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You can feed 800 VMs off 1 of our boxes, startup brags

Tintri wraps NetApp up in white paper

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Apparently, just adding a tincture of Tintri to your virtualised server-storage array pathway gets those VMs running like super-charged rockets. The firm says a European customer is running 800 virtual machines off one Tintri box, leaving a NetApp array chastened in the background.

The unnamed customer makes things like railway carriages and power stations. It had virtualised a lot of infrastructure and file servers and its virtual machines (VMs) were stored on a NetApp array. But the VMs were not running fast enough and storage was fingered as the bottleneck.

A Tintri 540 VMstore product was purchased to sit inline between the servers and the file store and the VMs were vMotioned onto it. A 540 has eight 3TB disk drives and eight 300GB multi-level cell SSDs providing 26.4TB of raw storage and 13.5TB of usable capacity. Virtually all VM I/Os are serviced from the flash.

The customer was pleased with how the 3U box performed. The firm moved more and more VMs to the Tintri box, and now 800 are running on it, an amazing number.

Tintri is a startup and has about 80 customers for its VMstore products, with sales organisations in the USA, Japan and Europe. CEO and founder Kieran Harty says Tintri comes in when customers are approaching a breakpoint after virtualising servers. The firm's NFS protocol product technology is designed to execute VM I/O as efficiently as possible to fix VM I/O problems they are facing, she says.

There's a Tintri white paper explaining its performance-enhancing magic potion available here (PDF).

Geoff Stedman, Tintri's marketing veep, claimed that one customer told him they had been quoted $2.5m by one of the storage giants for enough storage to get their VMs running quickly enough. The customer looked at Tintri as an alternative while negotiating with its bigger rival, whose bid – according to Stedman – went down to $1.25m. The marketing bod said his firm eventually sealed the deal for $300,000, giving the customer 12 VMstore rack units instead of 84 rack units of the rival vendor's storage.

That's a lot less data centre space to be provisioned, powered and cooled.

These numbers tell us that a single Tintri box, which is 3U high, costs around $75K.

Stedman says there a couple of other Tintri customers who are running 500 VMs off their VMstores. The storage arrays that are now not being used for storing VMS are used for space rather than performance. They don't go away but they demoted.

What we would seem to be seeing here is a purpose-built architecture designed to store and run VMs far more efficiently than a traditional hard disk dive-based storage array, even one with bolted in FlashCache for its controllers. If this pattern is repeated there will be a mass adoption of flash-based VM stores by enterprises seeing VM I/O bottlenecking off conventional arrays. Watch this space ®


How can NetApp respond? Stick your suggestions into this forum topic please.

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