I’ve long believed that HCI was the best solution for the “small-scale” systems in remote and branch offices and SMEs. In many cases, these sites have just a handful of workloads that could easily be handled by a single modern server.
A pair of servers with a decent VSA sharing out their local storage devices provides plenty of capacity, horsepower, and resiliency without the admittedly small complications of an external storage array. Add in that every entry-level array I ever used had one critical flaw or another and HCI is the obvious choice for this market.
Of course, the money is in the enterprise where customers buy 32 node clusters and as long as your solution is cheaper than a VMAX the buyer’s happy. HCI vendors like Nutanix are chasing the data center market while releasing limited-function versions of their kit for the SMB.
HCI pioneer Stormagic, on the other hand, has kept their VSA focused on small environments even building a witness that can run on a Raspberry Pi. I took a look at their latest version 6.1, which turns the Stormagic VSA into a real hybrid system, and wrote a guest post on their blog.
Click the link, it’s pretty cool.