Storage Soup


July 11, 2018  6:04 PM

Newest Dell EMC data protection appliance heads downstream

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

Until last year, Dell EMC data protection involved separate offerings of Avamar backup software and Data Domain deduplication appliances. The vendor changed that strategy in May 2017 with the launch of the Integrated Data Protection Appliance (IDPA) family.

On Tuesday, Dell EMC brought out IDPA 4400, extending the disk-based product for backup and disaster recovery at satellite offices.  The new hardware is aimed at companies with roughly 2,000 employees, 1,000 virtual machines and 200 TB of storage.

The 4400 is the fifth version in the IDPA product line, and it offers the lowest usable capacity at 24 TB.  It carries a list price of about $80,000.

“The IDPA 4400 is for customers that want a dense platform that they can rack themselves and grow in place,” said Ruya Barrett, a vice president of marketing at Dell EMC data protection.

Dell introduced the IDPA line in part to siphon business away from startups Cohesity and Rubrik, Barrett said.

“They are definitely the (competitors) we’re watching. They have checked the box for simplicity, but they do at the cost of performance and efficiency.”

The 2U box is designed on Dell PowerEdge 14th generation storage servers. IDPA 4400 is available as a turnkey appliance preconfigured with 96 TB of disk capacity. Customers can start as low as 24 TB and scale capacity in 12-terabyte increments with additional license keys.

Software is based on the Avamar code and embeds a backup application, storage analytics and an application configuration manager. Dell EMC guarantees up to 55-1 data deduplication with Data Domain Boost on all IDPA hardware.

The HTML5 management interface is integrated with VMware vSphere, Oracle RMAN and SQL Management Studio.

The vendor claims IDPA 4400 protects about 5 PB of usable storage. With optional Cloud Disaster Recovery software, an enterprise could natively tier up to 14 PB of deduplicated data from IDPA 4400 to an Amazon Web Services S3 target.

For long-term retention, IDPA supports AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as Dell EMC-branded Elastic Cloud Storage and Virtustream.

Selling more Dell EMC data protection gear is part of a larger overall goal to grow its storage business. It closed the April quarter with $4.1 billion in storage sales, up 10% and marking its first positive territory since the Dell-EMC merger closed in 2016.

Dell EMC data protection ranked third last quarter with nearly 13% of the worldwide market, according to IT research firm IDC. That placed it ahead of Commvault (9%), but behind market leaders Veritas (17%) and IBM (16%).

IDC ranked Dell first in sales of purpose-built backup appliances with $520 million, good for 9% growth. Dell EMC represented more than half of the $842 million quarterly total reported by IDC.

July 10, 2018  4:23 PM

Proposed Tintri-DDN storage deal heads for bankruptcy court

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

Data Direct Networks Inc. (DDN) is seeking a bargain from Tintri’s fire sale.

The DDN storage portfolio is poised to add the storage assets of failing hybrid vendor Tintri, which filed for Chapter 11 protection this week. The two vendors on Tuesday said they have signed a nonbinding letter of intent, with the transaction to be administered by a U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Proposed financial terms were not disclosed. However, a Tintri-DDN storage transaction is far from guaranteed. DDN’s offer is subject to several contingencies, including a court-sanctioned bidding process and final court approval. Should a deal be finalized, Tintri stockholders are not expected to receive a return on their shares.

However, Tintri employees waiting for back wages could be in luck thanks to new interim financing from TriplePoint Capital, one of the vendor’s principal debt-holders.

According to a securities filing, Tintri is seeking court approval to obtain debtor-in-possession financing to advance a possible acquisition. TriplePoint Capital has offered to lend $5.5 million of working capital and allow Tintri to roll up $25 million in TriplePoint debt, which DDN (or other potential bidders) presumably would take on as a condition of any deal.

The TriplePoint debt would be subordinated to that of Silicon Valley Bank, which negotiated a $12.5 million credit facility with Tintri earlier this year.  TriplePoint would require Tintri to establish a $1.9 million payroll reserve fund for back pay, benefits, withholdings and commissions owed to employees and contractors.

For Tintri, the bankruptcy filing marks the latest sad chapter in its slow demise. Perhaps handing its storage off to DDN can help burnish the technology, which has a strong installed base that includes about two dozen Fortune companies.

Tintri went public in a $60 million initial public offering on June 30, 2017. But investors were lukewarm on the shares from the start. After hitting a high of $7.75 – well off the company’s initial $11-per-share IPO target – the price has been in freefall ever since.

Nasdaq last month sent a delisting notice to Tintri after TNTR traded at less than $1 for more than 30 consecutive sessions. The equity remained in penny-stock territory on Tuesday, closing at 17 cents a share, with the DDN announcement pushing trading volume to 14.3 million shares.

Tintri’s struggles were mostly due to execution, said Eric Burgener, a research vice president at Framingham, Mass.-based IT analyst firm IDC.

“The Tintri array technology is specifically architected for running in a virtualized environment with a high IOPS profile. Tintri gave you that level of performance out of the box. Their challenges as a company were more along the go-to-market side, not their storage technology,” Burgener said.

DDN storage gear fills a niche in the high-performance computing market. Tintri will add real-time data analytics, virtualization and VM automation to DDN scale-out storage, making it particularly useful with the rapid emergence of AI-driven workloads across many industry sectors. DDN executives did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

Tintri products include the hybrid VMstore virtualization platform and flagship EC8000 Series all-flash cloud arrays. This marks the second DDN storage addition in less than two weeks, following its acquisition of the Lustre parallel file system from Intel in June.


July 3, 2018  5:21 PM

New HPE SAN switch is based on Cisco Gen 6 FC technology

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

It may not set off fireworks, but Hewlett Packard Enterprise heads into the July 4 break with a finalized portfolio of Cisco-based StoreFabric Fibre Channel switching gear for its all-flash arrays.

The latest HPE SAN switch hardware is based on a Cisco chipset and includes the eight-port StoreFabric C-Series SN6610 32 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) switch and the StoreFabric SN8500C FC director module. Cisco customers can upgrade existing chassis by inserting the larger blades.

“Upgrading from 8 Gbps to 16 Gbps gave a huge performance difference, and moving to 32-gig is another performance leapfrog. Cisco customers have been waiting for this product because they knew it would make it easier and less expensive to upgrade,” said Marty Lans, HPE’s general manager of storage connectivity.

Lans said the latest HPE SAN products are designed to serve as a department-level SAN, top-of-rack switch, or native end-of-row FC SAN extension. Customers can light up 32 ports on the SN6610C by incrementally licensing eight additional blades at a time. Onboard telemetry analyzes storage traffic from all ports at line rate.

The StoreFabric 48-port director allows customers to scale to 384 ports per chassis or 1,152 FC ports in a single 9U rack.  The module contains a backplane that HPE claims can provide 1.5 TB per second of throughput per slot. Aggregated duplex performance on the SN8500 is rated up to 1,536 Gbps.

Smart SAN storage automation software enables HPE SAN arrays to handle physical orchestration and volume management on behalf of the networking switch.

HPE released SAN switches based on Cisco rival Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel (FC)  technology two years ago. The Brocade product line was acquired by Broadcom in a deal worth nearly $6 billion in 2017.

The advent of powerful servers, coupled with the performance improvements native to NVMe flash, heighten the need for networking gear that can deliver faster storage. Experts expect initial NVMe over Fabrics deployments to utilize legacy FC, or move to FC over Ethernet to accommodate real-time data analytics.

Although data in backup, hyper-converged and secondary systems accounts for about 80% of storage, Lans said the remaining 20% relies on primary storage arrays. He said HPE SAN customers want help to integrate NVMe flash with existing FC investments.

“We expect a lot of customers to go in that direction. They already have the infrastructure from their primary array. When they want to go NVMe natively, the storage infrastructure is ready to go,” Lans said.


July 2, 2018  4:47 PM

Dell and VMware hammer out deal, but no reverse merger

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

Dell and VMware have taken a step – maybe only the first step – on a journey to fund Michael Dell’s on-again, off-again love affair with going public.

Dell Technologies, parent company of storage giant Dell EMC, is preparing a return to the public markets, fueled by a $9 billion recapitalization from its VMware subsidiary. The vendor disclosed its plans Monday following months of deliberation by Dell’s board and special committees.

Dell will eliminate the VMware tracking stock (DVMT) created as a result of the Dell-EMC merger in 2016. Dell plans to list a new class of common stock directly on the New York Stock Exchange. The arrangement allows Dell to go public without filing for an initial public offering.

As a result, Dell would assume direct management control over VMware, which could prove to be a preliminary to a future Dell and VMware merger.

Recent U.S. tax reform provided “excess balance-sheet cash” that aided negotiations between Dell and VMware, Dell executives told investors on a conference call this morning. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, pending approval of VMware shareholders.

Dell CEO Michael Dell said no changes are anticipated to the company’s operating groups, which span networking, servers, software and storage.

“The simple answer is we don’t anticipate any changes.  I think if you look at the last five years, we’ve been consistently investing for growth and it’s been working.  We’ve had steady, strong share gains across our businesses.  And we intend to continue to do that,” Dell said.

Dell’s reentry to the public markets comes five years after Dell left it to avoid the scrutiny of Wall Street. The $24.5 billion buyout in 2013 was engineered by equity firm Silver Lake Partners, which also was instrumental in financing Dell’s acquisition of EMC, including a controlling interest in VMware.

Dell finalized a $60 billion-plus merger with EMC in 2016. During the April quarter, the Dell EMC storage business posted positive growth for the first time since the deal was finalized, generating $4.1 billion, up 10%. Consolidated Dell revenues topped $21.5 billion, up 17% year over year.

Patrick Moorhead, a principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas, said going private positioned Dell to acquire EMC and expand its reach in enterprise storage and virtualization.

“Dell’s timing on going public again is interesting, coming so soon after it brought the storage business back to growth. Dell has been saying that it was gaining market share, but the storage (revenue) had been flat until last quarter. That leads you to believe they would have to be pretty comfortable that the storage will continue to grow as a public company,” Moorhead said.

Craig Lowery, a research director in Gartner’s technology and service provider group, said customers are shifting to the public cloud and away from on-premises enterprise hardware. He said that trend almost certainly influenced Dell and VMware to make the move.

“Consumption of IT is going up across the board, so all boats are being lifted by that tide. It’s a little harder to figure out how to use it than they thought, but our research shows that customers are moving toward public cloud.  The time for Dell to do this deal was now. Any longer and they would look less and less viable,” Lowery said.

As proposed, holders of VMware tracking stock can elect to receive $109 in cash per share, or have their shares converted to Dell common stock. The cash portion of the deal is capped at $9 billion.  The cash consideration of $109 per share represents a 29% premium to the closing share price immediately prior to the announcement, Dell officials said.

A special committee of VMware’s directors has approved an $11 billion cash dividend. Under the proposal, Dell Technologies would receive approximately $9 billion to pay the VMware shareholders and apply remaining proceeds toward debt or share repurchases.

Talks of a reverse merger between Dell and VMware have percolated since last year, but those discussions reportedly hit a snag when VMware directors resisted the idea. VMware will remain an independent subsidiary with a separate balance sheet. Dell will retain an 81% ownership stake.

“A reverse merger would have been disastrous for VMware partners (by making Dell a competing OEM). It would have given Michael Dell a lot of control. There is no illusion about VMware (being) a lapdog for Dell, but at least with this type of deal, VMware has enough autonomy to serve its other partners objectively,” Lowery said.

Under the proposal by Dell and VMware, Silver Lake Partners will maintain its 24% ownership stake in Dell common stock. Michael Dell owns 72%.


June 29, 2018  5:55 PM

With Tintri layoffs, hybrid vendor waves a final goodbye

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

A new round of Tintri layoffs has cost 200 people their jobs, including its top sales executive, as the hybrid vendor winds down operations. The move leaves Tintri with about 40 to 50 employees.  Tintri said in a June 22 securities filing the job cuts are an effort to preserve “limited cash resources.”

The cuts were not unexpected. Citing insufficient revenue, Tintri has informed federal regulators it likely would cease operations by June 30, barring an acquisition or last-minute infusion of funding.

June 30 is a sadly ironic date for Tintri’s demise. It is the anniversary of the vendor’s star-crossed 2017 initial public offering.

The fate of remaining employees remains unclear, but the next step appears to be bankruptcy protection. Tintri is not the first vendor to get ahead of the market, only to lose ground to competitors. All-flash array vendor Violin Memory won kudos for its fast performance storage, but stumbled into bankruptcy when competitors beat it on integrated flash software. Now Violin Systems, the vendor got a second chance when it reemerged with new financing this year.

Among those let go is Tom Cashman, who had been Tintri’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and alliances. Cashman was promoted to that position in March after serving in other sales leadership at Tintri since 2014.

News of Tintri layoffs comes two weeks after the abrupt resignation of CEO Tom Barton on June 18. Barton took the reins April 2 after Ken Klein voluntarily stepped down.

It marks the second major round of company layoffs enacted this year. Tintri fired 120 employees in January.

In a related matter, Tintri acknowledged it has received a notice from Nasdaq of potential delisting of its publicly traded shares. That also comes as no surprise, considering that Tintri stock (TNTR) has been trending toward the pink sheets since May.

Nasdaq issues a noncompliance notice when a company’s shares trade for less than $1 for 30 consecutive days. TNTR shares hit a high of $7.75 a share during its first month of trading, but the share price has steadily fallen since then. In what is likely its last day of trading, TNTR closed Friday at 13 cents a share.

Tintri was founded in 2011 by Kieran Harty, a former vice president of engineering at VMware. Tintri VMstore arrays targeted highly virtualized storage environments.

More recently, most sales involved Tintri E6000 all-flash and T800 cloud arrays to hyper-scale data centers and service providers. But the rise of cloud storage tier was not enough to lift Tintri to new heights.


June 29, 2018  2:59 PM

Commvault and Azure integrations drive data protection tasks

Paul Crocetti Paul Crocetti Profile: Paul Crocetti
Storage

Commvault has expanded its integration with Microsoft Azure Stack, also pulling its OEM partner Cisco into deal.

With the Commvault Data Platform, enterprises using on-premises Azure Stack hybrid clouds in hybrid environments can accelerate digital transformation initiatives, according to the data protection vendor. Azure Stack is an integrated platform that delivers public cloud services in a local data center to let organizations construct hybrid clouds.

New Commvault and Azure Stack features include:

  • Compliance Apps, which enable organizations to discover, monitor and manage personally identifiable information on Azure Stack, helping to meet such data privacy requirements as those under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation;
  • Indexing and searching Microsoft OneDrive for Business documents saved on Azure Stack hybrid clouds;
  • Protection and recovery of full Azure Stack virtual machines to the existing Stack or a different one;
  • Live Sync for Microsoft SQL Server that automatically replicates changes captured by backups for a production SQL database on an Azure Stack private cloud to another SQL server; and
  • The ability to make Azure Stack a data management appliance.

The longtime Commvault and Microsoft partnership includes native support for Azure.

Commvault and Cisco coordinate on the cloud

Commvault and Azure users also have new options regarding the data protection vendor’s evolving partnership with Cisco.

Commvault Data Platform enterprise users can now manage, protect and recover data in Cisco Integrated Systems for Microsoft Azure Stack environments. Specifically, customers using Commvault’s ScaleProtect with Cisco Unifed Computing System (UCS) can pair it with the Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack. ScaleProtect is a rebranding of Commvault’s recently launched HyperScale appliance that runs on Cisco.

“Cisco is a global leader for hosting data and the Cisco infrastructure options — including Cisco’s Azure Stack [product] — provide an excellent vehicle for Commvault customers to leverage our software and services,” Randy De Meno, chief technologist at Commvault, wrote in an email. “Our [product] running on Cisco hardware also enables Cisco’s field and partners to manage data both on Cisco and heterogeneous environments.”

The combination of Commvault and Cisco provides enterprise data management and protection for data in Azure, Azure Stack, multi-cloud environments and traditional infrastructures. Specific uses include native protection of virtual machines, VM and workload migration to Azure Stack, and disaster recovery.

Commvault software, including ScaleProtect with Cisco UCS, is available on the Cisco Global Price List through the Cisco SolutionsPlus program.

The Cisco integration is one of a number of product updates and partnerships Commvault has launched since embarking on a new strategic plan that includes the search for a new CEO.


June 28, 2018  2:44 PM

WDC strives to become ‘next great storage’ company

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo
western digital

Since its 2012 acquisition of hard disk drive rival HGST, Western Digital Corp. has bought more storage companies than any other vendor.

Some of the deals were whoppers, such as the $19 billion SanDisk acquisition and the $4.8 billion payout for HGST. Those deals helped WDC expand its core hard disk drive business while making it a leader in solid-state drive (SSD) devices.

This week WDC tried to shine the light on the fruits of a few smaller deals. WDC held a press event at its San Jose, Calif., campus to launch new storage systems, including an all-flash array platform acquired from Tegile Systems and object storage software that came from Amplidata. None of the new systems were earth-shattering but they highlighted the fact that WDC is more than a drive vendor. It also sells full storage systems as part of its Data Center Systems division.

“People often frame Western Digital as a legacy hardware company,” said Phil Bullinger, GM of WDC’s data center systems group and the man responsible for changing that perception.

“This company has the opportunity to build the next great storage systems business in the market.  We can do things that others cannot. We’re not a startup company. We have more than 2,200 customers and 3,500 systems deployed.”

In other words, WDC is a sleeping giant in the storage systems world. But what will it take to wake that giant? The storage systems revenue doesn’t make up enough of WDC’s $20 billion annual revenue for the company to disclose. But with adoption of NVMe and cloud – built largely on object storage –  growing in leaps and bounds, Bullinger and other WDC  executives say the vendor has the right technologies to cash in.

The new products include:

  • Four new IntelliFlash N-Series all-NVMe flash arrays. The N5240 and N5280 have 736 GB of memory and four 16-core CPUs per array. The N5240 can scale to 92 TB of NVMe or 553 TB of SAS flash, and the N5280 scales to 184 TB of NVMe or 1.106 PB of SAS flash. The N5840 and N5880 include 1.44 TB of memory and four 20-core CPUs per array. The N5840 scales to 77 TB of NVMe or 553 TB of SAS flash, and the N5880 scales to 154 TB of NVMe or 1.1 PB of SAS flash. IntelliFlash OS 3.9 supports all block and file storage protocols, data reduction, non-disruptive data migration and volume copy to move applications between storage classes, and per volume snapshots and copies. The new IntelliFlash arrays – based on Tegile technology — will be available in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • ActiveScale 5.3 Object Storage. ActiveScale is the object storage software that powers WDC’s ActiveScale P100 modular and ActiveScale X100 integrated systems. The P100 scales from 864 TB to 5.4 PB and the X100 scales from 1 PB to 63 PB of raw capacity. ActiveScale 5.3 supports a Unified Data Access NFS interface for managing data through a file system format. It also includes hybrid cloud replication – bucket-level replication from an on-premises ActiveScale System to an Amazon Web Services bucket – and Docker container support.
  • UltraStar Serv60+8 Hybrid Storage Server Platform. The Serv60+8 is an extension to WDC’s hybrid storage server platform for designed for archive, backup, media streaming, content repositories, and remote office and private-cloud deployments. It includes dual Intel Skylake processors. The Serv60+8 has 36 dedicated hard disk drive slots and another 24 slots for either HDDs or SAS or SATA SSDs. Another eight slots are reserved for NVMe, SAS or SATA SSDs. The sever starts with 144 TB of capacity.


June 27, 2018  7:57 AM

HCI market: rich get richer as Dell, Nutanix flourish

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo
Storage

Dell, VMware and Nutanix continued to dominate the hyper-converged infrastructure market in the first quarter, combining for most of the fast-growing segment.

According to IDC’s first quarter converged systems tracker, Dell and its subsidiary VMware led the market depending on whether it is measured by branded hardware or HCI software-led sales. Nutanix was second either way. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Cisco outgrew the overall market but remained well behind the leaders.

IDC measures the HCI market two ways: by the brand of the hyper-converged system and by the owner of the software providing the core hyper-converged capabilities. Those are two views of the HCI market, which increased 76.3% year-over-year in the first quarter to $1.2 billion. HCI revenue remained flat with the fourth quarter of 2017, which had been the largest ever for HCI sales.

The HCI market is close to becoming larger than the certified reference systems and converged infrastructure market. Converged systems generated $1.3 billion in revenue during the first quarter, an 0.9% year-over-year decline. Converged systems revenue fell $400 million from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018.

Dell, which sells Dell EMC branded HCI appliances along with servers that include Nutanix software, led the branded hardware market with 29.6% share.  Dell’s $363 million in revenue grew 142% year-over-year. Its share increased from 21.6% a year ago and 27.8% in the fourth quarter.  Nutanix branded revenue of $273 million made up 22.2% of the market and represented 71.5% growth in branded revenue. Nutanix branded revenue was 22.9% a year ago and 19.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

In the software view, VMware and Nutanix generated nearly 70% of the HCI market. VMware led with $456.3 million, a 109.5% year-over-year spike. Its market share of 37.2% increased from 31.3% a year ago and 32.4% in the fourth quarter. HCI systems with Nutanix’s core HCI software generated $398.7 million in first-quarter revenue, 85.5% year-over-year growth. Nutanix’s 32.5% market share increased from 30.1% a year ago and 29.5% in the fourth quarter.

HPE was a distant third in both views. HPE branded hardware accounted for $61 million and 5% share, a 112.3% year-over-year revenue increase. Based on HCI software ownership, IDC credited HPE with $61.3 million for 280.8% growth. HPE’s year-over-year software growth came from its early 2017 acquisition of early HCI vendor SimpliVity. HPE sells SimpliVity HCI software on ProLiant servers.

Cisco’s HCI revenue was $59.9 million in either view – good for 4.9% share and 145% growth.

Revenue from all other HCI vendors combined grew at a far less impressive rate. From a branded perspective, the “others” category increased 41% for 38.3% share in the first quarter. In the software view, combined revenue from “others” increased only 12.7% and share dropped from 32% a year ago to 20.4%. That means the top four vendors combined for 87.3% of the HCI market when measured by core HCI software. That’s  up from 74.7% in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Converged infrastructure sales decline

Dell held its lead in converged  infrastructure (CI) sales despite a 1% year-over-year decline to $643.1 million. Dell’s 48% share was the same as in the first quarter of 2017. No. 2 NetApp/Cisco increased its CI revenue 16.8% to $462 million and its share of 34.6% was up from 29.3% a year ago. No. 3 HPE held only 7.9% of the CI market after a 42.4% year-over-year revenue decline. HPE’s share slipped from 13.6% a year ago. All other CI vendors combined held less than 10% of the market.

IDC defines converged systems as pre-integrated, vendor-certified systems that must include four components: server hardware, disk storage, networking equipment, and systems management software.


June 19, 2018  10:37 PM

Tintri CEO Barton tells board: ‘I’m outta here’

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

The captain of fast-sinking Tintri has abandoned ship, just three months after he came aboard as a lifesaver.

Tintri CEO Thomas Barton, 54, informed the board of his decision on Monday, according to a securities filing. Tintri did not elaborate on the reason for Barton’s departure, but said it was not due to a “disagreement” or matters pertaining to Tintri’s operations.

Shares of Tintri  sank nearly 25% on the news, closing Tuesday trading at a new low of 19 cents a share. A new Tintri CEO has not been named, and it may soon be a moot point, given the vendor’s ongoing struggles to acquire new funding, repay debt and retain customers. Tintri officials did not respond to interview requests.

Tintri was unable to make a timely earnings report last quarter, and its shares have been trading under the $1 price minimum needed to retain listing on Nasdaq. Under Nasdaq rules, such companies have 180 days to reestablish the share-price requirement, but it’s not likely Tintri will be around to worry about it.

When it revealed preliminary earnings last week, Tintri said it lacks “sufficient liquidity” to continue operations beyond June 30. That date is the one-year anniversary of Tintri’s initial public offering, a move it undertook to stay afloat financially following years of heavy losses and a drop in venture  funding.

Going public has not panned out according to plan. In the same earnings report, Tintri publicly acknowledged for the first time that “existing and potential customers and suppliers have expressed concerns regarding the company’s financial condition.”

According to the filing, Tintri owes $15.4 million in principal outstanding for a line of credit with Silicon Valley Bank and $50 million related to a credit facility with TriplePoint Capital LLC. Another $25 million of junior debt is tied to subordinated notes, bringing Tintri’s indebtedness to $90.4 million. Against that, Tintri has about $42.5 million in aggregate cash and cash equivalents.

Barton is the second Tintri CEO in four months to resign. He took over for Ken Klein, who left the job in March after five years at the helm.

Launched in 2008, Tintri initially marketed its all-flash storage for VMware shops. The company since has transitioned to hybrid and all-flash cloud arrays for hyper-scale environments. Although its technology has received high marks for scale and manageability, Tintri has struggled to sell enough storage to outrun a succession of quarterly losses.

Barton officially started as Tintri CEO on April 2 at a salary of $400,000, with the opportunity to earn $250,000 in performance-based cash bonuses. He added the title of interim CFO in May.

Industry observers considered Barton a good choice, given his background in both enterprise storage and venture investment. Barton joined Tintri from Broken Arrow Venture Capital, a Los Gatos, Calif., firm where he had been a founding partner since 2007.

From 2002 to 2007, Barton was president and CEO of Rackable Systems, a maker of x86 storage servers. Rackable Systems was acquired by Silicon Graphics International after Barton had left the company, and the technology became part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise after it acquired SGI in 2016.

Regardless of how he baited the hook this time, Barton apparently was unable to get investors to bite. Rather than fish from the side, Barton decided to make landfall, leaving Tintri even further adrift at sea.


June 13, 2018  3:49 PM

Maxta MxSP dons its Red Hat for container storage

Garry Kranz Garry Kranz Profile: Garry Kranz

Maxta MxSP hyper-converged infrastructure is expanding integration with Red Hat. The software-only vendor has added support for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, which is built on Red Hat Container Native Storage with GlusterFS file system.

The move is designed to ease migration of containers from VMware vSphere to Red Hat Virtualization. The Maxta MxSP platform supports both hypervisors on a single platform.

Maxta shared storage consists of the vendor’s distributed file system and integrated data services, including automated snapshots and cloning for rapid recovery.  According to a Maxta spec sheet, Red Hat deployments require a minimum of three compute servers to maintain a quorum.

Maxta CEO Yoram Novick said Maxta file system provides capabilities for abstracted environments.

“The key capabilities of persistent storage are data integrity and performance. Maxta file system has strong checksums for both data and metadata to address one aspect of data integrity. Maxta also makes copies of all data elements across two or more different servers to protect against server, disk and flash failures,” plus synchronous replication.

For data protection, Maxta supports unlimited automated snapshots and clones for rapid recovery of applications.

Hyper-converged systems consist of a standard server hardware that combines compute, network, storage and virtualization resources in one box. Unlike most HCI vendors, Maxta MxSP is sold only as software, although customers can opt to get MxSP reference architecture from major server vendors.

Maxta has tried to separate itself from other HCI vendors by claiming to eliminate application siloes. A typical HCI stack usually supports one application, whereas Maxta MxSP allows multiple applications to run on a single cluster.

Container adoption is on the rise as solutions have emerged for issues related to persistent storage and data protection. Enterprises are using containers for selected application development to offset costs and management issues associated with large virtual machine farms.

Based on Linux variants, a container represents a slimmed-down alternative to a VM, allowing applications to be swapped between any underlying storage.

Instead of a guest of the full host operating system, a container requires only the slice of code needed to execute its dedicated microservices. Containers are also able to be rapidly deployed at large scale, with the Google Kubernetes Engine starting to assert itself as the preferred orchestration framework.

To date, the dominant practice is for enterprises to launch containers inside a VM. Maxta claims its OpenShift cloud infrastructure eliminates the necessity of separate abstraction layers by allowing containers to run natively without the need of a VM.

Maxta’s OpenShift support follows Red Hat integration in September 2017 for the VMware Escape Pod configuration, aimed at companies that want to reduce or eliminate VMware licensing fees for managing VMs. Novick said Maxta is monitoring customer demand to support  Microsoft Hyper-V.


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