Up next in our previews of Storage Field Day 7 (SFD) vendors is Server SAN vendor Maxta. Maxta, founded in 2009 is a provider of software for end users wanting to build an enterprise storage array from commodity x86 hardware. This will be Maxta’s first appearance at Tech Field Day. Competitors in this area include VMware’s VSAN, HP’s StoreVirtual VSA and EMC ScaleIO. Maxta claims a wide range of support for hypervisors including vSphere, KVM and the “ability to support” Hyper-V.
Maxta, uses the terms appliance and hyper-converge in their marketing. When I see these terms, my expectation is that the solution is more than Server San play. I believe there’s a key difference between Server SAN and hyper-convergence. The crew of In Tech We Trust had an interesting debate on what constitutes hyper-converged vs. Server SAN. Just like the hosts of the podcast, I have my list of attributes.
- Appliance based with modular scale-out architecture
- Appliance based storage, compute (networking is a +)
- Appliance cluster management software
While I believe Maxta does 1 & 2, I’m not clear on the value-add for management of the appliances. I define an appliance as a modular x86 based system independently managed from the hypervisor. If Maxta is just giving me a platform to manage storage and not the installation of the overall appliance including the hypervisor, then it doesn’t fit my definition of hyper-converge. However, being a server san solution only doesn’t mean that it’s a bad solution, just that it’s not hyper-converged.
Maxta has provided an impressive list of briefs that have overviews of integration with different server OEMs. However, there’s very little content on the value-add beyond creation of a Server SAN for running VM’s. I also found very little reference to Microsoft Hyper-V on their website outside of the reference to the ability to support Hyper-V. I look forward to the demo and understanding how Maxta provides storage to VM’s. It’s not clear from their online material if they run bare metal on the hardware, integrate with the hypervisor or are leveraging Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA).