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Maxta adds Red Hat in plan to help customers dodge ‘VMware tax’

Maxta allows migration from VMware to Red Hat Virtualization on its hyper-converged infrastructure nodes and looks forward to PCIe upgrades to help unleash NVMe

Hyper-converged infrastructure maker Maxta has announced it now supports the Red Hat Virtualization hypervisor and can allow customers to migrate data from VMware to Red Hat or run VM in both environments.

The company claims to be the only hyper-converged product that can run VMware ESXi and Red Hat Virtualization hypervisors and is explicitly aimed by Maxta at avoiding the “VMware tax”. Maxta will also add asynchronous replication in the next year.

Red Hat Virtualization is a software-based hyper-converged product that can run on a wide range of manufacturers’ server hardware.

With a minimum of three nodes, hardware – including CPU generations and drive types – doesn’t need to be identical.

Maxta nodes can scale to 64 with Vsphere and 32 with Red Hat, but both of these are hypervisor limits, said chief marketing officer Barry Phillips.

Media supported ranges from NVMe-connected flash to SATA spinning disk. NVMe drives can be shared, said Phillips, but “there is SCSI in the I/O path”.

NVMe is an emerging flash storage protocol that can potentially speed access times by orders of magnitude, compared with the SCSI and SATA protocols designed for spinning disk but still in use for many flash drives.

However, hardware makers need to eliminate SCSI from the input/output path and a bottleneck in storage processing to allow NVMe off the leash.

By pooling storage controller CPU resources across many hardware instances, hyper-converged is touted as a possible solution.

Read more about hyper-converged infrastructure

Currently, Maxta’s connectivity from server instances is through Ethernet HBAs. Maxta hopes to eliminate these and put in their place PCIe connections (NVMe is a subset of PCIe), but is awaiting the next generation of PCIe.

“There’d be a big benefit from the elimination of HBAs interfacing with NVMe drives. It needs PCIe that supports hot-swappable drives and that’s currently in a working phase between Intel and Broadcom,” said Phillips.

Data protection features currently come from third parties such as Veeam and Zerto, but Maxta plans to add asynchronous replication in the next nine months, said Phillips.

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