Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and DataON HCI-224 with Intel® Optane™ NVMe Receive Storage Review’s “Editor’s Choice” Award

We’re excited that Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and DataON HCI-224 with Intel® Optane™ NVMe has been given the “Editor’s Choice” award from Storage Review. This is a real accomplishment for Microsoft and DataON and illustrates why DataON solutions for Azure Stack HCI are truly the best-in-breed software-defined, hybrid cloud data center solutions on the market. We’ve taken quotes and highlighted the performance data from the review in this blog, but we urge you to read the original here.

For those of you who don’t know what Azure Stack HCI is, it is a best-of-both-worlds type of platform, combining an on-premises hyper-converged infrastructure with the power of Azure services like Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center, Azure Update Management, Azure Network Adapter, and Azure Site Recovery. DataON provides a wide variety of Kepler two and three-node switchless solutions and standard HCI three to sixteen-node (with Ethernet fabric switching) solutions for Azure Stack HCI to satisfy the needs of SMB, ROBO, edge, IoT and medium to enterprise data centers.

As hyper-converged infrastructure has matured, many IT administrators looking to refresh their infrastructures have realized that SAN technology is expensive, lacks the scalability and can’t compete with performance, manageability and price that solutions for Azure Stack HCI can give them.

“Azure Stack HCI combined with Intel® Optane™, Intel® NVMe SSDs and Mellanox 100GbE networking proved itself a force to be reckoned with.”

Azure Stack HCI is easy to manage and deploy. Our customers, most of whom are former SAN, Nutanix and VMware customers, tell us this all the time. Because it’s Microsoft technology, it is familiar to most users, even more so to Hyper-V users.

“Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI solution proved to be both simple to deploy, easy to manage and exceptionally performant, all things you want.”

Windows Admin Center is designed for Windows Server 2016 and 2019 environments. It features a powerful  GUI and centralizes management in one location and makes it easier to manage Storage Spaces Direct, Hyper-V, Azure services, software-defined networking and so much more. DataON MUST, available as a native extension for Windows Admin Center, provides additional functionality such as disk mapping, historic data reporting, and provides automatic e-mails alerts if a disk fails or there is a problem with the cluster.

“For buyers running a Hyper-V shop operating on Windows Server, the Microsoft Azure Stack HCI will be an easy transition. Many of the same management tools are in place, offering a more integrated and simple workflow.”

As one of the first providers to sell Microsoft Storage Spaces solutions, DataON has grown a lot alongside Microsoft. With the release of Windows Server 2016, we have led the charge in providing Windows Server Software -Defined (WSSD) solutions, and we can truly say, we’ve been on board with Azure Stack HCI solutions from day one!

“DataON, as a solutions partner, excelled in providing a turn-key build, offering built-to-spec hardware with clear instructions that is ultimately sold in a configuration that can be up and running in no time.”

By working closely and in tandem with the Microsoft development team, we have a key advantage over other vendors—we don’t just support hardware, we support a complete Azure Stack HCI solution. Our customers tell us that’s one of the big differences between us and every other vendor, and the number one reason why they’ve chosen us. Each solution ships with detailed wiring diagrams and step-by-step instructions with pre-written scripts to configure networking and clusters.  Many of our customers tell us that our included scripts gave them ideal performance out-of-the-box, and they’ve used those configurations as reference benchmarks.

“We’ve never had a solution arrive with this level of documentation into the label. Microsoft and DataON make deploying Azure Stack a painless process so customers can get operational immediately”

Our partnership with Intel is another essential ingredient in providing the best Azure Stack HCI solution to our customers. Our Intel Select Solutions simplify evaluation and eliminate guesswork via tightly specified hardware and software components, have pre-defined settings and system-wide tuning enabling smooth deployment and are designed and benchmarked to perform optimally for specific workloads.

DataON’s premier partner status with Intel allows them to leverage their relationship and to be the first to market with servers that use the latest Intel technology often months before other server vendors can bring similar products to market.”

Azure Stack HCI solutions are configured with the latest 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X Series or Intel® 3D NAND SSDs in the cache tier featuring the NVMe interface, and all-flash in the capacity tier with Intel® 3D NAND SSDs using the NVMe or SATA interface. They are also compatible with Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory.

“The DataON cluster we’ve been testing has posted tremendous numbers, the fastest we’ve seen in a mid-market 4-node HCI cluster. To be fair, we’re not even testing the latest and greatest hardware from DataON either. While this config is clearly no slouch, complete with Intel Optane DC SSDs, DataON offers faster solutions that take advantage of Intel Xeon 2nd Generation CPUs, persistent memory and faster networking.”

Performance is a hallmark of any DataON solution for Azure Stack HCI. Customers either already know this coming in or learn very quickly. For those considering VMware as a hyper-converged solution, we urge them to rethink this position. An Azure Stack HCI solution does not charge monthly subscription fees for software-defined storage like VMware vSAN. Storage Spaces Direct is included with the Windows Server Datacenter license. But a little-known secret is that our DataON solutions for Azure Stack HCI perform better than VMware vSAN. So, let’s get down to performance.

Storage Review performed a comprehensive series of benchmarks to see how DataON solutions for Azure Stack HCI measure up:

In comparison, VMware’s vSAN offering using two Intel® Optane™ SSDs and four NVMe capacity SSDs per node measured 521K IOPS 4K read at its peak and 202K IOPS write, which is a significant difference. Put into percentages, the DataON HCI-224 two-way mirror solution outperformed its vSAN counterpart by 423% in writes and 280% reads! Compared to vSAN, read bandwidth differences weren’t even close, where bandwidth in its tests topped at just over 5.3GB/s with a 64K block size. Write bandwidth had a similar difference, where vSAN topped out at 2.55GB/s. Essentially, our customers are getting a more cost-effective solution with superior performance than if they were to purchase a VMware vSAN solution or choosing a different vendor. Another great thing about DataON is that we build all our solutions on industry-standard hardware. That means no expensive OEM taxes on hardware upgrades or replacements, nor do our customers have to wait delayed times for proprietary OEM-driver updates that can make it difficult to keep up-to-date with the latest Window Server releases or applications their data centers are running. Unlike OEM vendors, we don’t require expensive service and maintenance contracts that in many cases exceed the lifecycle of the hardware!

If you’re in the market for a data center refresh or looking to add ROBO, edge or IoT deployments to your infrastructure, DataON has a high-performance Azure Stack HCI solution for you. Read our customer stories and see how our solutions for Azure Stack HCI have helped small, medium and enterprise sized customers succeed in their IT goals.

If you’re looking to learn more about Azure Stack HCI solutions, check out other articles from Storage Review:

Contact us for a detailed consultation with our technical sales team and we can help turn your IT challenge into a success.