Storage vendors to check out at #VMworld 2013 (SFO)

One of my favorite parts of VMworld is the Solutions Exchange. This is where you can catch up with new products and features from established storage vendors. Not only that, but you can also catch up with ‘new kids on the block’ and find out what cool, new ideas they bring to the field of storage and virtualization. This year is no different, with a couple of new storage products from established vendors, as well as some interesting new arrivals on the scene. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have some recommendations on some other items to check, please let me know. However, these are the ones I plan on making a bee-line too this year. I’ve tried to break them out into categories to make it a little easier to see who is doing what.

All Flash Arrays – AFAs

  • EMC bought start-up XtremIO last year, as a way of getting into the AFA market. There was still a little work to be done as XtermIO didn’t have a shipping product at the time. I was fortunate to get a tech preview at last year’s VMworld, and EMC started to ship these arrays in Q1 if memory serves (no pun intended). I liked what I saw/heard last year – it will good to see what actually made it in to the shipping product.
  • IBM Flashsystem is essentially IBM’s relaunch of the Texas Memory (TMS) acquisition which they made last year and the transfer of business to IBM happened on May 1st this year. I’ve not had the opportunity to get much detail around TMS, either before or after the acquisition. I’ll definitely be checking IBM out this year for further info.
  • NetApp now also have an all flash array in terms of the EF540. NetApp have done a lot around flash in the past year, with their VST technology. They have launched a number of projects on flash pools and flash cache. They also announce Flash Accel, their host based flash solution. I have not yet had an opportunity to have a deep conversation about the EF540 with the NetApp folks, but I’m hoping to address that at this year’s conference.
  • Nimbus Data have a few announcements to make this month. These haven’t been shared yet, but hopefully we’re going to see some new integration features. I’ll be dropping by to see Brittani and the gang at Nimbus to find out what new announcements they have around their flagship Gemini array and their Halo software. You can get an overview on Nimbus Data here.
  • Pure Storage are another all flash array vendor who seem to be doing pretty well these days. They have their first user conference, Pure Evolve, immediately after VMworld. If you are a Pure Storage customer, you should definitely attend. Pure Storage have done some great integration with vSphere in the past. I’m hoping to see some more enhancements this year.
  • Violin were part of the 5.1 initiative last year to show 1 million IOPS from a single VM. Yes, I know – we all take these figures with a pinch of salt, but it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that these guys have an awesome flash storage array. I’m hoping to catch up with my old pal Vinay once again, and see what else they have done over the past year.

Hybrid/Converged Arrays

  • Tintri have been around a number of years now, and I have met up with them regularly at VMworld. They are already well integrated with vSphere, but they have had a number of announcements this year related to replication and availability. Definitely want to check in with these guys and see what improvements they have made since we last met. Recent announcements suggest Tintri are doing quite well at the moment.
  • Nimble Storage are another vendor who are doing very well. At the turn of the year, they had their 1000th customer win, and are laying claim to the fact that they are the fastest growing storage company in history. They had been positioning themselves as a VDI storage solution, with some success. They had a whole bunch of features to announce at last year’s VMworld with their 2.0 architecture and I’ll be looking to get some details on new features from my good friends Wen & Tony.
  • Nutanix probably need no introduction at this stage. They’ve been taking the storage market by storm. They have also attracted an abundance of talent from the storage and virtualization community. At the tail end of last year, they introduced NOS 3.0 and the NX-3000. This has a veritable wealth of new features. It will be interesting to see what new features they will have to show off this year.
  • Pivot3 are another well established company in this space. They are having good success with their vSTAC solution, especially in the VDI space, and were the first partner to qualify as part of VMware’s Rapid Desktop Program for View.
  • Simplivity burst onto the storage scene at last year’s VMworld with their Omnicube appliance. This was an array that seemed to do everything (Simplivity reckoned there was an appliance sprawl in the data center and they wanted to address this). It will be interesting to see how things are going for Simplivity one year on.

I/O Acceleration Products

  • Condusiv announced the V-locity product late last year. V-locity takes a portion of memory and uses it as a block cache for VM I/O. My initial tests of the product showed quite good performance results. I’m hoping to catch up with Spencer and the team to see what new features they might be introducing to V-locity going forward.
  • Fusion-IO have told me about a new server-side flash deployment model that integrates with VAAI compliant storage arrays, but doesn’t blindly send all I/O to SAN. Apparently, the numbers are impressive and they feel this could be a really good VDI use case. I’ll be dropping in on Lee to see this in action and learn more.
  • Pernix Data will definitely be on the top of a lot of people’s lists. Founded by an ex-VMware principal engineer, Satyam Vaghani, this company also includes the one and only Frank Denneman in their rank and file. I’ll definitely be going over to check out their flash-based I/O acceleration product. I’m not sure if they will have a shipping product by then, but VMworld would definitely be a great place to make that announcement – no pressure guys! 😉
  • SanDisk announced their Flashsoft product in June this year. I have no further details other that it seems to have a decent set of integration features for VM I/O acceleration. I’ll be popping along to their stand to get further information.

I think I’ll be doing well if I get through that lot, don’t you? As it is said, it is not exhaustive. But these are the vendors on my list. So what have I missed? Who else should I check out?

And if I bump into you on my hall-crawl, please say hello.

13 Replies to “Storage vendors to check out at #VMworld 2013 (SFO)”

  1. If we are including the “classic” vendors with their AFA strategies, it is definitely worth having a look at HP StoreServ 7450 (fka 3PAR) as well.

    for the IO accelerators I will certainly go by Atlantis ILIO. I did read some stuff on them but it was only after a live demo at VMUG London that they really triggered my attention.

  2. Hi Cormac – replied via Twitter but wanted to leave comment here as well. While not on the show floor at VMworld, @SolidFire (falling in your AFA category) will have a demo lounge located right next to the conference. You and others, when looking for a break from the conference, are welcome to come up and learn more about what we are up to. Details can be found here;

    1. Thanks Dave. I’ve been trying to meet with you guys for a while. I’ll arrange to come and meet you when I return from PTO next week.

  3. Cormac,

    Please find the time to drop by the Micron booth. They have some amazing new products, including innovations to help sys admins trust their flash deployments more widely. And, of course, we will be showing all of that working with AutoCache 2.0 from Proximal Data. 🙂


  4. Hi Cormac,
    I know of some interesting updates in time for VMW from Fusion-io around their NexGen acquisition, now called ioControl. I would be interested in your feedback on it with respect to VM enviroments. Are you planning on paying them a visit at all?

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