This content is part of the Essential Guide: Working in a virtual machine environment: VM-aware storage

Tintri VMstore aims to scale to 1M VMs

Tintri's roadmap for its VM-aware storage calls for greater scale, load balancing and analytics to support large private and hybrid clouds.

Tintri Inc.'s 2016 roadmap calls for the ability to scale its storage to support 1 million virtual machines in a pool, while improving its VM distribution and analytics to support large clouds.

Tintri's executives laid out their VM-aware roadmap for Tintri VMstore users last week at Tintricity, a one-day conference in San Francisco on the eve of VMworld.

The long-term goal is to support all types of virtualization -- including containers -- to make Tintri's VMstore a dominant platform for hybrid cloud storage. Along with the larger scale and automated distribution, Kieran Harty, co-founder and CTO at Tintri, based in Mountain View, Calif., promised an analytics engine to facilitate capacity planning and management.

"Our goal is to scale to 1 million VMs with automation, self-service and analytics," Harty said. "We want to do all of this at scale, and make it simple."

Tintri claims its recently launched all-flash VMstore T5080 model can handle 5,000 VMs in a 2U box and up to 100,000 VMs in a rack. Harty said the key to increasing that scale tenfold will be load balancing and analytics.

Tintri allows users to provision storage without dealing with logical unit numbers and volumes.

"We want to make all of this simple," Harty said. "The term 'simplicity' is more overused by vendors than the term 'cloud.' Even EMC claims to be simple."

Harty demonstrated the analytics engine Tintri is building, which will make recommendations to improve performance and show the outcomes of following those recommendations. For example, a screen will show administrators that a specific array is in danger of running out of space or is over-subscribed. It will recommend the admin migrate a specific number of VMs to a specific array in the pool, and show how much space that will save or what the change in IOPS will be.

Harty said Tintri will also improve how it works with VMware through a new plug-in for vCenter and vRealize Operations Manager that will allow storage and system admins to take advantage of VMware's Virtual Volumes (VVOLs).

Only large service providers are likely to need to scale to 1 million VMs, but customers at the show were impressed with other features on the roadmap.

Keith Pratola, senior systems engineer at service provider Atlantic Metro, based in Parsippany, N.J., said he is looking forward to the improved load balancing.

Pratola said his company has about 750 virtual servers and 150 virtual desktops. It acquired a Tintri VMstore T820 earlier this year to go with its NetApp storage.

"Tintri is a huge time saver, because now I don't manage storage, I manage VMs," he said. "But load balancing was one of the things that concerned me in the beginning about Tintri. When you buy a Tintri appliance, you get one appliance. You can't expand with additional shelves like you can with other vendors. With the load balancing, you can buy any model Tintri you want and load balance across all of them. It's just like expanding on the original with an additional controller."

Will Allred, associate director of technology for the University of Arkansas' Fay Jones School of Architecture, said he also likes the automatic distribution capabilities on the roadmap.

"It's like Storage DRS that Tintri's handling," he said, comparing it to VMware's Distributed Resource Scheduler load balancing utility. "I really think the Tintri box is smarter than I am. So, let it run the storage and do whatever it thinks needs to be done."

We want all of your VMs. We'll care for them, feed them and clothe them. We want to be the storage of choice for virtualized applications and the cloud.
Ken KleinCEO at Tintri

Harty and Tintri CEO Ken Klein said they are looking to use the vendor's VM-aware capabilities to become the storage of choice for the cloud, as well as virtualization. He also promised native support for containers, which he called another flavor of virtualization.

"We're going to be able to build open clouds, private clouds and a mixture of virtual and private clouds," Harty said. "You don't get to the hybrid cloud without doing virtualization in some form."

Klein said the vendor has more than 800 customers, has shipped more than 2,000 Tintri VMstore appliances and has more than 400,000 VMs under management.

"We want all of your VMs," Klein said. "We'll care for them, feed them and clothe them. We want to be the storage of choice for virtualized applications and the cloud."

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