This post is live-blogged from the StorMagic presentation at #VFD4. The structure and organization will undoubtedly be poor, since this is all captured on the fly from our chat.
The founders of StorMagic have been developing storage solutions for literally decades, and this isn’t their first rodeo. The StorMagic story is simple storage targeted at ROBO applications (which doesn’t mean small, just remote). Central management is critical, but they see many challenges with centralized infrastructure. Their goal is to enable SAN at ROBO sites, but retain the ease of management associated with centralized infrastructure. Traditional shared storage requires far too much CAPEX and OPEX for the remote office, which is the real problem the StorMagic VSA aims to solve. Reduce both Cap/Opex for storage in ROBO situations. For me, one of the greatest things about StorMagic is their level of focus. From an organizational perspective, they have really zeroed in on their target market and aren’t trying to be all things to all people. I really appreciate this.
The VSA consumes any sort of storage – internal, DAS, etc, and is capable of tiering and SSD caching. We had a (too long) discussion about the way you can deploy with as little as 2 nodes, using a third remote or local node as the witness. Delegates were really unsettled by the idea of the witness being “optional” and/or remote, but eventually we had to move on. They do this using what they call a “neutral storage host,” and it can tolerate up to 3000ms of latency, up to 20% packet loss, and only needs 9 kbps of bandwidth per mirror! Locally, 10g links are not required, although it would obviously be nice. It should work fine on 1g. The product is available currently for VMware and Hyper-V. KVM and Xen run in the lab but they aren’t implementing this for customers yet.
We walked through deploying a new VSA, which was straightforward and simple. Creating a new datastore was equally simple. All the configuration on the back end as far as adding storage to ESXi hosts, etc, is done automatically by the wizard. The only prerequisite is to create a software iSCSI initiator ahead of time on the hosts. Volume snapshots are not an integrated feature at this point, although they do have the technology built and are working on clarifying use case and how to lay out the management of this. It is possible to create a stretched cluster, but you’re then bound by stricter latency and bandwidth requirements.
Great work from StorMagic during this presentation – I think we’re all happy with their focus on their target market, and the way they drive down the expense to put storage in ROBO sites. Join us again shortly for Solarwinds!