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Introduction

Scale-Up and Scale-Out

Storage capacity is becoming a real challenge for IT departments because the amount of data most companies use is growing exponentially. In addition, the increasing amount of production VMs requires more CPU and RAM resources. Choosing the right way to scale your IT storage infrastructure is vital to building a balanced, robust, and cost-effective production environment.

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Problem

Problem of Scaling Storage Infrastructure

The scale-up process is one of the approaches to increasing the capacity, performance or compute resources of a system or server. Despite seeming simple, it presents a number of problems:

  • There are constraints to physical system upgrades: once all disk, CPU, PCI, and RAM slots are occupied, it’s impossible to change and define a scale up solution by adding more components.
  • There will always come a point when a forklift upgrade is needed. Old hardware and parts have to be reused or sold, otherwise, the TCO will go through the roof.
  • Scaling up a small number of systems increases the performance impact on the configuration in case of a failure. In an environment relying on a few big systems, a failover causes a significant impact on the configuration: imagine hundreds of VMs and applications simultaneously starting on a system that is already running the same number of tasks. This produces a powerful I/O hit on the storage subsystem and often results in worse performance or application crashes due to slow I/O. To avoid this, an adequate power reserve has to be maintained. However, this is inefficient and causes a dramatic increase in the TCO since the power reserve is mostly idle and cannot be used for applications or VMs.

Updating individual systems with more CPU, RAM and disks has been a typical approach for the last two decades. However, when it is not available the alternative approaches should be chosen.

Scale-up has physical limits

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Solution

Scale-Out Solution from StarWind

There are several issues to consider in scale up vs scale out. Scale-Out by StarWind Virtual SAN is an approach with modern virtualization in mind. It is a much more effective and cost-efficient alternative than scaling up. Scale-out aims to grow both storage and compute power by adding an additional upgrade node or nodes instead of disks, CPUs, NICs, or RAM to individual systems. Increasing the number of nodes increases infrastructure reliability by eliminating single points of failure. It also enables a more flexible computing environment by treating all servers as a unified compute and storage resource pool. Adding nodes with the same hardware configuration isn’t necessary. Customers can add performance-tuned or capacity-tuned StarWind nodes depending on their IT environment requirements.

Scale-out by adding nodes



Scale-Up Solution from StarWind

Scale-up is still a great way to scale the environment, depending on the scenarios. Although both approaches have different goals in mind, it doesn’t mean that one is ultimately superior to another. Current infrastructure compilation, configuration, as well as business needs, have to be considered while choosing one approach over the other. Scale-up is more efficient in scenarios where clusters have CPU/RAM/disk slots available to add hardware. It is faster to get a small number of hardware elements for your cluster rather than waiting for a scale-out storage node or compute node to arrive. Thanks to their unmatched versatility and outstanding redundancy, adding hardware to your existing StarWind nodes is also a viable option to scale your IT environment.

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Conclusion

Take Advantage of Scale-Out vs Scale-Up Approach from StarWind

Implementing the scale-out approach versus the scale-up one provides you with a robust, well-balanced, and easily scalable configuration. The scale-out approach gives IT administrators the following significant advantages:

  • Managing a scale-out cluster is very easy and requires no downtime. The IT infrastructure is easily upgraded by adding nodes. Old hardware can be taken out of use without downtime.
  • The performance impact in case of a failure is much lower compared to the scale-up approach. Should any node fail, all VMs and applications failover and re-balance between multiple nodes of the scale-out cluster, which prevents an I/O hit on the production environment.
  • Implementing the scale-out approach will lower your OpEx and TCO because the configuration doesn’t require time-consuming forklift upgrades or after-hours maintenance.

There are still cases where a scale-up approach is still a suitable option for increasing the amount of available CPU/RAM/storage resources in the virtualization cluster. Our engineering team is helping our clients to identify the best suitable approach. Contact our team here to get help.

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What The World Says About Us

StarWind included as Niche Player for the third consecutive time in 2020 Magic Quadrant for HCI



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Success Stories

We were able to build 2-node storage clusters based on virtualization in 19 hypermarkets without any problems and with high cost-efficiency.

Vass Sandor, IT Infrastructure Leader

By being able to virtualize our environment with StarWind, we were able to retire some old hardware, get our services highly available, reduce power consumption and heat in our server closet.

David Gardner, Information Systems Manager

We are satisfied with StarWind. The support is really fantastic. Whenever any issue arises, the response is very prompt, and solution is immediate.

Srinivas Kouda, Company’s Representative

StarWind got us off the clustered environment, which was a big help. So, I could regain control of my storage and reclaim and redistribute the space we desperately needed.

Ryan Fulton, Company’s Representative

Price + Simplicity. StarWind VSAN offers great pricing and allows us to get work done without expensive custom hardware. It also makes getting back online quick and easy after an outage or hardware failure.

Aaron Hayes, IT Manager

We chose StarWind Mainly because of the cost compared to other vendors. Simplicity of setup was also a major factor and I like the fact that you don’t need a vendor certified engineer to perform the installation.

John Harris, Windows System Administrator,
Department of Physics, University of Oxford

Because of recommendations of older colleagues, with StarWind, we got a reliable storage with no additional hardware. There was a need to increase IT infrastructure performance and we saw StarWind as the most cost-effective solution.

Željko Medić, Director of IT Department

StarWind is the best storage product I have ever used! It satisfies and exceeds requirements.

Joe Gursky, Director of IT
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