Maxta MxSP hyper-converged storage gets beefed-up OS

Maxta's MxSP hyper-converged storage user interface enables granular storage management with vSphere, KVM and OpenStack and supports block storage with OpenStack Kilo.

Maxta this week upgraded its MxSP hyper-convergence software with features for improved storage management for individual virtual machines.

The software vendor added two components to its Maxta MxSP operating system: The MxCloudConnect cloud portal with call-home support and MxInsight, a common user interface for managing virtual machine (VM) storage in VMware vSphere, Linux-based KVM and OpenStack.

The launch coincides with Monday's kickoff of the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia, during which Maxta showcased Nova and Cinder drivers to support block storage in OpenStack Kilo.

Maxta sells its hyper-convergence software in two ways. Customers can license a virtual storage appliance or get Maxta MxSP prepackaged on commodity storage servers under Maxta's MaxDeploy reference architecture. Its approach differs from competitors Nimboxx, Nutanix, Scale Computing and SimpliVity, which bundle storage software on branded hardware appliances. Maxta's strategy is most similar to VMware, which sells Virtual SAN (VSAN) hyper-converged software through its EVO:RAIL OEM partnership with hardware vendors or as standalone software that can run on pre-certified hardware.

Granular management tools for storage management, VM analysis

MxInsight blends cluster-level reporting with storage analysis at the server and individual VM levels. Maxta CEO Yoram Novick said the management interface was designed based on direct feedback from customers.

"Customers told us they wanted real-time as well as historical data. They wanted to see trends on how performance and capacity change over time and how they should plan their storage going forward," Novick said. "MxInsight gives them both a big-picture view as well drilling down to specific disk drives or solid-state drives."

The upgrade enables admins to set multiple replicas and replication frequencies for high-priority VMs. They also can choose which VMs will be moved should VMware vMotion suffer a failure, a feature Maxta calls "node affinity." Previous versions of MxSP required customers to specify the number of replicas and applied a uniform policy across all VMs.

A similar feature, known as Rebuild Priority, is designed to speed recovery of VMs while consuming fewer resources. It lets users identify the order in which mission-critical VMs get rebuilt.

Block storage with OpenStack targets HA, shared storage

Maxta storage keeps at least one local copy of data for fast reads. The latest version of MxSP gives customers the option to disable or enable data striping across multiple MxSP nodes.

MxCloudConnect is a centralized cloud analytics portal with phone-home support. Maxta software collects and monitors customer data and alerts customer about potential failure points.

Novick said Maxta's Cinder driver is for customers who want to shift block storage to OpenStack Swift clouds to replace storage arrays as VM targets for cloning, replication and high availability.

Adding per-VM storage management capabilities is an important step for Maxta, said Tim Stammers, senior analyst at 451 Research.

"It's a further refinement of what was already a technically sophisticated product. Adding call-home support is a nice feature and should give users more confidence about Maxta's ability to provide support," Stammers said.

Next Steps

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