Simplivity – OmniStack & OmniCube updates

simplivity logoSimpliVity are another storage vendor I highly recommend that you check out at VMworld 2013. I wrote an article about them prior to VMworld 2012. Essentially, SimpliVity wanted to stop the sprawl of appliances in your data center and to that end, they ship an appliance that takes care all of these functions (dedupe, backup, I/O acceleration, etc). The bonus is that you do not have idle resources/appliances hanging around when that particular function is not being used. They have just announced new enhancements to their OmniStack software and have introduced a number of new OmniCube hardware models. I caught up with Jesse St. Laurent to get the full details.

Let’s begin with the new OmniCube models. Currently, Simplivity has an existing CN-3000 model. With the introduction of two new models, the CN-2000 (SMB & ROBO) & CN-5000 (high-end customers), Simplivity are offering appliances with options for different CPU cores, memory as well as SSD & HDD capacity.

However, it is the changes to OmniStack which I find more interesting. First off, lets talk a little about OmniStack. OmniStack provides the intelligent pooling and sharing of the underlying hardware resources in an OmniCube Federation. It does tasks such as perform the inline deduplication, compression, and optimization of all the data. The OmniStack Accelerator is SimpliVity’s specially designed PCIe card that allows OmniCube to deliver inline deduplication and compression on all data as it hits the system, while maintaining high performance.

OmniStack enhancements include changes to the OmniCube Cloud feature which has been enhanced to connect an Amazon “Cloud Node” OmniCube Federation. This is SimpliVity’s OmniCube appliance running in the cloud. The  reason behind the “Cloud Node” is to provide DR for VMs in the primary data center. The main enhancements here are performance, usability, enhanced user tunable parameters and improved bandwidth utilization. I asked Jesse if there were any plans to integrate with VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service offering (vCHS). He stated that SimpliVity are certainly interested in integrating with other cloud providers other than AWS, so if there is opportunity and interest in doing this, Simplivity will certainly engage.

Another enhancement is to the OmniStack Accelerator. Version 2 includes additional performance, reliability and an increase in the number of supported platforms.

Next up is the OmniCube Software, version 2.1. Improvements were made to usability serviceability and includes support for VMware’s VAAI. I asked Jesse to elaborate on the primitives which were implemented since the datastore presented by Simplivity is NFS. He said that they have kept their cloning technology as it allows them to do things like clone between data centers. However they do offload using VAAI when a migrate operation is initiated (Full File Clone). They have also the ability to offload the linked-clone creation (Fast File Clone) to the storage layer as well. I also asked Jess where SimpliVity customers could get the VAAI-NAS plugin. They have a partner portal to download the VAAI-NAS plugin, but SimpliVity will also ship it with their OmniCube appliances. They are in the VAAI certification process for the linked clone offload right now.

Finally, this release also includes VDI support from Citrix for Xen Desktop. I asked about VMware View. Jesse responded that they have POCs in customers right now with VMware View, but are still in the certification process, but will hopefully have this achieved very soon.

So, some nice new features from SimpliVity in both their OmniCube and OmniStack. Simplivity are a gold sponsor this year at VMworld 2013. Definitely worth checking out.