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Tintri by DDN, Nexenta collaboration bears first fruits

Tintri and Nexenta were acquired in separate transactions by DDN. The Nexenta software-defined storage provides shared file services on Tintri VMware-focused VMstore block arrays.

Nexenta and Tintri, two recent DataDirect Networks storage acquisitions, have previewed a combined product for unified file and block storage.

NexentaStor VSA for Tintri adds file services to Tintri by DDN VMstore hybrid arrays. The NexentaStor virtual storage appliance (VSA) controller brings CIFS, NFS and SMB 3.0 capabilities to Tintri iSCSI block storage.

Tintri customers deploy the NexentaStor VSA as an Open Virtualization File on a dedicated VMware ESXi host. Nexenta and Tintri plan to demonstrate the product at VMworld 2019.

The Tintri by DDN arrays allow virtual machines to be managed individually. Tintri previously used file interfaces to support primary storage, but customers needed a dedicated NAS server for shared file services.

Managing VMware storage

Mario Blandini, the chief marketing officer at Tintri by DDN, said NexentaStor VSA is tuned to maximize the impact of Tintri's inline data compression and deduplication.

"In our view, it's a better option than using a generic file server, which doesn't give the same level of tuning. Since it's not an appliance, this is more of a lights-out interface," Blandini said.

Mario Blandini, Tintri chief marketing officerMario Blandini

The main use cases include workload consolidation, home directories and user profiles, Blandini said.

Tintri arrays are designed as storage for virtualized environments with VMware. Nexenta's NexentaStor delivers file services on top of physical or virtual infrastructure.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is known mostly for disk and flash storage for high-performance computing. DDN bought Tintri out of bankruptcy in 2018. In May, DDN swooped in to pick up Nexenta, a pioneer in software-defined storage.

The NexentaStor VSA for Tintri is the first joint engineering by the companies as DDN subsidiaries. It lays the groundwork for DDN to establish a greater presence in virtual environments, said Henry Baltazar, a storage analyst at 451 Research in San Francisco.

"What Tintri is really good at is storage for VMs, but they were missing the file element to do shared file storage for multiple VMs. What they're doing is using Nexenta together with Tintri as one vendor to provide simplified management," Baltazar said.

Storage can be managed with a command-line interface, Tintri's VMware vCenter plugin or the NexentaFusion console.

"VMware administrators are being tasked with more storage management duties, but they need it to be as easy as possible," Baltazar said.

Tintri licensing options

Blandini said Tintri by DDN customers with current support contracts can obtain the NexentaStor VSA as a separate license. It does not require an upgrade of the TintriOS operating software.

The annual license includes up to 8 TB of file storage with support and maintenance. Customers can purchase additional licenses that support larger storage capacities. Tintri by DDN did not disclose specific licensing costs.

Tintri at VMworld will also preview the first combined release of TintriOS operating software and Tintri Global Center (TGC) infrastructure management. TintriOS v4.5 adds data encryption to support Federal Information Processing Standards. The latest Tintri Global Center release removes the requirement to access individual VMstore data stores to perform management tasks.

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Why is file storage a necessary addition for Tintri by DDN's hybrid block arrays?
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