This content is part of the Essential Guide: Best data storage products 2014: Products of the Year

Scale Computing Inc. HC4000

Scale Computing's hyper-converged storage is built on the KVM hypervisor; new features include non-disruptive upgrades and thin cloning of VMs.

Gold winner in the Storage magazine/ 2014 Products of the Year Storage Systems: Disk and Hybrid Systems category.

Scale Computing Inc. often gets overlooked in the noise of Hyper-convergence, garnering less attention than the likes of Nutanix, SimpliVity and hyper-converged newcomer VMware. But Scale Computing's latest upgrade gave the vendor a larger capacity HC4000 node and its software now supports non-disruptive rolling updates, virtual machine-level snapshots and thin cloning of virtual machines.

The HC4000 includes 128 GB to 256 GB of RAM, 12-core dual-socket CPUs and 9.6 TB of storage per node. A three-node minimum cluster includes at least 384 GB of RAM, 36 CPU cores and 28.8 TB of raw storage; a 16-node cluster scales to more than 2 TB of RAM with 192 server cores and 154 TB of raw capacity, and can handle approximately 800 virtual machines (VMs).

The HC platform is also among the few storage systems these days that include no flash, although flash is a roadmap item for Scale Computing.

New features in version 5 of Scale's HyperCore software include non-disruptive rolling updates -- meaning it automatically migrates workloads across an appliance during the upgrade, and then returns the workload to the node after the upgrade is complete.

HyperCore 5 also allows VM-level snapshots, and can clone a snapshot to start a VM while maintaining integration of other snapshots. Thin clones use allocate-on-write technology so no additional storage is used when the snap is taken, but new space is allocated as blocks are changed.

Scale Computing is unique among hyper-converged systems because it does not use VMware hypervisors in its appliances. From the start, it has supported KVM. Scale claims this lowers costs because customers do not have to pay for VMware licenses.

"Many of the features added with HyperCore v5 made it comparable or better than VMware-based hyper-converged systems," one judge said. "What stands out is that it is on KVM, so it is delivering more capabilities than VMware on a lower cost platform. That's quite innovative."

Another judge called Scale Computing's HC4000 a "good, well-priced product that provides hyper-converged solutions with features and without the VMware tax."

The HC4000 costs $22,499, with a starting price of $67,499 for a three-node minimum. HyperCore software runs across all Scale hardware nodes.

Scale Computing HC4000 2014 POY

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