We were primarily looking for a storage system for a management cluster that was separate from our fiber channel SAN. Fiber channel SAN is all of our mission critical stuff, but we needed somewhere for our management systems that are watching and monitoring everything. So we were looking for something that was ASCII based. We wanted something that wasn't going to take pre-built hardware because we have two different data centers and a third location where we are trying to spread the data across those locations. The VSA solution was great because it runs on ProLiant alongside of our ESX servers and we were able to get that geographic disbursement of our data while watching our mission critical fiber stuff. It's simple to administer too and it was simple to set up.
Improvements to My Organization:
We leveraged StoreVirtual to provide a software SAN for our management cluster of vSphere - this allowed us to run monitoring and management applications on a separate infrastructure from the rest of our Fibre Channel based vSphere clusters and allowed us to watch and observe, even when the SAN was having a problem.
Room for Improvement:
The user interface needs to be updated. It's getting kind of long in the tooth, and the user interface makes it look a lot more complex than it actually is to manage, and I think that you can mask a lot of that with a refresh of the user interface. While HPE has created a new HTML5 UI for the HyperConverged 380, it is not available to the rest of the StoreVirtual population.
Use of Solution:
We've got about four years worth of experience with it.
Sizing information is scarce to know how to size drives and which types of drives to use. Different engineers in HPE have different opinions how to deploy the solution. Using VMDK disks under the StoreVirtual for its primary storage caused a lot of low disk space errors in vSphere on the VMFS drives, so either you leave a lot of space unused to avoid errors or you deploy it onto RDM's with local disks (which takes some extra configuration).
StoreVirtual has been great. We haven't had a failure in all the years I have run it, and we went through a reconfiguration about three months ago to add some solid state drives to improve the performance, and it works fantastic.
The great thing about that is if we are hitting a performance issue or something, scale is built into that platform, you add additional nodes, you've got additional capacity, you've got additional IOP capabilities across your virtual array. So scaling within StoreVirtual is really kind of easy, just scale it out to another node. The trick, however, is each node really needs to be configured the same as the last - so mix and match in the future with new technology becomes more of an issue.
StoreVirtual setup is actually really simple. There are a couple of different ways that you can do it now. You can set it up from intelligent provisioning, which is included on every Proliant server. It will go out to the internet, pull down the bits, and deploy it for you. It's all sort of work-flowed and really simple. If you wanted to, you could pull down the bits yourself and there is a wizard that deploys it. That's also really simple. You have to do a little bit of planning of how you build your rate sets and drive sets and stuff that are going to be underneath it, but it's incredibly easy to deploy, whether you are doing bare metal, or BSA like we are doing.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
Pricing is very affordable - it is great for SMB on up to Enterprise looking for branch solutions. Purpose built-appliances are also available for those looking for more scale.
StoreVirtual isn't going to be a jack-rabbit - it isn't going to be the best performing SDS you find on the market, but it is most the most affordable and it suits many use cases.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.