Unified Storage (Multiprotocol)

Published: February 2017
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Description:

Different software products often use their own “language” called communication protocols. Therefore, making different applications work together creates major difficulties. Every application has limited set of supported protocols, but even if the software supports multiple protocols, it “prefers” one of them to others in the list, typically having performance challenges with using the least preferred. And when it comes to virtualization, this happens a lot with storage and consumers. Some vendors agree for mutual compatibility of their storage applications. For example, Microsoft Hyper-V “prefers” SMB3, also working with iSCSI in certain issues but doesn’t work with NFS at all. VMware vSphere works with NFS and iSCSI but doesn’t work with SMB3. Thus, finding a storage for both environments simultaneously can be a hard task. Some software, like VMware Virtual SAN, has its own proprietary protocol, making it even harder to achieve compatibility. Thus, users are left searching for special software that allows multiprotocol communication, such as additional “gateway” layers. However, these require skills and assets, while also being a bottleneck in performance, because all the data has to go through them.

StarWind Virtual SAN exposes industry-standard uplink protocols. It uses SMB3, including RDMA-supporting SMB Direct and MPIO-utilizing SMB Multichannel, NFSv4.1 and iSCSI (VVOLs on iSCSI, NVMe over Fabrics and iSER). Actually, it can unite any virtualization environments together with the storage into a working setup. The typical usage scenarios can be unlimited: bare-metal, converged (“compute and storage separated”), hyperconverged, Clustered Shared Volumes for SOFS, VVOLs on top of iSCSI, SMB3 file server and many others. StarWind Virtual SAN can expose industry-standard protocols outside and feed the storage to any other deployment based on Hyper-V, vSphere, Xen, etc.

Thus, StarWind Virtual SAN ultimately serves as a gateway for industry-standard protocols, such as iSCSI, NFS, SMB3 and others, allowing multiple virtualization environments interact with storage and form a working setup.

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