Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Destiny Bertucci, Pat Romanski, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Five Advantages of Virtual Storage Appliances (VSAs)

Consider the benefits of deploying VSAs versus traditional storage hardware

With hypervisors a ubiquitous component of nearly every IT deployment, virtual appliances present a compelling alternative to traditional physical appliances by offering a simpler and faster software deployment model. In recent years, many data storage vendors have jumped on the “virtual bandwagon,” offering virtual storage appliances, often referred to as VSAs, and bucking the trend of an industry largely dominated by traditional hardware boxes.

While virtual storage appliances may seem disruptive to the accepted model of an integrated storage array, their attractiveness is largely based on the separation of the high-value I/O software stack from the commodity hardware that underlies them. This software/hardware decoupling enables new levels of deployment flexibility for end-users. For those considering deploying new storage infrastructure, VSAs offer a number of advantages over physical appliances and traditional storage arrays. Five of these advantages include:

  1. Zero-U footprint: There’s a certain appeal to deploying data storage systems that consume near-zero dedicated rack and floor space, especially considering traditional data storage systems may often occupy the majority of a data center. Of course, there is a catch — VSAs consume real CPU and memory resources and the actual data storage devices still need to reside somewhere. However, in the case of cloud storage VSAs, the bulk of the storage may reside in an external cloud provider, moving users closer to the near-zero footprint ideal.
  2. Fastest time to POC: Ever try setting up a proof of concept (POC) for a new data storage system? Truth is, many storage vendors offer free trials of their physical boxes, but they involve the logistics of transporting the appliance, installing, configuring, powering, cabling, etc.  Even though the POC can start in minutes once the hardware is in place, getting to that point can cost weeks of lead time. Downloading a virtual appliance and installing it in minutes accelerates the trial process dramatically, reducing risk and minimizing time lost waiting.
  3. Option to create your own box: It is often challenging to create a “one-size-fits-all” storage appliance. In spite of many traditional storage products offering a multitude of configuration possibilities, sometimes base configurations are too large or maximum configurations are too small — other times, it’s hard to find the appropriate size in between. Virtual storage appliances enable deployment on physical platforms the size that business requirements dictate. Ability to use commodity or best-of-breed data storage devices means any customer can achieve the desired ratio of price, performance and availability. What’s more, many VSAs operate on free hypervisor platforms such as VMware ESXi or Citrix XenServer, minimizing the need for investment in additional hypervisor licenses.
  4. Software investment protection: Any IT administrator who has lived through the process of deploying storage arrays and migrating and retiring those arrays just a few short years later can appreciate the value of decoupling the storage software from the hardware that becomes obsolete after a few years. Preserving the existing software stack reduces the downtime and risk of the data storage upgrade and replacement cycle. This advantage becomes even stronger when a VSA is coupled with the nearly infinite storage capacity offered by cloud providers, alleviating the concern of ever running out of capacity, one of the most common reasons for upgrade.
  5. Platform mobility and resilience: When it comes to high availability and disaster recovery, traditional storage appliances often mandate additional hardware at both the primary site where the appliance resides and at  secondary or disaster sites. Virtual storage appliances, on the other hand, can leverage existing virtual infrastructure on-premise, off-premise or even in the cloud to increase system availability and resilience. If there is an outage at the primary site, restart the appliance at a secondary site or even in the cloud (for cloud storage VSAs). If the current appliance platform does not meet performance requirements, simply move the appliance to a more powerful and faster platform. With VSAs, there is no longer a need for dedicated redundant hardware on-premise or off-premise.

Given all of the benefits, it’s no wonder the number of VSA offerings on the market is growing. A recent TechTarget article entitled Virtual storage appliance market: Categories, capabilities describes several categories of VSAs: these include shared file storage solutions such as Openfiler, storage optimizers that provide caching and tiering including DataCore SANsymphony and cloud storage gateways such as TwinStrata CloudArray.

Bottom line? There are many benefits to virtual storage appliances and while they don’t necessarily replace physical appliances for every use-case, they offer a wealth of new options and flexibility to IT organizations consuming data storage.

More Stories By Nicos Vekiarides

Nicos Vekiarides is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of TwinStrata. He has spent over 20 years in enterprise data storage, both as a business manager and as an entrepreneur and founder in startup companies.

Prior to TwinStrata, he served as VP of Product Strategy and Technology at Incipient, Inc., where he helped deliver the industry's first storage virtualization solution embedded in a switch. Prior to Incipient, he was General Manager of the storage virtualization business at Hewlett-Packard. Vekiarides came to HP with the acquisition of StorageApps where he was the founding VP of Engineering. At StorageApps, he built a team that brought to market the industry's first storage virtualization appliance. Prior to StorageApps, he spent a number of years in the data storage industry working at Sun Microsystems and Encore Computer. At Encore, he architected and delivered Encore Computer's SP data replication products that were a key factor in the acquisition of Encore's storage division by Sun Microsystems.

@ThingsExpo Stories
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...