Software eats storage! Maxta presents software defined storage for vSphere challenging traditional SAN/NAS

Posted by Marcel van den Berg   |   Tuesday, November 12th, 2013   |  

Software defined storage (SDS) is hot. Today Maxta came out of stealth mode and presented the world their software defined storage solution for VMware vSphere which looks like a perfect mix of VMware Virtual SAN and Nutanix capabilities. No SAN or NAS needed but  resilient local storage for caching (consumergrade SDD) and persistent storage (HDD). Through its software-only solution, Maxta turns standard servers into a converged compute and storage solution

While the Maxta Storage Platform  has been running for over a year in production now at an undisclosed number of customer sites, untill today the company did not do a lot of marketing. The current version of Maxta Storage  Platform or MxSP is 2.2.3.

This skepticism about SDS was part of the reason why Maxta has kept under the radar since its 2009 start. Maxta decided not to announce the company until it had technology validation, and market validation.

The software is installed as a virtual machine running on each hypervisor (vSphere 5.0 Update 1 and higher). This virtual appliance aggregates local storage and presents it over NFS to the hypervisor. Hyper-V and KVM support is currently in Limited Availability)

Because it is a very cost-effective solution and is VM-centric  (cost based on raw storage capacity) Maxta Storage Platform can be used for remote offices/branch offices instead of traditional storage solutions  like Dell EqualLogic, Lefthand, HP StorageWorks 1000 Modular Smart Array, VMware Virtual Storage Appliance, VMware Virtual SAN.

Other use cases are VDI, Disaster Recovery and Test/dev.

Quite a few software defined storage solutions are based on ‘converged storage and  compute’ or ‘datacenter in a box’. It means that storage for virtual machines is located in the same enclosure as compute (cpu+memory). The raw local storage in multiple servers is aggregated, replicated and made available to the server nodes in a resilient way. Storage is presented and managed either in kernel or by a software appliance running on the host. This architecture has many advantages over traditional SAN/NAS solutions.

VMware Virtual SAN or VSAN is a software defined storage solution currently in open beta. It gets a lot of attention from VMware customers as it  reduces costs while enhancing performance & agility  and simplifying management of storage compared to using traditional SAN/NAS solotions.

Nutanix has a packaged software and proprietry hardware solution which gets a lot of attention as well. Other players delivering Datacenter in a Box solutions are SimpliVity and Scale Computing.

At November 12 Maxta  showed the world their software defined storage solution which is a hypervisor agnostic, highly resilient, scalable, VM-centric storage platform.

Marcel van den Berg of virtualization and cloudcomputing  website UP2V.nl has written a comprehensive blogpost on Maxta MxSP. The post  will introduce Maxta as a company and will provide all the technical details about their solution. Subjects discussed in the post are:

  • The features
  • Installation
  • The architecture
  • Storage features
  • Support
  • Pricing


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