1)

This is a short summary on Storage Spaces Direct – the first true software-defined storage from Microsoft, its history and peculiarities. Software-defined storage is a concept, which involves storing data without dedicated hardware. This is an introduction to a series of posts dedicated to theoretical and practical research of S2D. The post is not a full description of the Storage Spaces Direct technology, more info is available on Microsoft resources. Our focus here is the actual problem that S2D solved for virtualization world, being truly independent from underlying hardware, as SDS should. Its predecessor, Clustered Storage Spaces, had a very serious hardware lock-in with its requirements for SAS fabrics, SAS switches and SAS JBODS. Thus, Storage Spaces Direct is an interesting technology to research.

JBOD-Scale-Out

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