Scale and the SMB Sector
Overall Satisfaction with Scale Computing HC3
In the few instances I've had to reach out to them, the support representatives have been quick to respond and very friendly to deal with.
In once instance, we had a node reporting memory errors, and they shipped us out a replacement node (diskless) which we received within 1-2 business days. We co-ordinated a shutdown window for that node, swapped the hardware out, plugged the disks into the new node in the matching hot-swap bays, lit it up and they dealt with the rest.
Another scenario involved a failed SSD which was causing serious performance issues on the cluster VERY late at night (2AM or so). They remotely removed the disk from the storage subsystem at that time to resolve the performance issues. Once the replacement arrived, after swapping it in they dealt with re-integration thereof into the storage subsystem.
- Single pane of glass management console with the ability to 'Tag' virtual machines into separate groups for organization, making it easy to view resource utilization and VM state. Additionally, direct in-browser remote control without the use of a third party plugin makes direct control seamless.
- Quick and easy cloning of virtual machines makes life easier, providing the ability to maintain a single master template for a given class of system.
- Moving a VM from one node to another is as simple as clicking Move, then selecting the target node. Because of the way Scale backend the storage for their VMs, all migrations are Live.
- Support reps are very friendly, and are available at varied hours of the day, thus not limiting you to a 9-5 window if there is a problem.
- On high memory nodes, the current view pane does not provide an easy means by which to view a detailed list of VMs on a given node. I'd love to see an additional view which provides detailed list of VMs per node, or something on the VM 'card' itself with the host node information.
- I'd like to see the ability to control how many replica copies of data are stored on a given cluster. The ability to configure the environment so that every node has a copy of every VM's data is something that I feel would be beneficial if you have the storage.
- Scale currently lack a comprehensive in-built backup solution which can communicate with external storage. The snapshot system is good, but the ability to configure an external storage point for redundancy would be appreciated.
Some of the applications we run on our cluster include:
- Industry specific production software which injects, processes, and renders order data for output purposes
- Internally developed middleware for CRM, order management, billing, and reporting purposes
- Point of Sale, inventory management, and financial accounting software
- Auto-printing software for dynamically generated order packing slips
- Mail, instant messaging, and patch management servers
- System uptime has significantly improved after we migrated off of our old virtualization platform, in part due to VM migration times with the ability to Live Migrate, and in part due to the replacement of aging hardware.
- Management and support time is greatly reduced.
Scale's feature set targets the SMB sector, particularly those companies without a full-time in-house IT team. This is a good fit, as they offer the ability to replicate VMs to a remote Scale cluster for redundancy and disaster recovery purposes. Their remote support is also well suited to this, as if there's a hardware issue, they will send a replacement chassis/disk, and walk you through the required physical steps for replacement, while they remotely manage the software-level changes required for a node which is joined to the cluster.
In a much larger environment, with a dedicated server team, I think that is where a company begins to outgrow Scale's targeted feature set.