Maxta Inc.'s hyper-converged software has been tested and certified to run on servers from Cisco Systems and HP.
Maxta formally announced that Cisco Systems has tested and certified Maxta Storage Platform on its Unified Computing System (UCS) C240 ME rack-mounted system. The Cisco servers support Maxta's metro cluster functionality for replication between data centers up to 310 miles.
Maxta refers to its reference architecture as MaxDeploy, which serves as a blueprint for tailoring hardware and software configurations to an end user's workload. MaxDeploy was unveiled in July for testing on industry-standard x86 servers and storage devices by Intel, particularly white boxes that use Intel Grantley server chips.
According to Maxta, Cisco tested MaxDeploy on a four-node configuration of UCS C240 M3 Systems servers with dual-socket, four-core Intel Xeon CPUs. Each server provides 128 GB of memory with DDR3 interface and a dedicated, 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.
Cisco's hybrid system supports up to one dozen 1 TB SATA hard drives and two 300 GB Intel DC S3700 SATA solid-state drives (SSDs), plus four 8 GB Maxta virtual machine instances with 8 GB of memory each. The cluster is rated for random read performance of more than 50,000 IOPS and is priced starting at $39,000.
Cisco UCS, HP reference designs available through channel partners
HP's recommended configuration for optimizing Maxta storage includes four HP ProLiant SL210t Gen8 nodes with 96 GB of memory. Each server supports four 1.2 TB HP SAS Enterprise hard drives and two 100 GB HP Enterprise Mainstream Endurance SSDs. It is rated for random read performance of 130,000 IOPS. Maxta said pricing for the HP reference architecture is not yet available.
In addition to supporting Maxta, HP has been busy rolling out its own branded hyper-converged storage technology. The company in October launched the HP ConvergedSystem (CS) 200-HC platform based on its StoreVirtual software and CS 200-HC EVO: RAIL, which combines a VMware software stack with HP hardware.
Unlike HP, Cisco has not signed on as a VMware EVO: RAIL partner. It does partner with Maxta hyper-converged competitor SimpliVity on reference architecture, however.
The verified Cisco and HP reference designs are available to customers through joint channel partners.
Partnership model varies from hyper-convergence competitors
Maxta's approach to hyper-convergence is to use standard x86 machines and converged compute and storage to eliminate the need for storage arrays and storage networks. The model differs from competitors that sell hyper-converged storage systems bundled on their own appliances, including Nutanix Inc., SimpliVity Corp. and newcomer Nimboxx Inc.
Maxta captures any unassigned storage seen by a hypervisor and aggregates it as a shared pool under a single global namespace, eliminating the need to carve out logical unit numbers and volumes.
Arun Taneja, president of IT consulting firm Taneja Group, said the concept of hyper-convergence is to make it simpler for customers to buy, deploy and manage the entire infrastructure.
“When that infrastructure is delivered as an appliance designed for a particular set of workloads, then this task is easy. But when it is delivered as software, the onus shifts to the buyer. It goes counter to the whole idea of hyper-convergence. This is where reference architectures come in,” Taneja said.
“By providing reference architectures along with software, Maxta is trying to have its cake and eat it too. It is the right thing to do for a software vendor. Customers gets more choices but still have boundaries they must not cross. That is the power of reference architectures,” Taneja added.