Customers tell us anecdotally that they can have a system fully installed and are able to create VMs in under an hour. In order to prove this theory, we wanted to bring forth full transparency with a third-party vendor and show the world the truth behind that message.
With this in mind, we asked the folks at StorageReview.com, the web’s leading independent storage authority, to see just how long it would take them to set up and deploy a 3-node Scale Computing cluster in their lab environment.
For this review, they wanted the unboxing experience to mirror what a real-world customer would encounter. So, we sent their review team a 3-node HyperCore edge cluster based on the Intel NUC Enterprise Edge Compute platform (Intel NUC 11) along with an accompanying datasheet, and set up a support call to walk through the installation if needed – the same process a typical customer would experience when purchasing a Scale Computing HyperCore cluster.
As Brian Beeler, Publisher and Editor of StorageReview notes at the outset of their unboxing video, “Scale Computing quotes somewhere around an hour from unboxing the unit to being operational and so we wanted to put that to the test. Just like a typical end user, we didn’t do any prep work in advance of the set up. Aside from provisioning a few IP addresses upfront we didn’t need to do anything. Scale Computing shipped us the box and set us up with their support system which includes their online community which is really quite impressive if you encounter any little problems along the way”.
Beeler contrasts this unboxing process with other HCI systems that they have reviewed in the past where they would first be required to fill in a worksheet and then export it as a file with all of their network configuration data and then hope that all of the data in the worksheet was accurate.
“What’s really interesting beyond just the cost metrics of these systems is that Scale Computing leads with a simplicity of setup message. And indeed, the initial setup is exceptionally easy. Just place the nodes in the desired location, connect them to a power source, and plug in the two Ethernet cables which provides redundancy in case of a disruption such as a switch failure.”
Beeler goes on to note that, “this type of cluster has enough power in them to make them ideal for a variety of edge use cases, from retail to industrial IoT. Based on the Intel NUC compute units, these edge units are small, incredibly powerful, easy to configure and can go anywhere.”
An Intuitive & Powerful UX Streamlines Edge Management
After provisioning the three nodes, the StorageReview team then turned their attention to the Cluster Manager web-based graphical user interface to see if it was as intuitive and easy-to-use as advertised.
As Beeler explains in the video, “Scale Computing has made the cluster manager as straightforward as installing and creating the cluster itself. There are two methods to manage the Scale Computing Cluster: a local cluster manager and Fleet Manager cloud access. The local cluster manager is a graphical user interface through the installed cluster. We only had a local three-node cluster, so this would typically be the method to manage a small installation such as ours.”
The review team was also impressed by how the cluster manager interface not only provided a streamlined and simple to understand top level view of the cluster environment – from statistics which include total cores, RAM count, disk storage or disc utilization – but also enabled them to manage the production environment itself, allowing them to quickly drill down into the details of their cluster and select tools specific to the individual node and its underlying components.
This makes tasks like moving a VM from one node to another as simple as dragging and dropping it from within the display. They were likewise impressed by the remote capabilities of SC//Fleet Manager which enables the cluster to reach out to Scale Computing to validate that it’s running the latest release, ensuring the environment has access to the latest features and enhancements alongside bug and security fixes. As Beeler notes, “with updates being applied in a rolling fashion, applying these is a non-event for the user and any connections into the workloads running on the cluster.”
So what was the final verdict by the StorageReview.com team? “Scale Computing HyperCore on NUC11 delivers as promised. The folks at Scale Computing told us it is possible to have a HyperCore cluster up and running in 30 minutes, and they hit the mark. Setup and configuration are intuitive with an easy-to-navigate set of tools. Of course, Scale Computing provides support via Zoom and can walk anyone through the process to ensure there aren’t any snags along the way.”
To watch the entire StorageReview.com unboxing video click here.