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VMworld Storage Recap Part II: WD, Syncsort, Kingston and Pivot3

As noted in a previous Storage Soup post, when data storage companies launch products at industry gatherings like the recent VMworld tech fest, there’s often an interesting back story or related information. Vendors are typically willing to share some insights that provide context for the product lines or a look into product roadmaps and developing technologies.


With its acquisition of Arkeia and its backup software, WD instantly carved out a place for itself in the backup appliance market.  WD Arkeia Network Backup is still available as a software product, as well as bundled on preconfigured appliances. WD introduced two low-end desktop backup appliances with capacities ranging from 4 TB to 16 TB raw to go along with its four rack-mounted backup appliances rolled out earlier this year. Any of these devices could be used in remote/branch offices to do local backups that can be replicated back to a central site, said Bill Evans, general manager of WD’s SMB business unit. Arkeia’s been around for a while, with its roots going all the way back to 1996; the company in its original and WD incarnations, targets mid-sized customers. Its software features Arkeia’s own data deduplication technology that the company calls Progressive Deduplication.


Syncsort has been around since the late sixties when it was founded as a mainframe software company, but a few years ago it remade itself to focus it data protection products exclusively on NetApp systems. That single-mindedness appears to have paid off, as Peter Eicher, senior product specialist, says they now have more than 500 customers as a result of their partnering with NetApp. Syncsort NSB pairs the company’s DPX data protection app with NetApp’s snapshotting capabilities. The result is a data protection platform that can work in physical, virtual and cloud environments. Eicher also noted that Syncsort is in the process of re-architecting the app’s foundation to make it easier to add more advanced features in the future.


Well-known for its memory products, Kingston Technologies is also has a full line of solid-state storage products for enterprises, smaller businesses and consumers. At VMworld, Kingston debuted its newest enterprise-class drive, the SSDNow E50, a lower-cost version of their E100 SSD. The E50 is a SATA 3.0-based 2.5-inch drive, offered in 100 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB versions. Cameron Crandall, senior technology manager, said that Kingston found that many customers were using their drives for read caching so they didn’t need the endurance of the higher end E100 product. Kingston originally got into the solid-state market by providing SSDs for desktop and laptop PCs, a business that’s still going strong. They have a number of projects in the works, including developing PCIe-base solid state devices, which they expect to introduce next year; by the end of 2014, they also expect to have a 2.5-ionch PCIe product (based on the NVMe standard). Considering their strong heritage in the DRAM market, they’re also keeping an eye on developments in DIMM-base flash storage.


Extending a business from surveillance systems to VDI appliances may seem like a neat trick, but Pivot3 has managed to pull it off. The company sells preconfigured vSTAC appliances that they say make deploying a virtual desktop environment a snap. The appliances include servers, storage and software—including VMware Horizon Suite for VDI. The newest model, the vSTAC R2S Appliance will ship in October; it can support between 117 and 154 desktops, according to Olivier Thierry, chief marketing officer. Thierry said that, on average, Pivot3 customers are using the appliances to virtualize 500 to 900 desktops, but he noted that vSTAC can scale to up to 12 nodes in a cluster. He also noted that interest in VDI is growing, with companies often opting to go the virtual route when faced with upgrading their Microsoft Windows PCs. Healthcare, state and local government and universities are among the verticals in which Pivot3 has seen the most activity to date.

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