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Pivot3 Acuity jukes HCI sales, aims at cloud

Hyper-converged vendor Pivot3 said its Acuity appliance is significantly expanding its enterprise footprint, with one-third of its revenue coming from deals of $500,000 or more last quarter.

The private company today said its average sales price increased 25% and overall revenue increased 50% from the previous quarter. Pivot3 reported a record in million-dollar orders in the quarter. Now it seeks to expand deeper into the enterprise by tailoring its HCI software for cloud implementations and broadening its distribution strategy with partners Lenovo and Arrow Electronics.

The Pivot3 Acuity platform launched in April, supporting NVMe solid-state drives for performance and incorporating quality of service the vendor acquired in 2016 from NexGen Storage.

Along with boosting performance on Pivot3 Acuity with NVMe, the vendor is concentrating on solving the problems of moving data in and out of the cloud. Pivot3 Acuity’s quality of service is designed to run multiple applications, which will help cloud customers. Pivot3 said deals supporting multiple use cases on its appliances more than doubled last quarter.

But data movement is another issue.

“It’s a long process, but there’s a massive economic gain if we get it right,” Pivot3 CEO Ron Nash said. “The cloud’s not monolithic. There are many clouds with many different characteristics.”

He said mastering the cloud requires a policy management engine, an orchestration engine and analytics engine. Pivot3 has the policy management and has started with orchestration to move data in and out of the cloud. The analytics will determine if the policy decisions are working.

“It’s easy to say, ‘There is the goal line, that’s where we want to get to. Then let’s lay out the steps,’” Nash said. “If clouds let you spin up and spin down quickly and take peak of peaks type demand, that’s a valuable service and something you are willing to pay a lot for.”

Nash said it will take a few years to get all the pieces down, but he considers Pivot3 ahead of the other HCI vendors In the meantime, Pivot3 is expanding its distribution process.

Pivot3’s branded appliances run on Dell servers, but it also has an OEM deal with Lenovo and a channel partnership with Cisco. Pivot3 chief marketing officer Bruce Milne said Pivot3 considers Lenovo its key partner, and last month signed a distribution deal with Arrow Electronics to sell Pivot3 Acuity software on Lenovo. Milne said around 15% of Pivot3 revenue comes from software-only deals.

Pivot3 has a similar go-to-market strategy as Nutanix. Nutanix sells its own branded appliances complemented by OEM deals with Dell EMC and Lenovo and meet-in-the-channel deals with Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise resellers. These types of partnerships make hyper-converged full of coopetition. Dell EMC, Cisco and HPE all sell hyper-converged appliances with their own software, too. Dell EMC uses VMware vSAN software on PowerEdge servers, Cisco acquired Springpath for its UCS-based HyperFlex appliances, and HPE bought hyper-converged startup SimpliVity for its software.

“We see Cisco making a lot of noise, but no accounts except for the Cisco base,” Milne said. “HPE is starting to make noise, trying to differentiate its hardware by embedding SimpliVity software in ProLiant servers. Dell EMC is coming on strong, which I’m sure concerns Nutanix. I can’t count on a competitor as a supplier on my platforms.”

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