Scale Computing ‘Magic’: Edge Device Application Breakthrough

‘The magic is that we have got the entire software stack from Scale running in those tiny devices, consuming less than one Gig(abyte) of memory,’ says Scale Computing CEO Jeff Ready. ‘What the Scale software does is effectively turn those devices into full enterprise class, highly available servers.’


Scale Computing is poised to break the edge computing thin device barrier with a breakthrough that allows ultra-small Lenovo M90n Nano and Intel NUC products to run full mission critical apps at the edge at a cost savings of 66 percent.

Scale- a perennial technology innovator – has for the first time put its full HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure and virtualization software into a small device RAM footprint.

[Related:Jeff Ready: Scale Computing’s Edge, Automation Strategy Tops Dell]

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“The magic is that we have got the entire software stack from Scale running in those tiny devices, consuming less than one Gig(abyte) of memory,” said Scale Computing CEO Jeff Ready in an interview with CRN. “What the Scale software does is effectively turn those devices into full enterprise class, highly available servers. What we are doing is allowing mission critical applications to be run on something you can literally carry in one hand.”

That breakthrough opens up a myriad of new use cases for edge applications at a heretofore unimaginable price performance point, said Ready.“Now customers can run these mission critical applications at the far reaches of the edge,” he said. “In short, what we have got is a fully highly available platform for mission critical applications that is going to be under $5,000 in total.” That same solution without the Scale breakthrough would be three times as much or $15,000, said Ready.

As part of the edge computing offensive, Scale is also bringing to bear its HC3 Edge Fabric which eliminates the cost of expensive network switches to manage traffic at the edge, said Ready. The HC3 Fabric allows those tiny devices- which in effect become servers – to be linked together, providing storage and networking services to the edge applications.

With the Lenovo M90n Nano, which has a wireless antenna, partners can link together multiple devices via ethernet ports and then have the entire mission critical edge application running on a wireless network that can be synced to the full corporate network, said Ready.

“What we are doing with our innovation is driving out further costs on the hardware side and then adding in additional technologies on the software side that makes the platform efficient for edge deployments,” said Ready.

Scale is leveraging the NUC Thunderbolt networking capabilities to effectively provide a 30 Gbit networking backplane for mission critical applications at a fraction of the cost it would take to run them on a data center based network. “Building a 10 Gig network would mean multiple thousands of dollars in costs,” Ready said. “With the Intel NUC you get a very functional backplane for data at almost no cost.”

The Scale Computing ultra-small device breakthrough opens the door for game changing mission critical edge applications for vertical markets like retail and restaurant hospitality, said Ready.

“What we are doing is opening the door for partners to deploy this kind of infrastructure for new sources of data at the edge,” he said. “The beauty of our solution is at our customers don’t have to rewire the entire factory floor or run ethernet cable all over the restaurants,” he said.

Ready said he sees the Scale mission critical edge computing breakthrough opening up huge sales opportunities for enterprise, midmarket and SMB customers that are demanding a single platform for all applications from edge to core to cloud.

“Customers don’t want to run multiple infrastructure for different kinds of applications,” said Ready. “They are not going to run one infrastructure for legacy applications and a different infrastructure for their IoT devices. What we are able to do with the Scale software stack is provide one platform that will run all applications regardless of where they are.”

Scale’s software muscle supports everything from Docker containers to legacy virtual machines all on the same platform with different devices, said Ready. “What we are providing is high availability and the ability to run old, current and future applications,” he said. “The driving force behind our innovation with things like our networking fabric is driving out costs on the hardware side, while at the same time adding in additional technologies on the software side that makes the platform more efficient at the edge.”

Joel Althoff, president of Monticello, Iowa-based Infrastructure Technology Solutions, a Scale Computing partner, said the ultra-small device edge deployment functionality represents a “big breakthrough” that will open up new markets for Scale and its partners.

“This is a fit for 90 percent of our customers,” said Althoff. “These customers would not have been able in the past to afford an edge solution like this because it would have been too costly. Instead of having a small single server you have added some resilency. It also opens up the market for us with disaster recovery. As an MSP we can do replication from those systems back to our data center.”

The ability to use devices like Lenovo M90n Nano and Intel NUC for edge applications is opening up new opportunities in retail and hospitiality and medical office scenarios, said Althoff.

Infrastructure Technology Solutions is already leveraging ultra-small devices like NUC and Lenovo Nano for VoIP PBX deployments, said Althoff.

In fact, Infrastructure Technology Solutions has set up a three node NUC cluster to run a PBX solution alongside essential services like Microsoft Active Directory or DNS server. “A lot of customers are doing heavy compute in the cloud but they still need that gateway to get there,” he said. “This is a pretty big play for Scale and its partners like us.”

Infrastructure Technology Solutions’ Scale Computing sales are on the rise and will continue to grow, predicted Althoff. “Scale Computing is quite innovative,” he said. “The big thing is as they innovate and add more features they keep things simple. That’s really important because it keeps the cost of training down for our technical staff and keeps it affordable for customers. I’m looking forward to trying out this new Scale solution.”