Hyper-Converged (HCI) Forum

Ariel Lindenfeld
Sr. Director of Community
IT Central Station
Rhea Rapps
Content Specialist
IT Central Station
We all know that it's important to conduct a trial and/or proof-of-concept as part of the buying process.  Do you have any advice for the community about the best way to conduct a trial or POC? How do you conduct a trial effectively?  Are there any mistakes to avoid?
anush santhanamHi, When evaluating HCI, it is absolutely essential to run a trial/POC to evaluate the system against candidate workloads it will be expected to run in production. However, there are quite a few things to watch out for. Here is a short list: 1. Remember that most HCI depend on a distributed architecture which means it is NOT the same as a standard storage array. What that means is that, if you want to do any performance benchmarking with tools such as IOMeter, you need to be extremely careful in the way you create your test VMs and how you provision disks. Guys such as Nutanix have their own tool X-Ray. However I would still stick to a more traditional approach. 2. Look at the list of apps you will be looking to run. If you are going to go for a KVM type of a hypervisor solution, you need to see if the apps are certified. More importantly, keep an eye out on OS certification. While HCI vendors will claim they will and can run anything and everything, you need the certification to come from the app/OS OEM. 3. Use industry standard benchmarking tools. Remember unless you are using a less “standard” type of a hypervisor such as KVM or Xen, you really don’t need to be wasting your time with the hypervisor part as VMWare is the same anywhere. 4. Your primary interest should be the storage layer without question and the distributed architecture. Remember with HCI, the computer does not change and hypervisor (assuming VMWare) does not change. What changes is the storage. Next there are the ancillary elements such as management and monitoring and other integration pieces. Look at these closely. 5. Use workload specific testing tools. Examples include LoginVSI, jMeter, Paessler/Bad boy for web server benchmarking etc. 6. Finally, remember to look at the best practices on a per-app basis. The reason I suggest this is because of the following. You may have been running an app like Oracle in your environment for ages in a monolithic way. However when you try the same app out in HCI it may not give you the performance you want. This has to do with the way the app has been configured/deployed. So looking at app best practices is something to note. 7. If you are looking at DR/backup etc, then evaluate your approaches. Are you using any native backup or replication capability or are you using any external tool. Evaluate these accordingly. Remember your RTO/RPO. Not all HCI will support sync replication. 8. Finally if you are looking at looking at native HCI capabilities around data efficiency etc (inline de-dupe and compression), you will need to design testing for these carefully. 9. Lastly, if you are looking at multiple HCI products, ensure you use a common approach across products. Otherwise your comparison will be like looking at oranges and apples. Hope this helps.
MohamedMostafa1There are several ways to evaluate HCI Solutions before buying, Customers need to contact HCI Vendors or one of the local resellers who propose the same technology. Both of HCI Vendors and Resellers will be able to demonstrate the technology in Three Different scenarios like : 1 – Conduct Cloud-Based Demo, in which the presenter will illustrate product features and characteristics based on a ready-made environment and the presenter will be able to demonstrate also daily administration activities and reports as well. 2 – Conduct a Hosted POC, in which the presenter will work with the customer in building a dedicated environment for him and simulate his current infrastructure components. 3 – Conduct Live POC, in which the presenter has to ship appliances to customer’s data center and deploy the solution and migrate/create VMs for testing purpose and evaluate performance, manageability & Reporting. If the vendor or a qualified reseller is doing the POC, there should be no mistakes because it’s a straightforward procedure.
Bob WhitcombeSelecting an HCI path is pretty straightforward and it goes through the cloud. You first select your workloads and what performance is needed for success. Since the key differentiation across HCI platforms today is software - you should be able to construct a target load of the apps you want to test and run them in a vendors cloud sandbox. You want to align your hardware solutions so you can leverage your existing support models and contracts, but you are testing software platforms for usability, performance and adaptability to your current operations model. Once your workload homework is complete and your have selected an application type, VDI, OLTP, Data Warehouse etc, and determined worst case response times, you can throw a target workload to the cloud for evaluation. At this point you are looking for hiccups and deployment gotchas. HCI and cloud processes may be new to you - so you may need to stretch beyond your deployment models. This is a good thing. Recognize HCI is a leading edge trend and is one step removed from the cloud - which is where you will be in 5-10 years. You want to look for key software features that lower the cost and complexity to manage this installation. But for a corner case or three, most applications will fit squarely in the middle of the "good" zone for today's SSD based HCI solutions. With cloud testing of a target HCI platform you should learn how your applications perform, see key features you really really want and satisfy yourself that these systems can be managed without significant incremental effort by your current staff. Then you do the grid - is the target aligned with my current hardware vendor; endorsements from people running similar applications; killer features and a drop dead signing bonus that justifies adding this platform to my portfolio of aging IT equipment? If and only If you come down to a near tie between two vendors should you go to the trouble of a full meal deal on-site PoC. They may not provide any more information than the version in the cloud, require physical hosting on your site, need an assigned project manager and then you get to deal with the loser - who may very well be your current vendor - and what a joy that will be.
Rhea Rapps
Content Specialist
IT Central Station
One of the most popular comparisons on IT Central Station is DataCore Virtual SAN vs Nutanix. One user says about DataCore Virtual SAN, "Mirroring is the most valuable feature because I can provide a high-level of service and optimize the use of obsolete storage." Another user says about Nutanix, "As a system integrator, Nutanix offers a highly standardized solution which can be deployed in a timely fashion compared to legacy three-tier, generation one converged, and most competing for hyper-converged solutions. This allows us to move quickly with a small team or architects and implementation specialists for large projects."In your opinion, which is better and why?
Bob WhitcombeIn a two product comparison, three elements are required. A list of pros and cons for each product and the weighting criteria you will use to score the competitors. As a bowler, I love my golf score. For Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, I focus on mid-size (>500 employees, >$200M) companies and enterprises. Both products let you build your own Hyper-Converged Infrastructure. I give DataCore high marks for its SAN and storage focus but I see Nutanix as a stronger vehicle for mid-size organizations looking at hybrid-cloud and higher levels of feature sophistication. While striving for neutrality - I favor Nutanix for my customers. The incremental costs are manageable and this group is less interested in building than buying services. For many smaller customers - especially ones who will go the extra mile to save a buck and see options like Scale I/O from EMC or VMWare's VSAN as too expensive, I expect DataCore Virtual San to find a good home. As the HCI standard bearer the application support question is very clear for Nutanix, both from the SW vendor and Nutanix. The DataCore support path is fuzzier. DataCore is of interest to customers seeking to re-purpose a brownfield array of older servers for an application they are very familiar with. Most larger IT shops have no time to build something out and will pay for reliability and reduced risk given the mass of users they support.
Shadi KhouryI think Nutanix is suitable for medium companies because it is an appliance with standardization, compatibility between equipment; but for the same reason, it is bad for scalability if you try to scale your environment with other appliances from other vendors. Whereas DataCore needs more professionality and experience.
Benjamin BodenheimI have used nutanix now for almost a year and the product just works. I sleep at night knowing my systems replicate from one data center to the other
Jean Louis Ferrie
User
Which hypervisor(s) are supported with HPE Simplivity?Thank you. 

Sign Up with Email