The HE150: Small Footprint, Big Possibilities

By | Managed Services News

Mar 16

Scale Computing announced the HE150 appliance at the Gartner IO conference in December. This latest appliance in our HC3 Edge series is by far our smallest and maybe our most exciting. I personally think it is extremely cool, and I wanted to share my thoughts about the HE150 and why it might be of interest to you.

What is it?

The HE150 appliance is based on the Intel NUC, and it is small. Really small. The NUC could easily be mistaken for a thin client device rather than a hyperconverged virtualization host. It is only 1.5”H x 4.6”W x 4.4”D in size (38 x 117 x 112mm), and while you can easily fit three in the width of a 1U rack enclosure, the small size is designed to be used in spaces outside a typical server rack.

The HE150 is agile. What does that mean? It means it can run in ambient temperatures in remote office, store, warehouse, hospital, lab, classroom, etc. It is quiet, and it consumes less power than a typical server-class appliance. It is meant to go where it is needed without requiring its own special environment to be able to operate. It can live at the edge where larger servers may not fit well.

Inside this compact form of the HE150 is an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, a 1GbE NIC, and an NVMe drive up to 2TB. For the small size, that is a lot of power, but, I know, not what you might expect for a full virtualization stack designed to run business-critical applications (for which it is designed, by the way). The real power comes not from being able to pack on more punch in the chassis, but by being smarter with the resource usage in the software—namely, the HyperCore operating system.

HyperCore is extremely lightweight compared to other hyperconverged virtualization stacks, mainly because of the storage architecture. HyperCore, in which the SCRIBE storage layer is embedded, allocates only about 4GB of RAM to operate. Compare this to other HCI solutions that require virtual storage appliances (VSAs), which are entire VMs consuming upward of 24 to 32GB of RAM before you even start creating VMs. You aren’t going to find those solutions available in a small appliance like the NUC, especially where you may be targeting an appliance with 16GB of RAM.

What is it for?

I’m guessing you are already formulating some scenarios as to where the HE150 might be a good fit. The truth is that the possibilities are hardly limited. I’ve been describing what a single appliance looks like, but it is probably best to remind you that this is not just a one-off little appliance. It is hyperconverged, which means you can seamlessly cluster it with two or more other appliances to create a fully redundant, highly available infrastructure.

The HyperCore operating system is designed to prevent downtime by making the storage and compute highly available across the nodes of a cluster. One appliance can fail, and you still have two nodes running with almost no downtime. This means those business-critical apps you need to run at your remote offices–stores, facilities, etc.–are going to be always on. When an appliance does fail, it is easily replaced while those apps are still running.

And, possibly the best thing about the HE150 is that

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