In a first of series of blog posts covering some of the vendors that caught my eye at VFD4, I’d like to introduce you all to Simplivity.
Hyperconvergence, Convergence, Modular, Traditional – Lots of buzz words used in I.T. covering a multitude of offerings but for the purpose of this post I’d like to define hyperconvergence. Simply put, this involves collapsing several I.T. building blocks such as Compute, Storage, Networking & Apps into a single building block that can be deployed to a datacenter with minimal fuss. Simplivity have taken this a step further by intelligently adding capabilities such as Backup with Dedupe, D.R., WAN acceleration and Cloud Gateway. The diagram below (taken from Simplivity) highlights the journey from the traditional stack to a Hyperconveged stack. This truly simplifies the method of deploying virtualisation stacks to a datacenter and encompasses several technologies aiming to make this a lean and cost effective approach to companies wanting to go down the road of virtualisation. Simplivity uses its patented Omnistack technology on commodity x86 hardware to give you its building block known as the Omnicube.
The company is led by its charismatic CEO – Doron Kempel. This is a man I admire for his tenacity and ambition and moving from a very different life outside I.T. to his MBA and onwards to work for some large I.T companies has helped him to develop his vision and understanding for where Simplivity can deliver value in a simplistic fashion.
It was Jesse St. Laurent’s role to present the technology briefing. Jesse is VP of Product Strategy and backing him up were some formidable associates. Both Brian Knudtson and Matt Vogt, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time, work in the technical marketing and solutions architecture areas and provided ample support to Jesse although they were not needed too much for the main presentation as Jesse delivered the content like a pro. If you have any questions then I encourage you to reach out to any of these guys as they share a passion for this tech that runs deep in their blood.
The product was demonstrated and as with most solutions it is managed by a tab in vCenter. This is currently in the C# client with a web client also being available in the next release of vSphere. It was very easy to setup policies in the interface with regard to datacenters and with these you can then setup backup regimes. Currently AWS is the only supported cloud provider where backups can be sent to otherwise you need to send them to another storage device. Watch for more cloud providers in the future I hope….
File Level Recovery is not possible right now but is coming in a future release which was good to here. It was very quick and simple to recover VM’s in from 1 datacenter to another and this was demonstrated but the key was that there is no automation at the moment. SRM could not be used as there is no SRA but I guess that Simplivity customers do not have a need for this right now. We were promised that some level of automation may be in the product in a future release.
The real secret source to the solution is the patents that are held in the product and the way in which dedupe and compression happen inside the cube. Jesse showed us the Omnistack Accelerator card that is responsible for all of these functions. It has a FPGA on board that is responsible for all the compute functions offloading this from the hypervisor.
This essentially means that I/O is deduped and compressed as it enters the data management layer and therefore this hits the disk as full striped writes. Very clever technology !!! Post process deduplication is a thing of the past and very inefficient according to Simplivity. Fault Tolerance in the cube itself is also very important so any failures have mechanisms whereby they can be tolerated. If the card developed a fault then this would simply mean all I/O is served to or from a surviving OmniCube through its accelerator card and is still deduped/compressed/optimized in real time. The omnicube never writes data without first deduplicating it. Also key point to remember here is no data is required to be rehydrated unless there is data that needs to be read.
All of these awesome features make Simplivity a real game changer in the market.
I’d like to leave you with some final thoughts. Hyperconvergence is an ever growing market and many big names are jumping onto the bandwagon. There is clearly a value proposition here for scale out and to keep data centers dynamic in nature whilst keeping Capex costs at a minimum. If you’d likve to find out more then please read more on the Simplivity website or contact one of the names mentioned above.
Finally – This recent study by IDC shows how Simplivity is faring against the competition.
This is testament to their solution offering and being in stealth for a number of years before coming to the market. Great job by the team at Simplivity.
This article originally appeared here.