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Cloud computing changes things, it makes administration and management of an X.86 environment easier and more automated. But until now the real goodies of VMWare’s product set, VMotion and VSphere have been limited to the small number of organizations that can afford to install a SAN. You see shared storage is a necessity in VMWare’s vision of the cloud but smaller companies (known as SME for Small and Medium Enterprises) have been locked out by the not insignificant investment of buying shared storage.

Because VMWare now virtualizes the network (SAN and LAN), moving servers, storage, Virtual Appliances and network connections around is automated and simple.  However in order to take full advantage you need shared storage. That is where StorMagic’s SvSAN (StorMagic virtual SAN),comes into it’s own, designed from the outset as a VMWare guest appliance it works as part of the overall ESX environment providing shared storage services from the internal and directly attached storage of one of the ESX physical servers.

So rather than buying a SAN, SMEs can just use the internal storage provided as part of the server they are running VMWare ESX on. No Storage Controller, no Fiber Channel, no Storage Switches, no Host Bus Adapters. Now here is the best part of the story, StorMagic’s SvSAN is available for free download. Download it, install under VMWare ESX, configure the disks you want to use, optionally plug in a RAID controller and add a JBOD external array and it’s all done.

So just to make things clear. If you have some servers with internal disks, you can download SvSAN for free and get the Enterprise functionality of VMotion and VSphere to work without buying shared storage. Brilliant, simple and game changing for SMEs.

Here is what my colleague, Mark Peters at ESG has to say:

StorMagic SvSAN is software that enables the creation and management of a virtual SAN based physically upon the internal and direct attached storage in ESX virtual server environments. It is aimed at small to medium-size organizations1 and enables them to build—in just a few minutes—a cost effective virtual SAN that can provide a high-availability shared storage solution in VMware ESX environments. This means that such users—without any hardware-related changes or expenses—can take advantage of enhanced server virtualization functions, such as VMotion migration tools, that were previously ‗buried‘ and ‗off limits‘ because of their storage approach. The product‘s key features include: 

  • SvSAN running under VMware as a virtual machine 
  • It creates a virtual SAN from internal disk and direct attached arrays and presents iSCSI LUNs. 
  • Scales up from a 2 TB entry-point with no upper capacity limit; at the extreme, SvSAN can run on its own standard Intel server, which it ‗converts‘ to act as a dedicated SAN. 
  • Advanced capabilities include: datastores2 can be shared across clustered ESX servers; snapshot functionality; and also significant, helpful automation (the automated provisioning of datastores, configuration of high availability (HA), and discovery of StorMagic appliances). 
  • Options include: expansion of supported capacity and mirrored HA version (this precludes the loss of a physical server—including DAS/virtual SAN—from causing availability and processing interruptions). 
  • SvSAN management is fully integrated into VMware‘s vCenter, which means that the various datastores, the virtual SAN, and even the internal RAID controllers can all be run from one recognizable existing vCenter screen 

There Are 7 Responses So Far. »

  1. Reading The Hot Aisle comments on StorMagic’s SvSAN:

  2. So how is this any better that what DataCore has been offering for 10+ years or HP with their LeftHand acquisition product? I'm not disparaging this product I'm just trying to get a clear picture of what the differentiation or competitive advantages StorMagic has over existing, mature products in the market.

  3. Hi James,

    Thanks for your comment, I like the look of the DataCore product also (some smart features) but StorMagic is neat for two reasons, it operates as a ESX guest and in it's basic form it's completely free of charge.

    I have sent you an invite to have a discussion on the telephone.



  4. Will StorMagic work with ESXi?

  5. I do not unterstand what is included into free version of StorMagic. What is the difference from StarWind Free Solution?

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  7. Just to add a vendor perspective. As an IaaS provider, we’d question the sense of purchasing paid-for software to have in-house virtualization when there are very credible public cloud providers that fully our-source your IT infrastructure and do not charge anything for software either. VMWare does not boast significant performance benefits beyond free to use platforms. Given the constraints on SME resources in terms of capital and human resources, public clouds represent the best space within cloud computing and virtualization for SMEs.

    Best wishes,

    Robert Jenkins

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