The core technology of SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure products is the OmniStack Data Virtualization Platform. This platform was written from the ground up to provide true hyperconvergence with multiple layers of data protection, enterprise-class features, data efficiency and excellent scalability—all managed from a centralized, global, VM-centric interface. It was also designed to provide these services to multiple hypervisors and to be portable to any x86-based hardware.
The Data Virtualization Platform is separated into presentation and data management layers. The presentation layer is responsible for presenting datastores, virtual disks, ISOs and other virtual machine files to the hypervisor. Meanwhile, the data management layer is responsible for tracking all of the metadata and the deduplicated data blocks. This setup makes for a very flexible way to present data and is the basis of our ability to quickly and efficiently create backups, clones, restore VMs and restore files.
With this separation between presentation and management layers, the presentation layer can be easily modified to present the most efficient interface to any given hypervisor. For the vSphere platform, SimpliVity presents one or more NFS shares, containing VMDK, VMX and other vSphere VM files. For a Hyper-V platform, we can present one or more SMB3 shares, containing VHD, VHDX, XML and other Hyper-V VM files. No changes are required in the data management layer to account for this change in the presentation layer, because it’s simply presenting these files. All of the data services, including backups of these VMs and files, are tracked in the data management layer.
Early on, SimpliVity made a strategic decision to integrate seamlessly into the hypervisor management platform of every hypervisor we support. Given our company mission to “Simplify IT” that should come as no surprise. Customers will have no need to learn any additional interfaces since management of the VMs and their underlying storage operations become naturally and logically integrated into an interface they’ve already been trained to use and already use daily.
SimpliVity focuses on VMware’s hypervisor today. However, we’re also working on extending hypervisor support to Microsoft Hyper-V and open-source KVM.
On the other end of the Data Virtualization Platform are standard x86 server hardware and our OmniStack Accelerator Card. Running in conjunction with industry leading hypervisor platforms allows our software stack to easily run on any platform in a consistent manner without having to worry about the overwhelming amount of drivers normally associated with OS-level development running native on a hardware platform. The OmniStack Accelerator Card is a PCIe device, so integrating it into any x86 platform isn’t an issue either.
So why not offer the OmniStack platform independent of the server? One of our company mantras is “Simplify IT” and we feel that applies to all stages of our relationship with our customers. By only offering an appliance-based product, the quoting and ordering processes are much simpler. This, of course, was one of the main reasons the “converged” movement began.
When it comes to supporting the underlying infrastructure for our customers’ business-critical applications, we want to make sure there is a minimal amount of errors and that we can fully support the underlying hardware issues that arise. To do this, we must thoroughly test our supported hardware platforms, and reducing the variability at this layer is crucial.
With our ability to swap out both the hypervisor above the Data Virtualization Platform and the server platform below it, SimpliVity’s technology is truly portable. While we could sell OmniStack as a standalone product with an HCL attached, we are proud of being called a “carrier-class” IT infrastructure building block, and this is only possible with a rigorous qualification process.