Briefing Update, CIO, Data Center, Video

360in180: Scale Computing Goes Small to Get Big with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

There’s an interesting strategy at play in the world of hyperconverged infrastructure from Scale Computing. Whereas a lot of its competitors are looking to go big in all things, Scale’s looking to go big by going small.   I had the opportunity to talk to Scale about a recent announcement. This was an announcement about what is basically a smaller appliance that the company has recently released in partnership with Lenovo.  Dubbed the HE500, this series of appliances is truly small. They feature a single processor with four to six cores, depending on the configuration, 32 gigs of RAM per node or, if you like 64 gigs, per node, and they start about 960 gigabytes of storage per device when you choose the basic all-flash configuration. You can actually do all hard drive or a hard drive/flash hybrid configuration as well. But I’m looking at all flash because I think a lot of people will as well.

Now as we look at those specs, it’s clear that these nodes each have a lot of capacity. But, they don’t have a lot of RAM nor do they have a lot of processing horsepower on the CPU side, but when you think about what they’re targeting, that makes a lot of sense. Scale is not targeting the corporate data center with this model. Instead, they’re targeting edge computing need or what we used to call remote office/branch office (ROBO) applications. So rather than going huge and making these three dozen, four dozen, hundreds of nodes clusters, Scale is focusing on the small side. They’re looking at three node clusters or even single node devices that are in dozens or hundreds or even thousands of sites where there is a big need for hardware that can run things like point of sale systems, security cameras, and things like that.

For ROBO environment, there is a demand for devices that can be easily operated and that the manager can operate, and for which the manager can do basic tasks, such as replacing failed drives and things like that. Scale’s gotten that with the HE500 line. Scale indicates that it doesn’t really take an IT technician road trip to go replace a failed hard drive and the like. It’s so simple that a store manager can just replace a drive or can reboot a node or what have you. And with a starting price of $16,500 for a three node all-flash cluster, it’s eminently affordable for these highly distributed use cases.

That’s Scale’s HE 500 series in a nutshell. The appliances are available in all hard drive, hybrid, and all-flash configurations. And with that kind of a starting price, Scale’s really onto something and as I’ve watched them over the years grow, it’s really interesting to see that they’re growing smaller in order to grow bigger. I think that’s an interesting and really somewhat unique roadmap that we don’t see with a lot of other hyperconverged companies on the planet. I think it’s going to work out really well for Scale as they continue this endeavor.