Introducing Parallels Cloud Storage

Transform how you deliver the cloud. Deliver high performance, high availability servers and reduce server maintenance and support costs.

Hen's Teeth Network improves performance and saves cost

“Parallels Cloud Server and Parallels Cloud Storage give a small hosting company compelling high availability features which were simply unavailable just a couple of years ago.”
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—Art Zemon
President, Hen's Teeth Network

Features

High availability VPS and cloud servers

  • High availability without the cost of a SAN
  • Automatic recovery from hardware and software failures
  • Instant live server migration and non-disruptive replication
  • Rebootless update

Cost effective

  • Uses existing low cost hard drives to create a distributed, highly-available virtual SAN
  • High density containers virtualization maximizes hardware efficiency

High performance

  • Highly elastic, high density containers virtualization
  • Improves storage performance by distributing I/O across idle and underutilized hardware
  • Scalable to petabytes, easily add and remove nodes from the cluster

Frequently asked questions

Introductory Information

  1. 1.
    What is Parallels Cloud Server?

    Parallels Cloud Server combines Parallels Cloud Storage with Parallels Containers and Parallels Hypervisor to dramatically improve server reliability, performance and profitability. Parallels Cloud Storage allows service providers to build a reliable and highly available distributed shared storage cluster which performs similar to a SAN. However, Parallels Cloud Storage is much more cost effective since it uses hard drives in your current servers. This eliminates the need for the dedicated shared storage hardware normally required by SANs and provides the lowest cost cloud storage available. Parallels Cloud Server allows you to store and run Parallels virtual machines and containers, eliminate VPS downtime due to hardware failures, provide high availability servers, perform instant live migration of servers between physical hosts, and scale available storage beyond the locally available disk space.

  2. 2.
    Who is the ideal customer for Parallels Cloud Server?

    Parallels Cloud Server is designed for hosting providers who want to dramatically improve server availability and reliability while reducing costs.  

  3. 3.
    Do I need to buy additional storage hardware with Parallels Cloud Server?

    No, Parallels Cloud Server eliminates the need for external storage devices typically used in SANs by converting locally attached storage from multiple nodes into shared storage. 

  4. 4.
    Can I deploy hypervisors and containers on the same physical node with Parallels Cloud Server?

    Yes. Parallels Cloud Server allows you to specify the number of hypervisors and containers that you can deploy on the hardware node.  

  5. 5.
    Can I deploy Windows VPS offerings using Parallels Cloud Server?

    Yes. Parallels Cloud Server includes Parallels Hypervisor which allows you to deploy Windows within the hypervisor, enabling Windows VPS offerings that can leverage the high reliability enabled with Parallels Cloud Server.

Licensing

  1. 6.
    How is the Parallels Cloud Server licensed?

    Parallels Cloud Server licensing is scalable to meet the needs of service providers. Containers and virtual machines are licensed based on the number of servers per node. Cloud storage licensing is based on the amount of enabled storage in 100 GB increments, to allow easy scalability as demand grows.

  2. 7.
    How can I buy Parallels Cloud Server?

    Download it directly from the Download Parallels Cloud Server page.

  3. 8.
    Is there an evaluation key for Parallels Cloud Server?

    Yes, please contact our sales team for a trial evaluation key.

Storage scalability and performance

  1. 9.
    Is there a limit on the number of storage nodes?

    There is no strict limit on number of storage nodes. However, we recommend limiting the servers in the cluster to a single rack to avoid any possible performance degradation that can occur with inter-rack communications.

  2. 10.
    What is the limit on the total disk space?

    Parallels Cloud Server can scale to support up to 1 PB of effective available disk space, which means up to 3PB of physical disk space in the case of mirroring with 3 copies.

  3. 11.
    Can I add additional nodes or storage capacity to an existing Parallels Cloud Server cluster?

    Yes, you can dynamically add and remove nodes from a Parallels Cloud Server cluster to increase capacity or to remove node(s) for maintenance.

  4. 12.
    What is the expected performance of Parallels Cloud Server storage?

    The performance will depend on the hard disks used and the network speed. However, the performance should comparable to locally attached storage and in some cases even better! Additionally Parallels Cloud Server supports advanced SSD caching which increases the performance of commodity hardware by adding small, inexpensive SSD drives to the cluster for caching purposes.

  5. 13.
    What performance should I expect on 1Gbit ethernet?

    The 1Gbit ethernet network maximum speed is close to that of a single rotational drive, however, in most workloads random I/O access is prevalent and the network is not a bottleneck. Research with large service providers demonstrates that average I/O performance rarely goes above 20MB/sec due to randomization. Virtualization itself introduces additional randomization as multiple independent environments perform I/O access simultaneously. Regardless, 10Gbit ethernet will result in better performance and is recommended when possible.

  6. 14.
    Does the addition of new storage nodes or disks improve the overall performance for existing users?

    Yes, since data is distributed among all hard drives in the cluster, applications performing random I/O will experience an increase in IOPS when more drives are added to the cluster. Even a single client machine may get noticeable benefits by increasing the number of storage nodes and achieve performance far beyond traditional local attached storage.

  7. 15.
    Does performance depend on the number of replicas?

    Each additional data copy degrades write performance about 10%. However, it may improve read performance since Parallels Cloud Server has more options to select a faster server.

Storage availability

  1. 16.
    How does Parallels Cloud Storage protect server data?

    Parallels Cloud Storage protects against data loss or temporary unavailability by mirroring data to a specified number of copies (replicas) placed on different machines to protect the data from single point hardware and control failures. To provide additional reliability Parallels Cloud Storage can be configured to maintain user data checksums and verify them on access and on an ongoing basis.

  2. 17.
    What happens when a disk is lost or a server node is unavailable for whatever reason?

    Parallels Cloud Storage automatically recovers from a degraded state to the specified redundancy level by replicating data on live nodes. Data access is still available during the recovery.

  3. 18.
    How fast does Parallels Cloud Storage recover from a degraded state?

    Since Parallels Cloud Server recovers from a degraded state using all the available hard disks in the cluster this process is much faster than with traditional locally attached RAIDs. Overall this makes the reliability of the storage system significantly better as the probability of losing the only remaining copy of data during the recovery period is very small.

  4. 19.
    Can I change redundancy settings on the fly?

    Yes, you can change number of data copies and Parallels Cloud Server will dynamically adjust by creating new copies or removing unneeded ones.

  5. 20.
    Do I still need to use local RAID?

    No, Parallels Cloud Storage provides the same built-in data redundancy as a mirror RAID1 array with multiple copies. However, for better sequential performance it is possible to use local stripping RAID0 exported to the Parallels Cloud Storage cluster.

  6. 21.
    Does Parallels Cloud Storage  have redundancy levels similar to RAID5?

    No, it is not possible to build a reliable software-based RAID5 system without also including special hardware capabilities like backup power batteries. In the future Parallels Cloud Storage may provide RAID5 level redundancy for read-only data such as backups.

  7. 22.
    What is the recommended number of data copies?

    We recommend configuring Parallels Cloud Storage to maintain 2 or 3 copies, which allows the storage system to survive the simultaneous loss of 1 or 2 hard drives.

Compatibility and requirements

  1. 23.
    What are the hardware requirements for Parallels Cloud Storage?

    Parallels Cloud Storage does not require any special hardware and can run on commodity nodes with traditional SATA drives and 1Gbit ethernet networks. Some hard drives and RAID controllers ignore the FLUSH command to imitate better performance and must not be used as this may lead to file system or database corruptions. This is especially true for RAID controllers and SSD drives. Please consult with the drive manual to make sure you use reliable hardware.

  2. 24.
    Can I run Parallels Cloud Storage with one node?

    You can, but this does not provide any advantages over locally attached storage except for the ability to seamlessly grow to multi-node configurations and to take advantage of Parallels Cloud Storage caching features.

  3. 25.
    What are templates?

    Parallels templates are pre-configured environments that can be easily deployed to virtual machines or containers through the Parallels Virtual Automation interface. Templates include virtual server configurations including the base operating system and applications. This allows companies to harden or pre-configure operating systems once and use that environment over and over to improve consistency and compliance across the company. A template may also include different software packages and configurations.

  4. 26.
    How are templates used?

    A popular example for template usage is a developer environment. In this example, an organization creates a standard template for web development that includes all of the tools and applications needed in the "stack" to enable the developer to perform his work. The template can be created once and stored in the management console. From that point forward, every time a new developer environment is to be provisioned, the template is applied to a virtual environment. The environment is fully configured and ready for use nearly instantly. Parallels Cloud Server is one of the few virtualization solutions that uses this innovative approach.

  5. 27.
    Where can I download OS and application templates for Parallels Cloud Server?

    Parallels Containers Templates Catalog is a library of hundreds of software downloads that can be used to easily create and manage operating systems and applications running in containers within Parallels Containers. Parallels Containers Templates for Linux are pre-configured files with software packages that provide a cost-effective approach to create, deploy and provision virtualized servers.

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