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Flash And HCI Collide, Pivot3 Purchasing NexGen Storage

By - Source: Pivot3
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Flash storage and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) represent two of the hottest growth segments in the datacenter, and the two worlds are crashing together as Pivot3 acquires NexGen Storage.

NexGen's mission to bring its hybrid storage appliances to market has taken it down a long and winding road over the last six years. NexGen Storage was founded in 2010, and Fusion-io acquired the company in 2013 for $119 million. Fusion-io provided the flash engine for the NexGen hybrid appliances, and NexGen was absorbed into the SanDisk family when SanDisk purchased Fusion-io in 2014.

However, SanDisk had visions of an all-flash datacenter, and the prospect of selling hybrid disk-based systems did not mesh well with its portfolio. SanDisk spun NexGen out last year, but NexGen continued to refine its product stack and emerged with an intensified focus on Quality of Service (QoS) control and data management. Its latest products, the N5-1500 and N5-3000, combine multiple tiers of flash storage (which includes RAM, PCIe and 2.5" SSDs) into one cohesive storage unit that offers granular QoS control. NexGen also signaled its intentions to employ NVMe technology, which represented a shift from Fusion-io flash products to other vendors.

Pivot3 provides hyperconverged solutions that feature its unique scalar erasure coding implementation. The two companies intend to marry the best attributes of each respective product into one cohesive hyperconverged platform that provides scalar erasure coding to all-flash and hybrid storage systems, and also brings QoS and dynamic provisioning (tiering) to HCI. The combined company will market the technology as Dynamic Hyper-Convergence.

Dynamic Hyper-Convergence will allow administrators to select the correct level of performance for each workload, thus avoiding the inefficiency of overprovisioning the infrastructure to handle peak workloads. The infusion of scalar erasure coding allows an organization to yield up to 94 percent usable storage, which is stellar in comparison to the overhead of a typical RAID implementation.

Atlantis Computing will line up opposite the Pivot3 team, as it also offers all-flash hyperconverged appliances. Atlantis is entrenched in the all-flash HCI market; it has established relationships with a broad ecosystem of partners, such as Dell, Supermicro, HP, Lenovo and Cisco. However, the unique hybrid and QoS capabilities of the combined Pivot3 products may challenge Atlantis, particularly in the value-centric ROBO segment. The price of flash continues to plummet, but it still cannot beat the price of disk (or even come close) in terms of upfront cost. The ability to combine the economics of disk with the performance of flash will afford Pivot3 some pricing flexibility.

The combined company will not leave NexGen customers in the cold; Pivot3 intends to market and enhance all of the existing NexGen products.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. The Board of Directors at both companies blessed the union unanimously, and it is natural to assume that the combined company will announce new products shortly after the transaction closes, which is expected in February 2016.