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Q&A with Rob Commins of Tegile Systems - Talking Virtualization and Storage

Back in May, I had the chance to meet up with Tegile Systems while at Citrix Synergy 2012.  During the show, I had the opportunity to quickly video tape Rob Commins, VP of Marketing at Tegile Systems, and learn more about the company's new generation of enterprise storage Zebi arrays.  You can watch that video here.

This week, I had the opportunity to catch up with Rob yet again.  And this time, without the distraction of thousands of people around us, I was able to dig in a bit deeper and find out more great information about this company and what they are doing in the storage market as well as the server and desktop virtualization markets.  

 

VMblog:  Tegile Systems is relatively new in the storage market.  Explain if you would to VMblog readers, what does the company offer?

Rob Commins:  Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of affordable feature-rich storage arrays that are dramatically faster and can store more data than standard arrays. Incorporating Tegile's unique metadata handling technology, MASS, Zebi arrays deliver caching and on-the-fly de-duplication and compression for primary storage. Customers in the financial services, manufacturing, government, legal, healthcare and transportation industry sectors have deployed Zebi as primary storage in virtualized server, virtualized desktop (VDI), file services and database environments as well as for replicated storage. The company is led by a successful team of industry veterans and is committed to a philosophy of "customer first."

 

VMblog:  What application areas or use cases are most suited to your solution?

Commins:  About 80% of our business goes into server and desktop virtualization. On the server side, we are typically engaging with customers who are deploying their second or third generation platform, and have come to the realization that using traditional storage architectures will not meet their performance and budget requirements. On the desktop side, IT managers are finding that running a proof of concept with tens of desktop instances on top of traditional storage is a relatively simple exercise, but at scale, say 100s or even 1000s of desktop instances, the performance of the traditional array quickly becomes a critical path problem.  Tegile's Zebi arrays address these problems very nicely.

 

VMblog:  What makes Tegile's systems so effective in virtualized environments?

Commins:  First and foremost, Tegile's patent-pending MASS technology accelerates performance to solid state speeds without sacrificing the capacity or cost advantage of hard disk storage.  Our Zebi arrays leverage the performance of SSD and low cost per TB of high capacity disk drives to deliver five times the performance and up to 75% less capacity required than to legacy arrays. We don't simply use SSDs as a tier of storage in our arrays, Tegile has architected the performance benefits of SSDs throughout the data path, giving every application a performance boost.

Through the deep integration of SSD and caching technologies, Tegile systems deliver five times the performance of legacy arrays. These performance gains are recognized by applications even when their data ultimately lands on hard disk drives. High IOPS and low latency for everyone.

Additionally, up to 75% less capacity is required with Tegile Zebi arrays. In-line compression and de-duplication are used on DRAM, SSD and hard disk drive media throughout the array. This allows customers to significantly reduce their acquisition and operational cost of storage. All application data is reduced - Other solutions in the market with de-duplication are either all-flash arrays that are very expensive when compared to Tegile, or their performance is not suitable for high performance, low latency environments such as server and desktop virtualization.

 

VMblog:  How do Tegile arrays differ from traditional legacy storage?

Commins:  Tegile Systems' enterprise storage arrays balance performance, capacity, features and price for virtualization, file services and database applications. Our hybrid arrays are significantly faster than legacy arrays and significantly less expensive than all solid-state disk-based arrays. Our software simplifies administration and optimizes storage for various applications including virtualization, file services and databases. Our hardware provides high performance at low cost: Quad-core Xeon processors, significant memory, sizable read and write caches using flash, multiple networking interfaces, dual power supplies and hot disk spares. Additionally, Tegile's patent-pending MASS technology accelerates performance to solid state speeds without sacrificing the capacity or cost advantage of hard disk storage.

In terms of current systems, Tegile's Zebi line of hybrid storage arrays is up to 5 times faster than all hard disk-based arrays and significantly less expensive than all solid-state disk-based arrays. The usable capacity of a Zebi is up to 5 times its raw capacity because of Tegile's on-the-fly data compression and de-duplication technology. Zebi provides better data protection than standard arrays with its no-single-point-of-failure architecture, built-in snapshot, replication, near-instant recovery, on- or offsite fail-over capabilities. Zebi arrays integrate easily into both SAN and NAS environments. Most of the mainstream disk arrays available today are based on graying product lines dressed up with incremental modifications. These over-priced systems are based on old architectures, legacy hardware, complex command line management interfaces, and pay-by-feature software.

 

VMblog:  What are some of the biggest problems that companies face when deploying storage solutions?

Commins:  Today companies are implementing server virtualization, desktop virtualization, shared databases and file services -- all of which not only demand high capacity storage, but also high performance storage that can handle high volume transitions and a larger number of concurrent users. Advances in data reliability, protection and efficiency, such as RAID, compression and de-duplication, also demand better performance. As a result, IT managers need to rebalance the key requirements (capacity, performance, compatibility, usability (fit for purpose), reliability, data protection and value for money) for storage in order to maintain an efficient IT infrastructure that supports critical business operations and applications.

 

VMblog:  Today virtualization is on every Data Center Manager's mind. How do you solve the challenges that virtualization brings?

Commins:  Virtualization brings challenges. Server virtualization puts greater demands on storage to deliver data without latency - clearly a problem for mechanical hard disk drives. Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI), whether based on VMware View, Microsoft Terminal Services, Citrix Xen or other solutions, notoriously cause disruptive boot storms. Low-latency solid state disk is only a partial solution as virtualized environments need high capacity, value, and advanced features in addition to performance for their storage.

Today's IT managers need storage arrays that deliver faster performance, higher capacities and robust data protection with near-instant recovery times. They want these arrays to be affordable and easier to use. Additionally, they want to work with a supplier that listens to their specific needs and provides customer support as an integral part of their offering, not as an afterthought.

We are seeing too that de-duplication and compression capability is a major development that's important to IT organizations implementing desktop virtualization (VDI) and server virtualization.

IT managers want high performance capabilities in order to mitigate the impact of "boot storms" and a growing user base.

IT is also looking to quickly backup and restore data. They want to conduct snapshots that can be scheduled every few minutes, every hour, etc., depending upon the criticality of the data. They want unlimited snapshot technology that is non-disruptive and space efficient to record changed data without duplicating existing data. These are all key points.

 

VMblog:  We've heard about data reduction technologies from other vendors, but they use lots of cautionary statements about performance.  Tegile does not use any of these cautionary statements.  Can you talk a little about that?

Commins:  The Tegile Zebi appliance supports in-line compression and block level de-duplication of all data before it is written to disk. It is not a post-processing batch job that is done after all the raw data is written to disk. By combining its unique technology and using high performance Xeon processors, Tegile ensures that the in-line compression and de-duplication does not add any latency to the Zebi. For backup, organizations typically store multiple copies of their full dataset, which is backed up on weekends. These full copies inherently have a lot of duplicate data. The Tegile Zebi array is able to detect duplicate blocks of data and avoid writing these duplicate blocks of data to disk. This not only saves disk space but also improves throughput speeds because the data does not have to be written again to disk. Tegile Zebi is able to offer similar benefits for other use cases such as virtual server / desktop environments where there is a lot of duplicate data.

 

VMblog:  What unique technology does Tegile deliver to customers who are looking to improve storage efficiency and performance?

Commins:  Tegile's patent-pending technology underpins the company's pioneering delivery of advanced, cost-effective storage for 21st century data centers. Tegile's Zebi array uniquely combines a Redirect on Write (ROW) file system with proprietary Metadata Accelerated Storage System (MASS) technology to realize the holy grail of storage - high performance, high capacity and high reliability at low cost. It combines this unique technology approach with best in class data protection features, the most reliable hardware and an extremely friendly user interface to take storage to a whole new level of usability.

Tegile's highly experienced team underpins its reputation as the IT manager's "innovation partner." When customers need help, real experts are there for them. When a customer provides feedback, Tegile executives evaluate it immediately. When multiple customers provide the same feedback Tegile take immediate action to see how it can benefit all customers. This simple process makes Tegile the ideal data storage partner for business, government and educational organizations.

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Once again, thanks to Rob Commins for taking time out to speak with VMblog.

About Rob Commins

Rob Commins has been instrumental in the success of some of the storage industry's most interesting companies over the past twenty years. As Vice President of Marketing at Tegile, he leads the company's marketing strategy; go to market and demand generation activities, as well as competitive analysis. Rob comes to Tegile from HP/3PAR, where he led the product marketing team through several product launches and 3X customer growth over three quarters. Rob also managed much of the functional marketing and operations integration after Hewlett Packard acquired 3PAR. At Pillar Data Systems, he was at the forefront of converged NAS/SAN storage systems and application-aware QoS in mid-range storage. Rob is also a veteran of StorageWay, one of the first storage services providers that launched cloud services.

About Tegile Systems

Tegile Systems is pioneering a new generation of affordable feature-rich storage arrays that are dramatically faster, and can store more data than standard arrays. Incorporating Tegile's unique metadata handling technology, MASS, Zebi arrays deliver caching and on the fly de-duplication and compression for primary storage. Customers in the financial services, manufacturing, government, legal, healthcare and transportation industry sectors have deployed Zebi as primary storage in virtualized server, virtualized desktop (VDI), file services and database environments as well as for replicated storage. The company is led by a successful team of industry veterans and is committed to a philosophy of "customer first." For more information on the company, visit www.tegile.com

Published Friday, June 29, 2012 7:47 AM by David Marshall
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Q&A with Rob Commins of Tegile Systems – Talking Virtualization and Storage « VT News - (Author's Link) - June 29, 2012 9:26 AM
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