TL; DR: Scale Computing provides the infrastructure for edge computing, virtualization, and hyperconverged systems to customers across the globe. The company’s HC3 software suite helps to reduce operational complexity so SMBs and enterprises alike can operate with agility. Scale Computing’s partnerships with innovative groups, including Lenovo, keep the company at the forefront of the hyperconvergence and edge computing space.
With each innovation in computing infrastructure, companies hope to cut costs, optimize internal processes, and boost productivity, among other benefits.
But, sometimes, the pain points inherent in digital transformation prevent businesses from enjoying such results, at least immediately. For instance, it can take significant time and knowledge to manage virtualized environments in a way that ensures availability, flexibility, and agility.
That’s where organizations like Scale Computing come in. The company was founded to fulfill the needs of organizations hindered by the complexity, time, and resources that traditional virtualized IT environments demand.
“In 2007, Scale Computing decided to sit down, take the features of virtualization — the high availability, fault tolerance, live migrations — and build a solution that would allow anyone to set up virtual machines, DRs, and failovers, and do live migrations without more than 15 minutes of training,” said Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO at Scale Computing. “The result was Scale Computing HC3.”
Today, Scale Computing has expanded to offer IT infrastructure for edge virtualization and hyperconverged solutions to SMBs and enterprises. The company has offices around the world, serves thousands of customers. Some of the most prominent organizations — from Hilton Hotels and Holiday Inn to McDonald’s, Ahold Delhaize, and Steel Dynamics — turn to HC3 to run infrastructure and support their applications.
Scale Computing also has strategic partnerships with widely regarded market leaders, including Google, Lenovo, NEC, and BCDVideo. The company’s overarching mission is to establish itself as a long-term leader in the hyperconverged infrastructure market.
Scale Computing HC3: A Fully Integrated, Highly Available System
Scale Computing, based in Indianapolis, was founded in 2008 and is recognized as one of the earliest innovators in hyperconverged infrastructure and edge computing technology. After launching its HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure in 2012, the company quickly expanded to serve more SMBs and enterprises than ever before.
“We set out to make virtualization affordable, approachable, and useful to everyone,” Alan told us. “Initially, we focused very specifically on the needs of the SMBs, the mid-market, the K-12 school districts — everybody who really needed the high availability but didn’t have the resources to do it. We made it available to them.”
Alan said Scale Computing also focused on ensuring an incredibly efficient footprint, using about 4GB RAM per cluster. He said competitors at the time would use anywhere from a minimum of about 32GB to 150GB RAM per node.
“We noticed that folks were coming back to us after trying out someone else’s platform and saying, ‘You literally can run an entire SMB datacenter using the resources other people require just to boot themselves up,’” he said.
It wasn’t long before the head of IT from Ahold Delhaize, one of the largest food retailers on the planet, called with a request to replace the company’s in-store infrastructure with a centralized solution.
“We looked into it, and inside each store, it looks just like an SMB,” Alan said. “You don’t have a fleet IT staff at each store. You’ve got a manager who has to worry about his staff showing up, maintaining his inventory levels, and figuring out what’s coming next. It doesn’t get more SMB than that.”
Scale Computing won Ahold Delhaize’s business, rolling out a cluster into every story. “Welcome to edge computing,” Alan said. “We’ve been doing it since 2016.”
Helping Both SMBs and Enterprises Alike Operate with Agility
The customers that Scale Computing has brought on over the past 10-plus years typically reap the same benefits: dollars and hours saved, high-performance and uptime rates, and a significant return on investment.
Of course, Scale Computing HC3’s fully integrated, highly-available system also frees up management time and allows the company to operate with agility.
“You’re suddenly able to take people who are usually stuck in a data center at 2 a.m. on a Saturday playing sysadmin and move them into DevOps, into jobs that move the business forward,” Alan said. “There’s a lot of brainpower that is typically being funneled into the mundane, painful tasks that we’ve automated for a decade.”
Alan said once people become aware of Scale Computing, they’re often baffled that they have never heard of the company before.
“We’re a bunch of Rose-Hulman grads, Midwesterners,” he said. “We didn’t build this company to sell it off real quick. We didn’t build this company thinking, ‘Let’s take massive, unicorn-level rounds of funding and set $1.5 million per day on fire.’ A lot of our competition did that. We chose to grow the business a hundred percent organically.”
Despite the fact that Scale Computing kept its funding round intentionally small, the company now supports approximately 13,000 nodes globally with a relatively small support staff.
“It’s a fraction of the size of anybody else’s — because we did the hard work on the core architecture,” Alan said.
Unmatched Flexibility: A Strategic Partnership with Lenovo
As part of the 2016 deal, Ahold Delhaize requested that any new onsite infrastructure be covered through single-vendor support.
“Together, Scale Computing’s patented HC3 technology on Lenovo hardware is delivering a hyperconverged and edge infrastructure that has the capacity to run various IT and OT workloads, is right-sized, space-conscious, and can be managed at each individual location by generalists,” Alan said. “This reduces the time and budget spent managing technology and allows companies to focus more on growing their business and serving their customers.”
Scale Computing and Lenovo now work together to offer a customizable suite of hardware, software, and services that is flexible enough to provide anything from a single node to a multinode micro-datacenter for edge locations (such as Delhaize’s hyperconverged solution).
Alan said that, moving forward, Scale Computing is working to expand its edge services to reach new customers in exciting markets.
“We just signed the ink on the dotted line with a customer that has 800 ships,” he said. “There’s a cluster going into each one that we will move shipboard functions on to. We’ve expanded that whole edge play — BDI plus core plus edge — into places you’d never think of, like the entire judiciary system of Papua New Guinea.”
Introducing a New Tier of HC3 Appliances for Databases and VDI
In May, the company unveiled a new performance class of HC3 appliances designed to enhance support for database analytics and high-density virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments.
The solution, known as HC3250DF, helps both enterprises and SMBs run a wide range of applications with varying performance needs and supports high VM density. The ultimate goal is to empower IT departments everywhere to meet increased end-user expectations.
“Both persistent and non-persistent VDI workloads thrive on the newly redesigned underlying storage layer, which was created to maximize performance,” said Dave Demlow, Vice President of Product Management at Scale Computing, in a press release. “With the new pressure on IT to enable remote work whenever necessary, this appliance is an excellent foundation for VDI deployments from several hundred users to a few thousand.”