How Virtuozzo Continues to Reduce Costs for Hosts Through a Hyperconverged Infrastructure Platform & Software-Defined Storage

How Virtuozzo Continues to Reduce Costs for Hosts Through a Hyperconverged Infrastructure Platform & Software-Defined Storage

TL; DR: We recently caught up with the Virtuozzo team who haven’t slowed efforts to spread the word on how to get datacenters running more efficiently. Virtuozzo’s one-stack approach to Infrastructure-as-a-Service marries containers, VMs, and storage into one hyperconverged platform. This consolidated system removes the need to run multiple moving parts and, ultimately, results in reduced operational costs. With a new focus on software-defined storage (SDS), Virtuozzo is transforming the market, letting hosts provide higher availability, maximizing server performance, and optimizing existing resources with minimal expense.

It’s the goal of every host to maximize efficiencies across the datacenter to provide site owners high availability and optimize on-site resources. BizMaC is no different. Wanting to reduce server management overhead and downtime due to issues with hardware, BizMaC turned to Virtuozzo to provide Infrastructure-as-a-Service.

What BizMaC found was what Virtuozzo is so famous for — a hyperconverged infrastructure platform that combines hypervisor, container, and storage virtualization. This consolidated solution removed the complexity associated with managing multiple moving parts and housed an intuitive control panel, server-level automation, and server-to-site security under one roof.

“Virtuozzo makes it much easier to manage websites and domains by providing consistency in the way various tasks are carried out,” said Nguyen Thien An, BizMaC’s CEO. “This approach is more cost-effective because it allows customers to upgrade components with ease.”

We recently sat down with Virtuozzo’s Product Manager, Sergey Maksimov, who told us the company is still in the game of providing its one-stack solution and helping hosts leverage their resources to maximize efficiencies. Now, in addition to its hyperconverged infrastructure platform, Virtuozzo is looking at software-defined storage as a solution to transform how storage is delivered and managed.

“Right now, we see this market quickly growing,” Sergey said. “And Virtuozzo is a perfect fit.”

Infrastructure-as-a-Service: Containers, VMs, and Storage in One Stack

Sergey told us consolidating hypervisors, containers, and storage was a natural step for the company when it released Virtuozzo 7 last year. Having a ton of moving parts in the datacenter massively increases complexities and carries the risks and expenses that come with hardware issues. Virtuozzo 7 seamlessly addressed these problems.

“When one company acquires another, half may be running KVM where the other half is running something else,” Sergey said. “For hosts, running all these different types of platforms is too expensive and inefficient.”

Collage of Sergey Maksimov's headshot and Virtuozzo logo

Sergey Maksimov, Virtuozzo’s Product Manager, told us how the hyperconverged infrastructure platform works.

And it’s here where the consolidated solution’s value is found. Virtuozzo’s platform removes the complexity and, ultimately, reduces operational costs.

“Virtuozzo 7 is a really good solution, first of all, because it is one hyperconverged platform,” Sergey said. “Lots of open-source vendors still sell storage, network, and compute services separately. But, with us, you don’t have to buy anything else.”

The Nuts and Bolts of the Hyperconverged Platform

Virtuozzo’s platform is 100% software-based. Hosts use their hardware and run Virtuozzo without the need to acquire additional appliances.

Container, hypervisor, and storage are all integrated together, which helps optimize infrastructure investments. This gives hosts the ability to increase performance, minimize storage overhead, and simplify kernel updates and patches.

Workloads can be supported through VMs forked off CentOS7 and QEMU, which are compatible with KVM and come complete with a ton of features, including:

  • System containers
  • Live migration
  • Disc encryption
  • Optimized KVM-based VMs
  • Libvirt and OpenStack support
  • Native Docker support
  • Adaptive memory management
  • ReadyKernel live patching

Virtuozzo’s container storage can also be deployed for Docker, Kubernetes, and Rancher, and supports traditional virtualization.

Removing the Cost and Complexity of Running Multiple Moving Parts

All of this translates into big benefits for hosts, which Sergey has seen firsthand.

“Hosts want consolidation,” he said, “and our platform is the silver bullet.”

With hyperconvergence, operational costs go down and efficiencies go up. Virtuozzo provides higher VPS hosting density. Workloads are run more efficiently, as VMs can use hardware directly, which equates to better overall performance.

Graphics depicting containers, virtual machines, and storage

The perks of platform consolidation are clear — operational costs go down and efficiencies go up.

“Because of the nature of this market, you need to focus on banging down cost rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with something totally new,” Sergey said.

Hosts using Virtuozzo’s integrated platform experience higher densities, and that means higher earnings per square foot in the datacenter. Moving over is also simple, as Virtuozzo provides a set of tools to migrate from Ceph, KVM, or OpenStack to Virtuozzo.

The bottom line is hosts have found Virtuozzo to solve inefficiencies in the datacenter and provide secure and flexible storage solutions that all result in savings.

Answering the Call for Software-Defined Storage in a Growing Market

In a recent white paper, Research Director for Storage at IDC, Eric Burgener, identified the trend to move away from hardware-defined architectures and turn to software-defined storage solutions. Eric noted the reasons for this move are apparent when looking at web-scale economics, agility, and the ease of use SDS provides.

Virtuozzo recognized this trend and is now shifting its focus accordingly. Hosters and service providers are now using Virtuozzo’s software-defined storage to boost efficiencies, cut costs, and open up new revenue streams.

A Transformational Shift in How Storage is Delivered and Managed

Virtuozzo’s SDS solution, Virtuozzo Storage, was built to help businesses encourage wider adoption of the company’s hyperconverged infrastructure platform and give persistent volume storage. Virtuozzo found some of its hosting partners were operating with a lot of unused disk space, so they designed a solution so hosts could balance their networks and put the unused space to work.

Virtuozzo Storage lets hosts create multi-machine storage clusters to improve performance. The solution allows central management of workloads, is adaptable to a number of use cases, and carries multiple features, including:

  • Block, file, S3 object, and persistent volume storage for containers
  • Intuitive web-based management interface
  • Support for Virtuozzo Hypervisor and leading commercially available hypervisors
  • Erasure coding and replication to reduce the amount of space needed for storage
  • SSD caching and journaling, data tiering, and auto rebalancing
  • Scalability — up to multiple petabytes in a single cluster
  • Hot-pluggable — increase/decrease capacity or replace a drive or a node without downtime
  • Storage tiers organize storage space and keep different categories of data on different disks

With Virtuozzo Storage, hosts can unlock a range of new opportunities.

Maximize Efficiencies, Quickly Migrate Workloads, and Open New Revenue Streams

Though the move to software-defined storage is becoming increasingly prevalent, Sergey told us there is still work to be done to educate companies on the benefits of deploying it.

“Surprisingly, we find a number of hosting companies without any idea of how to implement software-defined storage,” he said. “By deploying our solution, there is potential for exponential growth in terms of revenue focus.”

The benefits of SDS are clear — it cuts costs. There is no massive appliance investment or need to purchase upgrades. And, because redundancy is enforced at the software level, high availability is built in as part of the storage solution.

Screenshot listing some of the benefits of Virtuozzo Storage

Software-defined storage maximizes performance and helps hosts maintain high availability for their customers.

When needing to add capacity to local storage, it is necessary to either upgrade hardware or add additional expensive infrastructure to support it. With SDS, you only have to upgrade the resources already housed on existing hardware. This positively impacts operational costs and provides the ability to scale.

As Sergey noted, this scalability is important, especially when it comes to object storage.

“Hosts are able to monetize software-defined storage,” he said. “It keeps the basic price low and gives you the opportunity to upsell secondary storage to your customers.”

SDS maximizes server performance, gives the ability to quickly migrate containers and workloads, and releases hosts from the limitations of local storage.

Serving as a Resource on How to Leverage Your Tools More Effectively

Sergey and the Virtuozzo team consistently give back to the industry through educational talks and consultative work. At the recent HostingCon 2017, Sergey lent his expertise to teach hosts how software-defined storage can open up new business opportunities and allow them to expand into new markets.

His aim wasn’t to push Virtuozzo products, however.

“If you don’t need it, if you don’t like it, we won’t try to sell it to you,” Sergey said. “If people see the value in the solutions I’m discussing, Virtuozzo becomes a natural place to turn to get them.”

This platform-agnostic approach to education is partly why hosts, like BizMaC, have looked to Virtuozzo for solutions to help them boost efficiencies and revenue.

“In general, we’re trying to be a product company, so we act as a consultancy to help people see what is going on in the industry,” Sergey said. “It’s our goal to provide the best information on the products that can help people succeed at what they’re doing.”

Sean Garrity

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