Scale Computing: Our hyperconverged gear will be worth the weight

Networking being added to the mix. Hi Mellanox, are you the one?


Hints, hints, hints. Scale Computing – the virtualization upstart in San Francisco, not the buzzword – hinted away at a press presentation today that product news is coming, and so we went on a dot-connecting exercise.

We can see a move upmarket and a tiered product including networking.

The biz describes itself as a hyper-converged system vendor to small and medium businesses with clusters formed from three HC3 disk-only nodes at a minimum. Cluster node counts up to 64 have been tested. The nodes converge compute, storage and virtualization (embedded KVM hypervisor), but not networking. There are three products (nodes): HC1000 and HC2000 in 1U boxes and HC4000 in a 3U box. The servers are sourced from tier 1 suppliers – think Dell, HPE-class.

The storage technology is the Scribe clustered block storage engine, with Scale saying it needs far less CPU resources than a SimpliVity or Nutanix-class hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA). Customers are SMBs with from 5 to 30 servers. There is a relationship with Veeam for data protection.

Scale received $18m funding in June last year and said it was going to introduce new products for the mid-market.

In February, Dave Hallmen was appointed Chief Revenue Officer and is in charge of the worldwide sales and marketing functions. His appointment quote said: "I am excited by both the vision and direction that Scale Computing has in bringing hyperconvergence to the data center for companies of all sizes."

Hallmen said: "Hyperconvergence is gaining traction as a preferred method of building infrastructures to support today's business-critical applications. I feel Scale's approach to this with their HC3 Platform means that companies can adopt a single solution at a lower cost and without the complexity found with traditional storage protocols. This is what companies from the mid-market through the enterprise are looking for and I can't wait to help further position Scale as the company to provide it for them."

Note the "companies from the mid-market through the enterprise" point.

Also in February, Scale partnered Mellanox around the latter's top-of-rack Ethernet switch; the SX1012 backplane switch that allows for side-by-side deployment with a high density of ports in a 1U form factor. Mellanox's NEO cloud networking orchestration and management software is also involved.

Mellanox is not seen as an SMB networking product supplier.

Jeff Ready, Scale CEO and cofounder, said: "When a customer buys the Scale/Mellanox bundle, they get an end-to-end, fully integrated hyper-converged platform and backplane management console in a single interface that is easy to manage, with no compromises on performance or functionality."

Ian Smith, Scale EMEA technical manager, hinted that tiering was coming and said Scale doesn't have archiving "currently."

So, El Reg thinks that Scale is going to provide a fully hyper-converged compute plus storage plus networking plus virtualization product – an HC4 line perhaps. We think there may well be SSDs included to boost performance as the company will move up from SMBs to target mid-market enterprises.

There will be one or more disk tiers, with archiving, possibly/probably to the cloud as a remote backend.

Scale depends on the channel for its sales and there will be channel training, we think, to help the channel sell up-market. We expect announcements in the next few months, with Scale competing more directly with Nutanix, SimpliVity, Dell, EMC, HPE, Cisco and Lenovo in selling HCIAs to the general enterprise market. ®

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