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Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and StorMagic SvSAN: Their SMB and Edge Use Case Differentiators

A little over three years ago Microsoft joined the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) fray with its Azure Stack HCI offering. In so doing, Microsoft clearly targeted VMware vSphere and Nutanix in enterprise environments. However, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and edge locations also need HCI offerings that HCI solutions such as StorMagic SvSAN specifically target.

SMB and Edge Sites Have Specific HCI Requirements

These remote environments can differ significantly from enterprises in their requirements. They resemble enterprises in their desire for solutions with cloud-like infrastructures, centralized management, and high availability (HA). However, they often lack on-site IT personnel, have limited budgets, possess no formal data center, and may have only limited WAN connectivity.

StorMagic LogoAzure Stack HCI

These size environments and organizations then face a tough choice. Do they try to make a solution such as Microsoft Azure Stack HCI work for them? Or do they pursue a HCI solution such as StorMagic SvSAN that is purpose-built to address the specific needs of SMBs and edge locations?

4 Azure Stack HCI/StorMagic SvSAN Differentiators for SMB and Edge Sites

The latest DCIG Competitive Intelligence report provides four in-depth comparisons to help organizations evaluate these two solutions. It explains how Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and StorMagic SvSAN differentiate in key areas that matter for SMB and edge sites. Here is a summary of their four differences:

Differentiator 1: Minimum Hardware Requirements

HCI solutions in SMB and edge environments by their very nature possess lower minimum hardware requirements or thresholds than enterprises. However, the hardware requirements of Azure Stack HCI more closely resemble what enterprise data centers might expect and need.

In contrast, SvSAN offers more hardware flexibility with less stringent hardware requirements. While organizations can order and obtain “approved,” preconfigured hardware solutions, StorMagic also accounts for the limitations of SMB and edge sites. Its solution can use nearly any vendor’s server hardware and model with minimal hardware requirements for each server node.

Differentiator 2: Software Configuration and Licensing Costs

Microsoft and StorMagic take differing approaches to their HCI software configurations which directly impacts their respective licensing costs. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI requires cloud connectivity for centralized management and monthly billing activities. It also uses a subscription-based licensing for Azure Stack HCI and charges a monthly subscription per physical CPU core.

In contrast, StorMagic charges a one-time, perpetual licensing fee for each SvSAN cluster. Organizations may then move its capacity based SvSAN software across servers, or to new servers, and use it in perpetuity.

Differentiator 3: Affordable Practical HA for Remote Sites

Cost-effectively delivering HA in SMB and edge locations often requires the use of a witness host. Both Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and StorMagic SvSAN employ this technique. However, each one employes different techniques to deploy its witness host. This impacts both the ease of management and the cost of the solution.

Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI Witness Host configuration requires an Azure account, subscription, cluster registration, internet access, storage account creation, and file share witness configuration. Alternatively, organizations can create a cloud or file share witness. Each cluster may access the cloud witness accessed via a blob file or a file server, respectively.

StorMagic SvSAN, on the other hand, offers two configuration options for organizations: local or remote deployment of the SvSAN witness software, or witness-as-a-service (WaaS) subscription. Each witness supports up to 1,000 SvSAN clusters and requires 9 kbps of bandwidth per mirrored volume.

Differentiator 4: HCI Management Options

Centrally managing solutions deployed across SMB and remote sites becomes key to keeping them running efficiently and effectively. Microsoft offers various options for organizations to manage their Azure Stack HCI deployment. These include the Microsoft Azure portal, the Windows Admin Center, and Windows PowerShell.

StorMagic offers organizations multiple options for management at the edge. Since SvSAN supports three different hypervisors, organizations may use any management tools available from each hypervisor. StorMagic also provides its StorMagic Edge Control provides centralized control and management of its underlying SvSAN solution.

Get the Full Report to Determine the Best HCI Fit for Your SMB or Edge Environment

The full 18-page DCIG Competitive Report contains the many in-depth technical details that organization need to better compare Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and StorMagic SvSAN for their SMB or edge environment. It provides the additional following details:


      • Azure Stack HCI’s hardware deployment trade-offs.

      • A table that compares the minimum hardware requirements for each HCI solution.

      • A table that provides a head-to-head minimum hardware and licensing cost comparisons for SMB and edge use cases.

      • How their respective witness host offering deliver HA and their technical requirements.

    Anyone may register for this report by following this link. Clicking on this link will take you to StorMagic’s website where you may register for this report.


    DCIG plans to continue publishing multiple TOP 5 reports focusing on cyber secure features in cloud, data protection, and storage solutions. To be notified of new DCIG articles, reports, and webinars, sign up for DCIG’s free weekly Newsletter.

    To learn about DCIG’s future research and publications, see the DCIG Research & Publication Calendar.

    Technology providers interested in licensing DCIG TOP 5 reports or having DCIG produce custom reports, please contact DCIG for more information.


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