Software-only hyper-converged startup Maxta today formally unveiled a free perpetual license option for its MxSP software, following a registration drive launched during VMworld 2016.
MxSP is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software designed to run on commonly used server hardware. Maxta said customers can download a free production license of its HCI software to implement a maximum three-node cluster with up to 24 TB of raw storage.
The “freemium” model gives enterprises a perpetual MxSP license that can be upgraded to a paid support contract with more storage. Customers choosing the no-cost download can get advice and self-help resources via on online community forum sponsored by Maxta.
Most hyper-converged vendors package their HCI software on branded appliances that consolidate computing resources, networking, storage and virtualization tools within a single piece of hardware. Maxta, on the other hand, licenses MxSP as a virtual storage appliance that pools storage on x86 servers. Maxta server resellers also prepackage MxSP on commodity storage servers as part of its MaxDeploy reference architecture.
MxSP is licensed on a per-server basis based on dual-socket or quad-socket servers. Maxta does not charge customers by processors, server class or by storage capacity. As is typical of hyper-converged vendors, Maxta deployments start at a minimum of three nodes. Maxta requires each server node to have at least one solid-state drive with 100 GB of available capacity, plus two 300-GB hard disk drives.
Maxta vice president of marketing Mitch Seigle said making the HCI software available as a free offering removes some barriers that discourage enterprises from hyper-converging resources.
“We are enabling them to stand up an HCI cluster using hardware they typically already have available in house, at no cost. They can evaluate and test it in their environment on their schedule, without the constraint of trial ‘time bombs’ or limited functionality,” Seigle said.
As an example, Seigle said an enterprise could test an MxSP test cluster with the free version, and subsequently take it directly into production by upgrading to a paid support contract and unlimited storage. Each node added to the existing cluster requires a paid license for MxSP HCI software, which includes 12 months of Maxta support.
Giving customers a free perpetual HCI software license is an attempt by Maxta to boost brand recognition, particularly as a way to emphasize how its HDI differs from appliance-based products. Maxta did not disclose how many paying customers it has, but Seigle said “hundreds of users” have registered to download the free version since its launch Aug. 29.