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Prepare for the era of the data center in a box

Start-up SimpliVity touts an all-in-one array, its OmniCube

August 20, 2012 05:49 AM ET

Computerworld - While several of the largest storage vendors, such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard and NetApp, have entered into agreements with server, software and networking vendors to offer bundled products, purpose-built products are just beginning to emerge.

For example, last year start-up Nutanix unveiled a virtualized server that is clustered together with solid-state and hard drive storage, all of which can be managed under a single console view.

Today, start-up SimpliVity came out of development phase with its first product, an all-in-one array that can act as a VMware server, deduplication appliance and as primary and backup storage.

And, at VMworld next week, expect to see storage vendor Scale Computing exit its development stage and demonstrate its HC3 "datacenter-in-a-box" for mid-sized companies.

"The trend is beginning to take shape," said Arun Taneja, principal analyst at The Taneja Group. "I expect this trend is bound to happen, due to the fact that Intel is now providing such a strong dose of compute [power] for such low prices that storage simply can't use all the cycles available. So why not use those cycles and simplify the infrastructure to boot."

Over the next two years, what Taneja calls the "HyperConvergence" of computing, storage and networking will see a massive uptick in adoption, particularly among small to mid-sized businesses, which have fewer IT personnel to manage increasingly complex infrastructures.

"I expect 2014 to be the year of HyperConvergence, with 2013 as the year of education, proofs of concept and early trials, along with initial purchases for production. Then 2014 should open the floodgates," he said.

Enter SimpliVity's OmniCube

SimpliVity's new converged OmniCube is a 2U (3.5-in. high) array that comes standard with eight 3TB hard disk drives and four 250GB solid-state drives (SSDs), which act as accelerators for hot data, such as OLTP databases or VDI environments. The number of hard drives versus SSDs can be adjusted depending on performance or capacity needs.

SimpliVity is marketing its array as hardware that can eliminate the need for third-party appliances for backup and primary data deduplication. Those appliances include WAN optimizers, cloud gateways, caching hardware as well as all-flash arrays, according to SimpliVity CEO Doron Kempel.

SimpliVity's OmniCube array is aimed at VMware admins at mid-sized enterprises.

OmniCubes are deployed in a 10GbE network of two or more boxes. A single VM administrator can manage all the OmniCubes in a cluster from a single management interface: the VMware server virtualization management UI.

OmniCube plugs into VMware's vCenter hypervisor, and simply becomes another tab that an administrator clicks on to manage all the virtual machines (VMs) on the array.

Adam Winter, president of IT service provider SwiftecIT in Shrewsbury, Mass., is currently beta testing two OmniCubes. Over the past four years, Winter said his company, which hosts applications, has grown to three data centers hosting 30 servers and 20TB of networked storage on arrays from three companies: Dell EqualLogic, QNAP Systems and Drobo. His servers are virtualized using VMware.

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