Posts Tagged ‘SimpliVity’

The VMworld 2013 expo was all about storage, cloud (storage) and securing the data (on the storage). I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade show analyst declared this to be the enterprise storage event of the year and a preferred alternative to Storage Networking World (SNW). I’ll expect the same next year because the vendors I spoke with told me it was a good event for them. They said they met more end-users this year and most have exhibited for many years.

All in all it was a great event, but by the time I hit the expo the booth babes were looking a little rough.

Apocalypse

WD says “Apocalypse Never” but they were clearly wrong. This event had more than it’s share of zombies thanks to Bluelock, Sandbox and one other vendor (who deserves credit…help!).

I checked in with the storage-related vendors: Aberdeen, Asigra, Avere, Bluelock, Cloudbyte, Cloudfounders, Codefourtytwo, Commvault, Coraid, Dell, EMC, FalconStor, Fusion-io, Greenbytes, HDS, HP, Maginatics, Maxta, Micron, Nasuni, NetApp, Neverfail, Nexsan, Nexenta, Nimbus Data, Nutanix, Permixdata, Pure Storage, Qnap, Quantum, Racemi, Scality, Simplivity, sTec, Synology, Tegile, Tintri, Violin Memory, Virident, VirtunetSystems, WD, X-IO, Yuruware, Zadara, as well as other neat firms like Brocade, Cognizant, Rapid7, Sandbox, Splunk, Thinking Software and others.

From a marketing perspective it was clear that almost all the vendors had innovative products and if you gave the salespeople a chance they could articulate what makes their particular product special. Frankly, it was important to give them a chance to talk because many booths failed to adequately communicate to passers by what their company was selling, let alone what made their particular product special. It’s easy for marketers to assume that everyone else knows as much as they do about their offering. However, they assume too much. I can name 75+ Vendors Promoting an Enterprise Solution that Uses Flash Memory — that list excludes standard HDD-based storage, and most of the software solutions, including a gazillion backup/recovery products. There are easily 200+ firms vying for the attention of enterprise storage managers, analysts and journalists.

Nimbus Data was clear. They were showing “The most resilient, future-proof flash memory storage ever.” And, it must be fast to set records.

IMG_2502

Nimbus Data: An example of clear messaging.

Coraid’s value proposition was not immediately clear to me from their signage. However, when you talk with Coraid you can learn that their storage uses ATA over Ethernet, rather than iSCSI, Fibre Channel or Infiniband. I haven’t checked the specs., but they told me it was faster than iSCSI and Fibre Channel, it offers parallel performance, and it’s not limited by cable length. I’m sure storage buyers can see the value in that, especially if the price is right and they are open to another interconnect standard.

Coraid Sign

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) pricing models helped differentiate some products. Bluelock offers recovery as a service where they continuously backup data to the cloud and enable failover to the cloud if an issue takes down the primary data center. Asigra also offers recovery as a service. Brocade allows enterprises use networking infrastructure on a subscription basis. Users rent the equipment and can return it anytime. Zadara will also ship hardware to customers on pay-as-you-go terms or you can subscribe to their multi-tenant infrastructure in such a way that the infrastructure used is dedicated and not otherwise shared. As a 4-P marketer I’m always interested in innovative pricing and place-of-sale (delivery) strategies so I’m looking forward to seeing if the hardware rent models work.

Brocade Sign

There were a number of Software Defined Storage and Unified Storage vendors and firms that are betting on a shift from SAN and NAS. Such firms include Cloudfounders, Nutanix, Scality, Simplivity, amongst others. The unified server/storage approach fits well with the development of DIMM-based Flash modules showcased at the recent Flash Memory Summit. Like PCIe Flash drives, the DIMM Flash fits directly into a server (like RAM) taking advantage of available DIMM slots. So with the right software, all the direct attach hard drives across multiple servers can be pooled and managed as a unit while the servers’ Flash is used as a cache for application acceleration.

IMG_2486

Nutanix. Interesting product and great booth (useful whiteboard)

The well known performance issues associated with VDI had all the Flash system vendors and Intelligent Caching products on display. Although most storage systems have some form of caching built in (usually read-only), Pernixdata offers read and write caching at the kernel level for VMs, eliminating latency. VirtunetSystems has a similar VMware enhanced offering.

Cloud storage also had a big presence with the most interesting being Maginatics and Nasuni. These firms cache cloud-based data so it works like the data on your local hard disk. Racemi offers cloud to cloud data migration service and charges only for successful migrations.

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Maginatics Booth. An iPad accessing the Cloud (no rack required)

Of course, all the typical storage product categories were represented — everything from innovative JBOD chassis, to backup/recovery/archive software, to RAID and Flash systems. However, I’ll leave the product reviews to the analysts and journalists and move on to other marketing related topics.

On the promotion side of things, firms love to make make big announcements at trade shows. StorageNewsletter reported 33 storage-related announcements for VMworld 2013. I’m not sure why everyone follows this strategy, other than a trade show is a useful milestone that can get the engineering team to release the product. My PR and lead gen. firm, Marketingsage, has looked at the publicity firms achieve with trade show timed announcements. Unless you are a really big firm with a really big announcement, most firms simply get a mention in a roundup that covers everyone’s announcements. However, if you take Marketingsage’s advice and announce either before or after the event, you can get a nice story all to yourself. It’s simple supply and demand. Provide news when it’s scarce and you’ll get better coverage.

That said, I did have a very amusing encounter with one startup that absolutely did not want to announce the product they were promoting at VMworld. As I approached their booth, a representative spotted my “Blogger” badge and immediately intercepted me, blocking my view. I asked about their product. He answered with a few nebulous words that meant absolutely nothing, despite the information on display on the booth wall and monitor. It was a conversation akin to a cop on TV asking the guy they just pulled over: “Is that your Porsche?” To which he answers nervously “It’s my friend’s. She said I could borrow it.” “What’s your friend’s name?” “I forget, she’s really just a friend of a friend.” “I see you’ve started her Porsche with a screwdriver, didn’t she give you a key?” “No, she lost her key and I wanted to surprise her by getting the car started without it…”

So what would you do if someone blocked your view and said something to the effect of “move along now, nothing to see here.” Precisely! I stayed. It turned out they are planning a big PR announcement when they add a few more customers and did not want to dilute that announcement. I’ve seen that before. Some marketers call it a “soft launch.” It doesn’t work well. The pundits will know about the product, because they see it at the events (or at a briefing). Like me, they may respect the vendor’s request not to go public (as if a trade show is not public). However, soon the so called news is not news to the people who deliver it to the public, so the eventual announcement fizzles. The soft launch becomes a weak launch.

There were two trade show innovations that I think are worth a mention. First, there were several booths with whiteboards (see the Nutanix picture above.) A whiteboard is really helpful when discussing a network or a software stack. The second was HP’s lightbox rack. Sure it’s just a picture, but I’ve always questioned the benefit of shipping a ton weight of equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, then having 2 engineers spend hours setting it up for a so called demo that amounts to a bunch of flashing lights. If it’s a canned demo, why not record it, ship the hardware face plates (blinking lights) and replay it on a screen?

HP Lightbox Rack

The HP Lightbox Rack

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

This is a list of positioning statements used by firms who make storage products using Flash memory. For the most part these statements come from the first line of press releases. The list was compiled for a session I was chairing at the 2013 Flash Memory Summit. However, it’s updated periodically when new vendors appear or old ones disappear.

Positioning Statements

  1. Aberdeen — a leading manufacturer of servers and storage
  2. AC&NC — custom designed and pre-configured JetStor plug-and-play storage solutions that meet and exceed each customer’s application(s) requirements
  3. Amax — a leading innovator of Dynamic Enterprise IT & High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions
  4. Assurance — leading The Way In High Performance Enterprise, Cloud and HPC Storage Solutions
  5. Astute Networks — the leading provider of performance storage appliances
  6. Atlantis Computing — the leading provider of Software-Defined Storage
  7. Avere Systems — the leader in network-attached storage (NAS) optimization
  8. Balesio — the leading provider of Native Format Optimisation (NFO) solutions for unstructured data
  9. BiTMICRO — a leading developer and manufacturer of flash-based SSD (solid state drive) technology, products and solutions.
  10. BridgeSTOR — the company Advancing Deduplication to the Cloud
  11. CacheIO — the high performance storage leader for intense media applications
  12. Calxeda — a leader in the low power server market
  13. Coho Data– a leading innovator in web-scale flash storage for the enterprise
  14. Cisco — the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected
  15. Condusiv — the leader in high-performance software optimizing technology, people and businesses
  16. Coraid — a leading provider of scale-out Ethernet storage solutions
  17. DataCore — the premier provider of storage virtualization software
  18. DataDirect Networks — the world leader in massively scalable storage
  19. Dell — listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more
  20. Delphix — the leader in agile data management
  21. Dot Hill — a leading provider of SAN storage solutions
  22. Echostreams — a leading provider of server, storage, and system packaging technologies for today’s fast growing vertical markets such as Cloud, Datacenter, Video/broadcasting and Telecommunications
  23. EMC — a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service
  24. Enmotus — provides users with their critical data when they need it
  25. ExaGrid — the leader in cost-effective and scalable disk-based backup solutions with data deduplication
  26. Fastor — engaged in bringing future-proof solutions to the rapidly growing Cloud and Enterprise SSD markets
  27. Fixstars — Speed up your Business
  28. Foremay — ULTRA FAST, HIGH RELIABILITY, ULTRA LOW POWER, SECURED SSD
  29. Fusion-io — delivers the world’s data faster.
  30. GreenBytes — a developer of full-featured virtual desktop optimization solutions that uniquely support existing infrastructure
  31. Gridgain — a real time Big Data software company
  32. Gridstore — the leading provider of optimized storage for the modern data center
  33. HGST — develops advanced hard disk drives, enterprise-class solid state drives, innovative external storage solutions and services used to store, preserve and manage the world’s most valued data
  34. HP — creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people,businesses, governments and society
  35. Huawei Symantec — a leading provider of storage, networking and security solutions
  36. IceWEB — an award-winning Unified Data Storage appliance provider for cloud and virtual environments, as well as the highly secure, scalable IceBOX BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Private Digital Cloud Solution
  37. Infinio — inventor of downloadable storage performance
  38. iXsystems — builds rock solid enterprise-class servers and storage solutions
  39. JDV — a cutting-edge developer of innovative enterprise-class SSD server appliances
  40. Kaminario — the leading scale-out all-flash array provider
  41. Kove — a pioneering leader in high performance storage
  42. LSI — designs semiconductors and software that accelerate storage and networking in datacenters, mobile networks and client computing
  43. Marvell — a global leader in providing complete silicon solutions enabling the digital connected lifestyle
  44. Micron — one of the world’s leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions
  45. Nasuni — a provider of enterprise storage to large, distributed organizations
  46. NephoScale — creator of the NephOS next generation cloud infrastructure services platform
  47. NetApp — creates innovative storage and data management solutions that deliver outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate business breakthroughs
  48. Nexsan (Imation) — a global tiered storage and data security company
  49. Nimble Storage — the leading provider of flash-optimized hybrid storage solutions
  50. Nimbus Data Systems — the leading provider of unified all-flash storage systems for enterprise and cloud infrastructure
  51. Nutanix — the leading provider of hyper-efficient, massively scalable and elegantly simple datacenter infrastructure solutions
  52. OCZ — a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems
  53. Panzura — a leading provider of global cloud storage solutions
  54. Permabit — the recognized leader in data efficiency technology
  55. Pivot3 — a leading provider of converged storage and compute appliances
  56. Proximal Data — the leading provider of hypervisor I/O intelligence software solutions
  57. Pure Storage — the all-flash enterprise storage company
  58. Qsan — making data smart
  59. RAID Inc. — an end-to-end customized solutions provider in HPC, Big Data, and Virtualized Environments
  60. SanDisk — a global leader in flash memory storage solutions
  61. SGI — the trusted leader in technical computing and Big Data
  62. SimpliVity — a provider of simplified IT infrastructure solutions for virtualized environments
  63. Skyera — a disruptive provider of enterprise solid-state storage systems designed to enable a large class of applications with extraordinarily high performance, exceptionally lower power consumption and cost effectiveness relative to existing enterprise storage systems
  64. SolidFire — the leader in all-SSD storage systems designed for large scale cloud infrastructure
  65. Starboard Storage — a provider of unified hybrid storage systems that simplify and consolidate NAS and SAN storage for midsize enterprises
  66. sTec — a leading global provider of solid-state storage solutions
  67. StorageQuest — a global leader in data and archive management software and hardware
  68. StorTrends Performance Storage with Proven Value
  69. SuperLumin Networks — a leading provider of scalable, high-performance media proxy and application acceleration solutions
  70. Supermicro — global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing
  71. Symform — a revolutionary, distributed cloud backup service
  72. Tegile — a leading provider of hybrid storage arrays for virtualized server and virtual desktop environments
  73. Tintri — the leading producer of storage for virtualization and cloud environments
  74. Violin Memory — provider of memory-based storage systems
  75. Virident Systems — a performance leader in flash-based storage-class memory (SCM) solutions
  76. Virtium — a leading innovator of storage and memory solutions designed specifically to meet the dynamic requirements of embedded systems
  77. WhipTail — the data storage-industry innovator powering faster applications and more energy efficient computing for today’s global businesses via flash storage
  78. X-IO — a recognized innovator in the storage industry

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).