Broad hypervisor version support (vSphere 4.x, 5.x, and 6.x in future)
Broad hardware support, no special qualification or HCL beyond that of the hypervisor
Snapshot for BC and backup
Multi-Site SAN for DR (synchronous volume replication)
The Veeam snapshot integration plus the hypervisor integration with vSphere VAAI and VASA as well as the Microsoft VSS integration is second to none.
How has it helped my organization?
We can afford shared iSCSI storage and it’s easy to deploy for the lab as well as production usage, not just for critical production apps.
What needs improvement?
The capacity utilization is the worst in the industry as far as I know. Data compaction in the form or dedupe and compression, while on the roadmap, is long overdue. A serviceable (e.g. practical) “Network RAID 5” would also help the capacity utilization issue.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using it for four years.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We have had no issues with the deployment.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There have been no stability issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
There have been no issues scaling it for our needs.
How are customer service and technical support?
It is good if you know how to navigate the HPE support queues (Storage -> LeftHand) to reach a legacy LeftHand support engineer. If you overlook this simple but critical detail you risk falling into a “black hole of support.” If you reach a legacy Left Hand engineer, you will have a successful user experience.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
StoreVirtual/LeftHand is very well known in the HPE world. For vSphere, I don’t have the hardware to run VMware VSAN. For Hyper-V, it is rumored to be easier to use than MS Storage Spaces. For KVM it is perceived to be the easiest available solution (due to my ignorance, perhaps?).
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is very straightforward and not at all difficult. There are good HPE written documents and YouTube videos as well as some good independent content on sites such as https://www.bitcon.be/.
What about the implementation team?
Read the HPE content from 2014 and then watch the StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series on YouTube. Talk to someone who knows and has implemented LeftHand, if possible.
What was our ROI?
I don’t maintain hard and fast ROI info, however, I believe it is 50% less expensive than a SAN for deployments under 15 TB of usable capacity. My advice is to make sure that you understand the true usable capacity calculations and that you have no other option for production apps other than “Network RAID 10.”
What other advice do I have?
The design of the solution is critical. If you undersize the hardware the performance will not be adequate. Also, setting the customer’s expectations is very important. StoreVirtual VSA is relatively slow for big block sequential things like migration and large file or directory copies. It is designed for day-to-day random IOPS with at least 50% read IO, typical of most virtual environments.
Talk to someone who knows and has implemented LeftHand and StoreVirtual VSA, if possible. Find an HPE Partner that has deployed this at least 3 or 4 times. If you choose to “roll your own” read the HPE content from 2014 and later then watch the StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series on YouTube. Also check out Veeam Backup & Recovery’s StoreVirtual snapshot integration as well as HPE’s best kept secret, the StoreOnce VSA for virtualizing your disk-based backup and recovery.
This screenshot depicts a restore operation from an HPE StoreVirtual VSA snapshot of a primary storage, production VMFS volume. This can give you a Recovery Time Objective as low as 30 minutes on StoreVirtual VSA production volumes whereas recovery from a daily backup offers an RTO which can be up to 24 hours. Restores can be executed for SharePoint objects (including sites, libraries, documents, calendar items and lists), Exchange items (.edb files, mailboxes, calendar items, contacts and even individual messages), Active Directory objects (Groups, accounts and GPOs) as well as SQL record and tables. Oracle DB support is now available as well.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're an HPE-exclusive reseller partner. I also produced The StoreVirtual VSA “How To” video series, consulted with and trained customers when I worked at Hewlett Packard.