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How storage stacks stack up

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These are the major stack packages available from the leading storage vendors:

Dell vStart. Dell Inc.’s vStart bundles include Dell servers, storage and switches, and come with VMware or Hyper-V software. The vStart series currently has three models that come in two configurations -- “v” for VMware equipped and “m” for Hyper-V. The vStart 50 is the smallest configuration and it’s designed to support 50 virtual machines (VMs); the midsize vStart 100 accommodates 100 VMs and the largest, the vStart 200, supports 200 VMs. Currently all configurations use PowerEdge servers, EqualLogic storage and PowerConnect switches, but Dell has said it will incorporate Compellent storage and Force10 switches in future configurations.

Hewlett-Packard VirtualSystem. Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. offers several VirtualSystem packages that include HP servers and storage, and HP or Brocade networking gear bundled with VMware or Hyper-V. The packages vary in size and are designated VS1, VS2 and VS3. The small VS1 configuration uses HP P4500 G2 LeftHand storage, ProLiant servers and VirtualConnect switches. The VS2 is a midsize configuration that has HP BladeSystem servers and HP P4800 LeftHand storage, while the large VS3 configuration features HP 3PAR InServ F400 storage, BladeSystem servers and Brocade OEM switches.

NetApp FlexPods. FlexPods include some of the same components as Vblocks -- Cisco Nexus switches and Cisco Unified Computing System

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servers -- and are anchored by NetApp FAS storage systems. FlexPods are available from NetApp resellers who integrate and configure the components. NetApp does allow the use of already installed NetApp storage and provides APIs to integrate existing management tools. NetApp offers several “validated” FlexPod application packages, including offerings for Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft SharePoint and SAP. It also offers a Microsoft Hyper-V configuration, although it’s not officially called a FlexPod.

Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Oracle Corp. uses the converged products concept to produce a different type of stack product; rather than building a stack to support a virtual server infrastructure, Exadata is essentially a set of components dedicated to running big Oracle databases. The Database Machine includes Oracle servers, storage and InfiniBand networking; Oracle Database 11g RAC is pre-installed.

Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Company Vblocks. VCE Company LLC is a joint venture of Cisco Systems Inc., EMC Corp. and VMware Inc., and Vblocks are converged stacks of EMC storage, Cisco switches, Cisco’s Unified Computing System (server) and VMware. Vblocks support a range of use cases from a virtualized server environment in a typical midsize company up to a very large private cloud deployment or an entire public cloud infrastructure. Vblocks preconfigured for specific applications are also available, including Microsoft Exchange, SAP and VMware View virtual desktop environments.

This was first published in February 2012

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