truebit.tv Interview with StorMagic CTO Chris Farey at VMworld Barcelona 2013

November 25, 2013 in Events, News

StorMagic – Virtual SAN for Distributed Environments

truebit.tv Interview with StorMagic CTO Chris Farey at VMworld Barcelona 2013

Maximizing Uptime and Service Availability in ROBO

September 11, 2013 in Branch Office, Cisco, Webinar, Whitepaper

With StorMagic SvSAN and Cisco UCS E-Series Servers

Organizations rely on IT to power their business and provide service to customers, so uptime is a critical consideration for enterprises with extensive branch office or store networks. Most organizations have deployed a centralized or decentralized IT infrastructure, each with their own pros and cons. Centralized infrastructures can provide a high availability infrastructure with central management, but a trade-off is that they often introduce or encounter other unforeseen issues which inhibit full application consolidation such as poor network performance or compliance. Decentralized systems also have trade-offs, namely time to deploy and increased operational costs due to server sprawl.

However, there is an alternative, approach which ensures uptime and service availability in multi-site environments while delivering the benefits of both approaches.

Download the White Paper

StorMagic and Cisco have worked together to produce this white paper, which outlines the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized infrastructures and describes how their combined solution provides the best of both.

What You’ll Learn

  • The pros and cons of centralized and decentralized IT infrastructures for remote and branch office environments;
  • How an alternative, hybrid solution can maximize uptime and service availability in multi-site environments, and produce more value than either a centralized or decentralized infrastructure;
  • What the key characteristics of the ideal hybrid solution are, what the components of such a solution are and how to configure and deploy it.

 

or

Watch the Webinar

Presenters
John Flood: Senior Product Manager, Cisco UCS E-Series Servers
Mark Christie: Senior Systems Engineer, StorMagic
Steven Santini: Development Manager of Global Marketing, StorMagic

Centralized or Decentralized IT? Which is Better?

August 13, 2013 in Branch Office, Comparison, Multi-Site, Storage, SvSAN, Whitepaper

One of the most prevalent debates among enterprise IT professionals today is about whether a centralized or decentralized IT infrastructure delivers more value to an organization.  Organizations with multiple sites or extensive remote networks have particular difficulty in being decisive, as the wrong choice can have such profound effects on the resiliency, manageability and cost to their distributed business operations.

While there are pros and cons to each approach, there are three primary factors to consider when making your own decision about what method is best for your organization

1.     Manageability

IT infrastructures need to be efficient, responsive and flexible to deal with ever-changing business demands. Which approach is simpler to manage and will minimize the operations burden on existing IT staff and resources?

2.     Cost and Efficiency

What does the initial infrastructure hardware and software cost?  What are the measures to ensure desired levels of availability and performance?  Will various components be interoperable or lock an organization in with a certain vendor?  How efficiently does the infrastructure scale up to service business growth or additional needs?  Which approach minimizes these considerations and reduces operational expenditure on floor space, power and cooling?

3.     Time to Deploy

Which approach minimizes the amount of time it takes to deploy and maintain the solution(s) in the infrastructure?

Both approaches have pros and cons, is it possible to deploy an optimized, integrated infrastructure that maximizes the benefits of both at the same time?  If this were possible, what would the ideal storage solution look like?

StorMagic has published a new white paper with much more detail on centralized and decentralized IT environments.  It contains the latest data and best practices for how to answer all of these questions, and advises professionals about how best to deploy an IT infrastructure to maximize benefits and minimize costs for an entire organization.

How to Run a Lean Branch Office

July 25, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Webinar

With time and resources under ever-increasing organizational pressure, it’s never been more essential for IT professionals to run their environments as lean as possible. One way they can do this is to ensure that their infrastructures for branch offices and other remote sites are easy to manage, quick to deploy and as efficient with cost and internal resources as possible.

To learn more, we and our friends at Cisco invite you to attend an upcoming webinar:

Title:Learn How To Run Lean Branch Offices

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time: 11:00 a.m. Eastern (U.S.)

Presenters:

  • John Flood – Senior Product Manager, Cisco UCS E-Series  Servers
  • Mark Christie – Senior Systems Engineer, StorMagic
  • Steven Santini – Development Manager of Global Marketing, StorMagic

In this webinar, we will demonstrate a solution that can simplify branch office infrastructure with a converged networking, computing and virtualization-ready platform designed to host multiple infrastructure services and mission-critical business applications.  The solution has two main pieces: StorMagic’s virtual storage appliance solution, SvSAN, and Cisco’s UCS E-Series .  You will:

  • Learn how SvSAN is developed for multi-site environments;
  • Watch demonstrated scripted deployment and how it enables hands off deployment of sites;
  • Understand how Cisco’s E-Series UCS simplifies the branch office; and
  • Target VSA cost effectiveness for implementation and management of shared storage.

An Analyst’s Insight Into Distributed IT

June 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you take a step back and think about it, most of the IT industry focuses on data center solutions.  Nearly all of the R&D, investment and innovation tends to favor the data center.  This often forces customers to use technology at remote sites that is often too expensive, complex and with capabilities that may not be appropriate for their environments.

In my view what makes StorMagic so valuable is that their VSA was designed for remote sites.  This is manifested in not only what it does but also in what it doesn’t do.  I’ve spoken to their customers and by far the most important thing to them is ease of use.  However, we must keep in mind that ease of use means managing lots and lots of geographically dispersed sites that typically have no local IT staff.  StorMagic is easy to manage whether you have 10 or 1,000 or 10,000 sites.  How many IT storage vendors can make the same claim?

It also has to be cost effective.  Again, since there can be a large number of remote sites the costs can scale pretty quickly.  Since StorMagic is software-only and only requires two physical servers for the VSA, it can literally save customers millions of dollars.  One of their customers, a major US retailer, estimates they will save approximately $10,000,000 just in capital costs.  That is significant.

Another factor is rapid implementation across a large number of sites.  StorMagic was able to get over 1,000 systems up and running and operational in less than 3 months.  And all of this was done remotely requiring no physical installation from the IT personnel on site.  I find it hard to imagine a hardware-based storage system achieving this.

The other main factor is high availability and reliability.  This is considered a requisite for all storage systems but one of StorMagic’s customers pointed out to me that because they can stretch the cluster and place one server on one side of their storage (they are a retail customer) and the other server across the campus, he has created a campus-wide disaster recovery scenario that he cannot get with physical storage systems.  At least not ones that he could afford.

I’m going to be talking about all of the above as well as the research report I just completed on this very subject on the webcast on June 27th.  It would be great if you can join me for that.  It will be interactive so you can asks questions as well.

You can register for the webcast at: http://www.stormagic.com/webinar_registration.php

Webinar – Analysis of IT at the Retail Store

May 28, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Webinar

In this webinar, Tony Asaro, CEO and Founder of the INI Group, discusses the key findings of their recently published report, Analysis of IT at the Retail Store.

For this report, the INI Group conducted in-depth interviews with retailers to uncover the challenges, requirements, and strategies facing retail industry IT professionals and executives, including:

  • The importance of uptime;
  • The need for simple solutions to deploy and manage;
  • The complexity of centralized management;
  • The concern for IT cost across stores;
  • And more.

Access the Retail Report

As a thank you for registering, we are pleased to share the INI Group Report, Analysis of IT at the Retail Store which will be discussed in this webinar.

Delivering Uptime – Analysis of IT at the Retail Store

May 8, 2013 in Branch Office, report, Retail

Retail is one of a handful of verticals whose revenue, brand, culture and customer experience is directly driven by their distributed sites/stores. Enterprise retail organizations with 1000’s of sites have an enormous challenge of maintaining each stores performance on these key impact points by ensuring that their staff are well trained, stores are well managed and that customers keep walking through the doors.

But what about downtime?

If the infrastructure fails, the store is no longer able to take orders, the brand is impacted and you potentially loose customers and future business to competitors. This is why retail is making substantial investments into their store infrastructures to reduce the risk of downtime. But how are they doing this?

In a recent report from the INI Group (Industry Insights: Analysis of IT At The Retail Store) it is discussed that some organizations are centralizing their data and applications which opens the risk of mass downtime if the datacenter goes down. Others are introducing heavy set systems on-site which is a high CAPEX / OPEX investment but still leaves susceptibility to extended periods of downtime.

However, most organizations are looking to Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA) to decentralize their store applications/data and centralize their IT and support. VSA’s are helping enterprise organizations in many verticals to create streamlined yet robust distributed infrastructures which are managed centrally and require substantially less CAPEX and OPEX investment.

“If it took one week to get an IT system up and running, it could take 5,000 business days to complete the same project at all [1,000] sites. Performing a single deployment every day, it would still require 2.7 years to complete the project.”

In this report, the INI group discusses how enterprise retail organizations are approaching VSA solutions and what their key requirements are to ensure their store stay online.

Download the Report Here

The Retail Store Infrastructure: Less is More

April 29, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Storage, SvSAN

The mindset towards onsite IT has changed drastically. Over the years there has been a gradual move away from the traditional hefty store IT infrastructure with more investment into implementing streamlined environments which are de-centralized in application control but centralized in management.

For retail IT, ensuring uptime of critical applications across their stores is their number 1 priority as application downtime directly impacts the bottom line. But unfortunately very often more time is spent putting out metaphorical fires than fireproofing.

This is why enterprise IT are turning to Virtual Storage Appliances (VSA) as an alternative to or to replace their remote site Storage Area Networks. SAN solutions provide the shared storage required to ensure availability of data and applications but can create more fires than they prevent, because:

  • You virtualized your store environments for simplicity and improved management. SAN solutions re-complicate these environments and require specialist storage expertise to manage.
  • SAN solutions are a high CAPEX & OPEX investment which over time requires additional upgrades and eventual retirement.
  • Although a SAN solution is implemented to provide availability of data/applications, it is a single point of failure in the environment. 2 SAN solutions would be required to remedy this and could almost double your CAPEX.

In a recent Retail Technology Study, RIS news detail how retailers are evolving to keep up with the winds of change. As part of the study, RIS explains that as the retail technology stack evolves, so does the architecture approach to software.

StorMagic’s VSA solution, SvSAN, achieves affordable application uptime, shared storage, high availability and reliability while eliminating the need for physical storage networks at your retail stores.

StorMagic’s SvSAN is ideal for remote sites because of the following:

-          Simple to use and manage.

-          Significantly reduced capital costs

-          Automated, fast and easy deployment over dozens, hundreds and thousands of remote sites

-          vSphere integration providing single pane of glass management across all remote sites

-          Low ongoing operational costs

-          Small footprint

-          Hardware independence

-          Excellent application performance

-          True 2 server High Availability (HA) without local quorum server requirement

 

Retail Customer Brief

Fresh oil for the StorMagic machine

April 3, 2013 in Multi-Site, News, Storage, SvSAN

Recently StorMagic appointed Sonny Bennett to direct product management at a critical point in the company’s rapid growth. Sonny bring over 14 year of experience as a storage architects and takes a senior role in defining product requirements for enterprise organizations with multiple distributed sites.

“It is critical that our products address the specific challenges of branch-office environments, including availability, performance, serviceability and centralized management,” explains Hans O’Sullivan, CEO of StorMagic.

StorMagic is experiencing continued success because of a significant demand for enterprise-class virtual storage for virtual server environments. In recent news, a big-box retailer saved over $10m on hardware alone by implementing StorMagic’s SvSAN across their 2200+ stores instead of other competitive virtual storage appliance (VSA) solutions.

Enable Retail Distributed Store Uptime with Virtualization and Virtual Storage Appliances

March 20, 2013 in Branch Office, Multi-Site, Retail, Storage, SvSAN, Whitepaper

Virtualization  helps drive down the cost of IT by consolidating servers, reducing maintenance costs and lowering management overhead. Just as importantly, advanced features make it possible to achieve high availability for critical store applications. With high availability, applications that support revenue generation and applications that support efficiency, cost containment and risk management are always available. It’s no surprise, then that InformationWeek.com, using data from a recent IDC study, highlighted virtualization as the top priority for CIO’s.

Employees, partners, and customers may access an organization’s applications from virtually anywhere: from the office, from home, or on the road. And they expect the applications to be available, regardless of where the applications run, whether from a centralized corporate data center, from a cloud service, from a remote site or from some combination of the three.

CIO’s and IT administrators responsible for retail IT operations face unique challenges at the store level that have, until recently been barriers to delivering high availability. These barriers are:

  • High hardware and software acquisition costs
  • High maintenance costs
  • The lack of onsite skilled IT staff

Shared storage is a key enabling technology for high availability and an absolute requirement for advanced availability features. Shared storage has also however, been a prime contributor to high acquisition costs, high maintenance costs, and the need for onsite, highly-skilled IT staff.

Download this informative whitepaper to learn how virtual storage appliances are enabling retail organizations to deliver uptime in their distributed store environments.

Download the Whitepaper

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