Recently, Scale Computing announced the HE150 appliance at the Gartner IO conference in December. This latest appliance in our HC3 Edge series is by far our smallest and maybe our most exciting. I personally think it is extremely cool and I wanted to share my thoughts about the HE150 and why it might be of interest to you.
What is it?
The HE150 appliance is based on the Intel NUC and it is small. Really small. The NUC could easily be mistaken for a thin client device rather than a hyperconverged virtualization host. It is only 1.5”H x 4.6”W x 4.4”D in size (38 x 117 x 112mm) and while you can easily fit three in the width of a 1U rack enclosure, the small size is designed to be used in spaces outside a typical server rack.
The HE150 is agile. What does that mean? It means it can run in ambient temperatures in remote office, store, warehouse, hospital, lab, classroom, etc. It is quiet and it consumes less power than a typical server-class appliance. It is meant to go where it is needed without requiring its own special environment to be able to operate. It can live at the edge where larger servers may not fit well.
Inside this compact form of the HE150 is an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, a 1GbE NIC, and an NVMe drive up to 2TB. For the small size, that is a lot of power, but I know, not what you might expect for a full virtualization stack designed to run business-critical applications (for which it is designed, by the way). The real power comes not from being able to pack on more punch in the chassis, but by being smarter with the resource usage in the software, namely the HyperCore operating system.
HyperCore is extremely lightweight compared to other hyperconverged virtualization stacks, mainly because of the storage architecture. HyperCore, in which the SCRIBE storage layer is embedded, only allocates about 4GB of RAM to operate. Compare this to other HCI solutions that require virtual storage appliances (VSAs) which are entire VMs consuming upwards of 24-32GB of RAM before you even start creating VMs. You aren’t going to find those solutions available in a small appliance like the NUC especially where you may be targeting an appliance with 16GB of RAM.
What is it for?
I’m guessing you are already formulating some scenarios where the HE150 might be a good fit. The truth is that the possibilities are hardly limited. I’ve been describing what a single appliance looks like but it is probably best to remind you that this is not just a one-off little appliance. It is hyperconverged which means you can seamlessly cluster it with two or more other appliances to create a fully redundant, highly available infrastructure.
The HyperCore operating system is designed to prevent downtime by making the storage and compute highly available across the nodes of a cluster. One appliance can fail and you still have two nodes running with almost no downtime. This means those business-critical apps you need to run at your remote offices, stores, facilities, etc are going to be always on and when an appliance does fail, it is easily replaced while those apps are still running.
And possibly the best thing about the HE150 is that you can build out a highly available cluster of three nodes for as little as about $5000USD. (That does include the software, in case you were wondering.) Considering the cost of downtime at a remote store, office, or another facility, which may easily be in the thousands per hour, a highly available cluster at this price point is very cost-effective.
I probably don’t have to clarify but the HE150 is not for your data center infrastructure. That is not to say you couldn’t have some HE150s in your datacenter performing some specific duties, but it is not going to be your primary data center infrastructure. That’s why we have plenty of other HC3 appliances well suited to building out data center infrastructure.
The HE150 is for the edge. It brings enterprise-class computing where it could not easily go before. The use of technology is expanding and the demand for technology outside the data center is growing. To bring that technology to where it is needed will often require agile, reliable computing solutions just like the HE150.
Want to learn more? We believe you may be thinking about ways that edge computing might be useful to your organization and maybe in ways even we haven’t thought of yet. We want to talk to you and find out how edge computing solutions like the HE150 and others can help your organization with your future technology needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk more.
Looking to the Future: 2020 Predictions in Edge Computing and HCI