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Stratoscale Symphony hyper-converged software offers cloud build

Symphony has a hypervisor-agnostic build and navigable nature that makes it a good match for any large company in search of hyper-converged software.

Stratoscale Symphony is an integrated software-defined data center that delivers the functionality needed to establish and operate a cloud environment. Symphony provides compute, storage and network virtualization beneath a cloud manager and an integration layer. The vendor does not sell any appliances, per se, but claims its products work on any x86 architecture with any attached storage.

Features

Symphony represents something of a software-only hyper-convergence product; ultimately, it still needs hardware on which to run. The product offers the ability to consolidate and manage storage, compute and networking resources across any collection of x86 servers and storage within existing network infrastructures.

The hyper-converged software includes a cloud manager layer that sits above those standard hyper-converged resources and delivers a resilient cluster manager, resource load balancing, support for multi-tenancy and integrated monitoring and analytics. System administration and end-user self-service capabilities come from strong automation tools built using the OpenStack API; Symphony also supports RESTful APIs for third-party integration.

Symphony uses its own cloud-optimized, kernel-based virtual machine for the hypervisor. It offers virtualization for all hyper-converged functions: compute, storage and networking. Administrators can choose how to package and deploy workloads using containers or virtual machines.

Stratoscale Symphony manages storage itself, using distributed block storage that stripes I/O across all available storage devices in a cluster. Data is replicated across multiple loads to ensure durability in the face of disk or server failure. The hyper-converged software integrates with existing storage to make the best use of those assets and Symphony offers multiple forms of data protection to support data protection policies.

Symphony includes virtualization of network functions to support logical virtual networks independent of underlying physical networks. Capabilities include virtual switching, network address translation, security groups, Layer 3 and 4 services and integration with software-defined networking.

Simplicity/complexity

The Symphony user interface is designed so administrators can acquire, configure, distribute and manage hyper-converged resources quickly and easily. The environment's self-service end-user capabilities are extensive, especially for organizations that need temporary or transient cloud computing capabilities for projects, experiments, testing and so forth.

The overall environment consolidates all hyper-converged resources to which it is granted access and uses smart technology to provision and allocate those resources. This imposes more responsibility on buyers when it comes to purchasing new hardware and integrating systems into the Stratoscale hyper-converged software, but offers great flexibility and scale out.

All elements in a cluster are managed through a single pane of glass and are designed for simple, straightforward deployment and control over resources, tenants and projects.

Clarity and intelligibility

With nearly infinite scale-out capability, Symphony covers a plethora of potential use cases, including:

  • An on-premises analog to Amazon Web Services.
  • Implementing an OpenStack Cloud.
  • Transforming a data center into a flexible cloud infrastructure.
  • Using Symphony for big data environments.

While there is a huge amount of vendor materials available, they are well-written, well-organized and straightforward.

Building blocks

Customers can use existing x86 hardware and infrastructure and purchase whatever gear they like. This puts choosing, configuring and purchasing new building blocks in the hands of the buyer. This is something of a tradeoff because customers then have to do their own systems engineering, at least at the component level for compute, storage and networking elements and capabilities. A network of partners -- including vendors like Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo and Super Micro -- offer prebuilt and pretested reference platforms.

Overhead/efficiency

Stratoscale includes its own hypervisor and supports all common guest operating systems, both for client and server images. The vendor's environment supports virtualization and containers side by side and together. Because performance and efficiency will depend on the underlying runtime environment, the best metrics will come from proof-of-concept implementations that model current and proposed workloads as closely and carefully as possible.

Pricing and licensing

Customers can preserve existing equipment assets with Symphony and control costs when acquiring new equipment. Stratoscale licenses Symphony on a subscription basis, at a cost of $5,000 per year for every server on which the hyper-converged software is run. Contact the vendor for more details on how the definition of servers breaks down and the subsequent pricing implications.

Support

As subscription software, base-level support is included with the annual fee, including access to a self-service portal and the ability to raise and track support tickets online. Higher levels of support with response time guarantees are available for an additional cost.

Special features and capabilities

Stratoscale offers the PartnerFirst network, an ecosystem that encompasses channel partners, technology partners and even system partners to help customers offload some or all of the various burdens associated with customers doing their own systems engineering.

Next Steps

Read these use cases for hyper-converged products

Stratoscale software-defined storage stack eases path to private cloud

Hyper-convergence vendors and disaggregation: How will it affect users?

This was last published in September 2016

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