Hyper-converged infrastructure options, vendors and installation tips
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Maxta Inc. provides a virtual machine-centric implementation of hyper-converged computing that runs on standard x86 servers and any compute abstraction layer, as well as supporting any combination of storage devices without requiring purpose-built storage arrays.
With MaxDeploy and OEM relationships, Maxta offers a family of hyper-converged appliances, including their MxSP software that is available separately for companies that choose to perform their own integration and deployment. Maxta offers extremely flexible hardware options involving a variety of well-known vendors and supports VMware vSphere, Kernel-based virtual machines and OpenStack capabilities.
The MxSP software works with any type of storage device, including SATA or NVMe solid-state drives and a number of different conventional spinning disks that range in size. The environment offers a single pane of glass for virtual machine (VM) and data management, VM-centric storage and data services and more.
Simplicity and complexity
Although Maxta Inc. doesn't offer its own private label hardware, the variety of options and choices available to customers interested in its MaxDeploy hyper-converged appliances is enormous. The company does a good job of making the case that it offers simplified IT management and reduced costs as compared to traditional storage arrays, but customers must navigate through myriad case studies, solutions, appliance briefs and other information resources to understand those options. There's a significant learning curve, so users may need to depend on the vendor, a partner or a consultant to decide which option to choose. Maxta's primary OEM relationships include Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo, Quanta and Supermicro.
Clarity and intelligibility
Maxta is a hyper-convergence aficionado's dream product. The company offers ample information about its handling of snapshots, zero-copy clones, mirroring and replication, inline compression and deduplication, thin provisioning and high availability. This is serious technology, backed in many instances with proprietary intellectual property and patents to match. The material is clear and understandable, but it can be incredibly detailed and challenging.
Maxta Inc. offers an online configuration tool for preconfigured hyper-converged appliances available at various price points from Cisco, Dell, HPE, Quanta, Lenovo and Supermicro. It's as easy as selecting the vendor name, a server model and the number of servers desired.
There is also a software-only configuration that provides the option of selecting a number of cores per server -- ranging from eight to 36 cores -- and the ability to select the storage capacity per server: 4 TB, 6 TB or 12 TB.
A built to order option offers the same choices as above, plus the number of cores per server, the amount of memory per server and the storage capacity per server. There are a great many options to choose from, but it's easy for prospective customers to zero-in on specific items and configurations. Selecting a software-only purchase still involves making the same choice; it will have to run on some hardware, after all. As always, the hard part is figuring out what those items and configurations should be.
In addition, Maxta Inc. offers several hyper-converged appliances in partnership with Dell. MaxDeploy comes in three versions using Dell's R430 PowerEdge 1U rack server.
- MaxDeploy 1 is a 12-core unit with 4 TB of storage capacity, 64 GB of memory and 800 GB of cache.
- MaxDeploy 2 is a 16-core unit with the same specs as MaxDeploy 1.
- MaxDeploy 3 is a 20-core unit that provides 8 TB of storage capacity, 64 GB of memory and 1.6 TB of cache.
Two versions of MaxDeploy -- MaxDeploy 4 and 5 -- run on the Dell R730xd PowerEdge 2U rack server.
- MaxDeploy 4 is a 24-core unit with 16 TB of storage capacity that offers 256 GB of memory with 2.4 TB of cache.
- MaxDeploy 5 is a 12-core unit with 20 TB of capacity, 256 GB of memory and 3.2 TB of cache.
All MaxDeploy versions have a minimum of three nodes per cluster.
Overhead and efficiency
Within the limits of the hypervisor environment a customer wishes to use, Maxta offers kernel-level handling for I/O and hypervisor interactions.
Pricing and licensing
Maxta Inc. does not disclose pricing information publicly, but will discuss pricing options and the differences among its various hardware vendor partners' platforms with prospective customers. The MaxDeploy configuration tool makes it easy to submit specific requests for pricing based on any configuration(s) selected. MxSP is offered as a freemium model where Maxta gives enterprises a perpetual license that can be upgraded for paid support and more storage.
Maxta offers a variety of support options ranging from basic support with limited contact hours and lower costs to 24/7 service at higher costs for those who require around the clock support. Support covers the setup and installation of systems running Maxta MxSP, configuration and optimization and root-cause analysis for troubleshooting. Support is available by phone or email.
Special features and capabilities
A software-only purchase gives prospective customers the option of investigating migration to existing data center hardware and storage for those inclined to shoulder the burden of integration and testing. An incredible variety of options provides customers with the ability to add compute and storage to their virtualization clusters as needed. High flexibility and enormous scale are well within the scope of Maxta's storage products.
Maxta use case: Concrete building supply company switches to MxSP to reduce bottlenecks
Care needed when buying software-only hyper-converged infrastructure tools