HC3 delivers on their promise of fast, easy, flexible deployments
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
December 18, 2017

HC3 delivers on their promise of fast, easy, flexible deployments

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Scale Computing HC3

HC3 offers direct manufacturer support, which instills confidence in end users to always get the best information straight from the source. On the other hand, support does rely on rigid system specifications (such as which manufacturers and models to be used for inter-node switching), without offering solely specifications-based acceptance of a customer environment.
Our Scale HC3 system is being used for a data-intense multi-server public safety application suite. It is primarily used by our police and fire departments to collect, store and make accessible large amounts of historic incident records. It addresses our customer requirements for high availability while offering ease and flexibility for our system administrators.
  • Very easy to use. Intuitive and simple web-based administration interface, all the necessary features that we'd expect without any of the clutter that's irrelevant in day-to-day use.
  • Flexible resource allocation between nodes and easy use of available processor, memory and storage capacities. Very fast on-the-fly changes of settings. No worries about separate storage management when compared to basic virtualization solutions (not hyper-converged).
  • N+1 node concept provides for ultimate expansion and contraction flexibilities when designing systems, building out systems, or splitting systems.
  • No integrated backbone. I'd rather see a node interconnect system similar to network switch stacking (loop of directly attached Twinax cables, for example) than a requirement for multi-gigabit switches with very narrow specification guidelines due to lack of support for some industry leader products.
  • Manufacturer-dependent initial deployments and configurations. The customer is required to coordinate with manufacturer/vendor, which can be inconvenient to arrange.
  • While we have seen perfect reliability in pure storage and backup scenarios we did observe occasional "mysterious" application issues that we do not see on non-HC3 systems. So far we have been unable to better isolate problems and perform root-cause analysis but it has lead to a diminished trust and prevents us from more aggressively deploying the product.
We are currently using two sets of HC3 nodes. The larger one is located in our primary data center and hosts a large multi-server records management system for our public safety customers. The smaller one is located in our backup data center and serves as an off-site storage location for critical VMs. The HC3 systems have performed wonderfully in this critical 24/7 environment as far as hosting converged interface application servers and storage resources. We do still have some issues with primary client/server application responsiveness, and while our environment is built exactly to HC3 specifications (specific Dell fiber switches etc.) it has not yet been determined if the problems are application, system or network-related.
  • As our systems are run in a non-profit government services environment it is not possible to quantify an ROI in simple monetary terms. We did observe reduced system administrator time requirements when compared to standard distributed virtualization environments, though.
  • HC3 was (and still is) our first foray into hyper-converged infrastructure. It addressed our business needs nicely when trying to easily implement a vendor solution requiring a larger number of tightly-integrated servers. However, it also forced us to deviate from our internal networking standards due to tight specifications, which is a challenge in our small shop with concentrated staff knowledge and experience in other areas only.
  • One object we have is to improve overall environmental impact within our data centers (ambient requirements for cooling, light, etc.), since we do have staff members working in these rooms. One issue that negatively impacted the quality of the work environment is the very loud and high-pitched fan noise levels of all nodes.
HC3 staff performed a very convincing sales presentation and offered a product that was substantially more affordable to us than those of competitors. Hence, HC3 was (and still is) our first evaluated system and we haven't yet compared it directly to other hyper-converged offerings. We do, of course, have comparisons to non-hyper-converged virtualization solutions in use here, such as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi. HC3 promised (and delivered) on ease of implementation and no need for tertiary add-ons, such as additional NAS or DAS storage requiring further integration.
HC3's greatest strength would have to be its tremendous flexibility in scenarios where an erratic or uncertain growth rate needs to be accommodated. While performance can be matched by other vendors or system designs, HC3 shines when it comes to its ease of system administration (creation/sizing/moving of VMs and their storage resources within the system).