Scale Computing Targets Nutanix Xpress With New SMB Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Solution

Hyper-converged infrastructure technology developer Scale Computing on Wednesday is introducing a new hybrid flash version of its appliances with a sub-$25,000 price that the company said beats top vendor Nutanix in terms of price and availability.

The new HC1150 from Scale Computing is focused on helping small and midsize business customers looking for simple solutions for adding high-performance flash storage -- without the complexity of integrating server, networking and SAN technologies or managing all the necessary licenses, said Alan Conboy, chief evangelist in the office of the chief technology officer for the Indianapolis-based vendor.

"Our focus is on SMB," Conboy told CRN. "These companies may have IT administrators, but not anyone with VMware or Cisco certifications."

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The HC1150, the latest in Scale Computing's HC3 line of hyper-converged infrastructure appliances, features flash storage as a tier of primary storage, and not as cache.

The HC1150 is a hybrid storage appliance with both flash and disk capacity, and can provide up to 70,000 IOPS of performance with full high-availability features in a three-node cluster with a street price starting at $24,500, Conboy said.

Unlike the recently introduced Nutanix Xpress hyper-converged infrastructure solution from San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix, which also targets SMB customers, the new HC1150 features the same capabilities of all Scale Computing's HC3 appliances and is not a stripped-down version of more advanced solutions, Conboy said.

The HC1150 scales to an unlimited number of nodes, compared with a maximum of four nodes for the Nutanix Xpress, he said. Also, the different Nutanix nodes cannot be mixed and matched in the same cluster, he said.

Like all HC3 appliances, the HC1150 comes with the company's HyperCore software preinstalled. The software includes what Scale Computing calls its State Machine software on each node that helps the nodes communicate with each other and manage migration, system healing, balancing and other capabilities, he said.

The capacity of the multiple nodes can be pooled, even across nodes based on different hardware, to serve storage to virtual machines as needed, he said. However, the initial three nodes in a new cluster must use the same hardware, he said.

The ability to mix and match nodes from different generations and with different capabilities in a HC3 cluster is a key capability, said Michael Sheward, chief technology officer at Solutions4ebiz, a Pendleton, Ind.-based solution provider and Scale Computing channel partner.

"For customers with an older cluster, they can upgrade their power and capacity with new nodes," Sheward told CRN. "There's no need to over-purchase nodes upfront. Customers can wait a year to upgrade their clusters to take advantage of cheaper and more powerful nodes."

Sheward said Solutions4ebiz was introduced to Scale Computing two years ago when it was asked by a customer to deploy the solution. "Then we acquired a cluster for ourselves because we liked it so much," he said. "Then we became a reseller."

Solutions4ebiz has deployed Scale Computing's HC3 clusters with a wide range of customers, including a real estate company with a nationwide presence that does all its operations online and a health-care SMB that needed a high-performance solution for its HIPAA projects. "The health-care [business] bought a second cluster for disaster recovery," Sheward said. "They never expected to be able to afford a disaster recovery solution."

The HC1150 can be configured with up to 256 GBs of memory, and with up to 1.9 TBs of SSD and 12 TBs of SAS hard drive raw capacity per node.

Scale Computing on Wednesday also introduced the HC1000, a new entry-level version of its HC3 appliances featuring up to 128 GBs of memory and 16 TBs of hard drive raw capacity per node. A three-node cluster based on the HC1000 has a starting street price of about $20,000.

Kevin Greenwood, senior director of global channel sales at Scale Computing, said the company focuses its sales exclusively through its channel partners who can qualify for 5 points of margin on the hardware with an additional 23 points for registered deals.

The majority of Scale Computing's business is in North America, where the company relies on the Promark division of Ingram Micro as its primary distributor.

The company is actively recruiting both traditional solution providers and managed service providers, Greenwood told CRN.