This content is part of the Essential Guide: The rise of hyper-converged architecture for storage

Hyper-converged system checklist evaluates required features

With multiple hyper-converged systems to choose from, this checklist can help you determine which system is right for you.

With all the hype over hyper-convergence, and the varying definitions from vendors, it's important to know exactly what you're looking for in a hyper-converged storage system. Will you need to purchase new hardware? Does your IT staff need training from the vendor? From potential hardware issues to manageability and support, a hyper-converged system should meet all your storage requirements.

Storage expert Jon Toigo has created a handy checklist of questions you should ask when evaluating hyper-converged system options.

1) Hardware dependencies

  • What hardware will I need to make the offering work?
  • Can the components be upgraded independently?
  • Which vendor(s) sell the nodes/equipment/components for this product?

2) Multi-nodal architecture

  • What is the recommended number of nodes for high availability and performance?
  • What is the total cost of a node (hardware + software)?
  • Are all nodes in a cluster required to have identical configurations?

3) Manageability

  • Which storage services will be used with the offering?
  • How does the product scale storage capacity independent of compute?
  • Does the product work with other hypervisors as well as non-virtualized environments?

4) Hardware utilization efficiency

  • Does the product make the best use of DRAM and flash?
  • Does the offering require you to retire your existing storage investments before you are ready (i.e., rip and replace)?

5) High-availability clustering

  • Is nodal clustering functionality integral or is it provided via the operating system, hypervisor or third-party clustering software?
  • How is data mirroring configured and administered?
  • Are memory caches and buffers mirrored between nodes?

6) Mirror test and validation

  • How are mirrors tested?
  • Can mirrors be verified before failing over between nodes?
  • Is nodal failover an automatic process or is manual intervention required?

7) Metro clustering

  • Does the offering support stretch or metro clustering across a WAN or metropolitan-area network?
  • Is synchronous and asynchronous mirroring capability included in the solution?
  • Do local and remote nodes need to have identical hardware?

8) DRAM support

  • Is dynamic RAM supported for buffering writes?
  • How is a DRAM buffer protected from data loss?

9) General fitness to purpose

  • Is the hyper-converged system suited to the environment in which it will be deployed in terms of power consumption, cooling requirements, noise requirements, physical space available?
  • If staff training is required, is it available from the vendor? At what price?
  • Will the offering support your workloads/hypervisors?

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