I have to admit that, almost 3 years ago, when I met Tegile for the first time I was all but impressed. At that time they had presented themselves as another company with a ZFS-based appliance… and my first thought was “you won’t be going anywhere!”. I was very wrong indeed (perhaps it was just a bad presentation) and since then they have been coming up with good things from both the product side and the ability to execute points of view.
Tegile is ZFS but not “everything-ZFS”. First of all they made it clear from day-1, they are not playing in the open source field and they want to maintain maximum control on the roadmap, quality and enhancements they make.
Consequently, the development team have maintained most of the FS unchanged but they have also improved all the awkward parts like, for example, the deduplication engine. This has produced a powerful, feature rich, hybrid or All-Flash, 2-controller series of appliances which are capable of scaling from just a few disks up to more than 1PB of capacity in different configurations.
It is clear that SMB is the sweet spot for them. In fact, they are not good at serving very high end workloads (in the range of hundreds of thousands of IOPS all under 1mS) or very huge capacities (like for the write-once-read-never kind of archiving applications)… but they are good for 90-95% of SMB enterprise workloads… and they can also be a good option for larger enterprises in branch offices as well as secondary storage in many cases.
The product (and the company) you are actually buying
From the end user perspective (we are talking about SMB here) ZFS is not the core part. Important things come from other aspects of a storage systems: ease of use, features and capabilities come first but this type of customer also spends a lot of time looking at what other companies like them are doing (something like, if it works for them, it should work for us too!)…
From the features and capabilities POV the product is impressive: a good and easy to use management interface, all the features you can expect from a modern storage system, remote replication, many different supported protocols, strong integration with the most common hypervisors including server off-loading capabilities (again, not only VAAI but also ODX for Microsoft environments), VM-level granularity for most features and much more. They’re jumping on the Cloud-based management/analytics band wagon too. It’s also good to see Tegile embracing partnerships with companies like Oracle (it means a lot for a small organization that buys a single array to serve all its workloads, not only VMware!).
Are they perfect? No, of course. Could they be more efficient? Yes. (for example, some polemics started during the SFD6 session about how they manage compression+deduplication process) But, again, they are good enough (or better) in most cases.
If you look at the second aspect, I mean SMB users looking at each other, you can easily find Tegile’s growth very comparable to what we saw a few years back from other successful companies like Compellent and, lately, Nimble. They are very good at communicating what they are doing (I receive tons -too many- of PRs from them talking about wins, news, features and so on)… and I think they want to make sure they are well recognized by potential customers through other similar end users (as I said, SMBs look at other SMBs…)
They’re not very well known yet in Europe, but they are quickly expanding operations here too (for example, I know of one system sold here in Italy too). If I were a reseller or an end user I’d give them a look.
Closing the circle
Long story short, Tegile has leveraged the best of ZFS (an already mature, 10+ year_ old, FS which is a great backend for their system) to build a very interesting appliance full of features. From this point of view they have been very clever… after just two years in the wild, they have a mature product which is already at par (or better) with many competitors.
Tegile is still a small company but I like the way they do things and their pragmatism. They do not have scale-out, very high-end or fancy-shmancy storage… but they do what an SMB organization needs and I think they do it well. Don’t they?
First published here.