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Q&A: Interview with Pivot3, Talking VDI, vSTAC, VMware Mirage and More

The VDI market has been heating up again this year.  And Pivot3, a provider of converged storage and compute appliances, have been having a busy October delivering technology in this VDI market.  I recently had the chance to catch up with Lee Caswell, the company's founder and chief strategy officer, to find out more.  Just in the month of October alone, Pivot3 has expanded efforts in the EMEA market, launched a new vSTAC VDI appliance, partnered with Samsung, and announced new support for VMware's new technology gained from the Wanova acquisition.

VMblog:  Many questions have arisen regarding the practicality of VDI given the upfront costs. What is Pivot3 doing to lower the cost-of-entry for enterprises?

Lee Caswell:  Customers often have the expectation, usually based on their experience with server virtualization, that VDI will save them money. Now there are a lot of great reasons to deploy VDI but it's been pretty tough to find virtual desktop infrastructure that can match the price of a cheap laptop. The news here is that the latest Pivot3 VDI R2 appliances have cracked the elusive $200 barrier to deliver virtual desktops at cost-parity with their physical counterparts.

VMblog:  What features will customers find advantageous about the vSTAC VDI R2 appliance in addition to the attractive price?

Caswell:  Customers gave us thoughtful and direct feedback that we carefully engineered into the time-proven winning formula in technology - give users more for less and make technology easier to use. On performance, we adopted the latest Intel CPUs to increase the desktops per appliance by 25%, we increased the max RAM in each appliance by up to 400% to support new 64bit desktop OS requirements, and we redirected repetitive reads to system-level RAM cache by leveraging the new VMware View Storage Accelerator. For ease of use, we added full performance VDI support based on scale-out 1GE connectivity so that customers could get started today with 1GE and migrate over time. And lastly, we now let customers mix and match our VDI appliances with our storage-only appliances to more easily manage the mix of compute and storage in a converged array.

VMblog:  The vSTAC VDI R2 is paired with VMware technology. How will this enhance the application's capabilities?

Caswell:  We're an all-VMware solution at this point and that's an advantage for end users and resellers alike. There's a responsibility that a converged appliance manufacturer takes on for understanding the entire application stack and we take this responsibility seriously with a solution that is tested and certified up and down the VMware product line. We're certified for the Rapid Desktop Program, for the Mobile Secure Desktop User, for the Remote Branch Office User, and for the AlwaysOn Point of Care Healthcare User. We don't stop at testing VDI storage and server capabilities - we work through all of the software components a user is likely to need. So we extend our testing to include partner solutions beyond VMware such as Trend Micro for AV, Teradici for PCoIP acceleration and Samsung for thin client support.

VMblog:  When will the product be available and what are the out-of-pocket costs?

Caswell:  vSTAC VDI R2 appliances will be available to order in November. List pricing starts at $29,999.

VMblog:  How does Pivot3's ability to support the latest VMware MirageTM technology deliver an optimized solution for organizations that rely on remote branch desktop deployments that are centrally configured and managed, but have locally deployed performance?

Caswell:  VMware Mirage offers some compelling layering technology that can be used for managing and protecting both physical and virtual desktops. While the first implementations of Mirage are focused on physical desktops, we'll be working closely with the Mirage team to show how virtual desktops running on Pivot3 infrastructure can tap into this new layering technology just as we support features such as vMotion and management software like vCOPS and vCenter.

VMblog:  What has stemmed from your recent partnership with Samsung?

Caswell:  We've worked closely with Samsung to prove that the combination of Samsung Cloud Displays and Pivot3 vSTAC VDI Appliances is a test-complete, cost-effective solution. While resellers have always known that a tested solution reduces risk in the field, they are just starting to realize that converged VDI appliances offer the best opportunity to create a winning VDI bid. That's because traditional SAN products and physical servers required for the same functionality cost up to 50% more than a converged appliance. Time spent evaluating and promoting converged appliances has a much higher return than trying to negotiate a better price on a thin client. So we're seeing resellers leveraging the known Samsung brand at the endpoint device and introducing the simplicity, cost, power and cooling benefits of Pivot3 appliances to clinch the deal with either improved margins or lower bid costs on deals ranging from 250 to 2500 desktops.

VMblog:  You've also unveiled two new "View-in-a-box" bundles for the ArrowECS partner network in EMEA. What will these bundles provide and who will be your target customers?

Caswell:  We have two bundles teed up for ArrowECS partners: "View-in-a-box 250" and "View in a Box 500" which support 250 and 500 desktops respectively. These bundles are targeted for customers in state and local government, education, healthcare and financial services where enterprise reliability is valued, predictable performance is a must and cost-effectiveness vis-à-vis physical desktops is critical. The View-in-a-box 250 includes 250 VMware View licenses and three Pivot3 vSTAC VDI R2 appliances; the View-in-a-box 500 bundles 500 VMware View licenses with five Pivot3 vSTAC VDI R2 appliances.

VMblog:  You all seemed to have had a very active start to the month of October. How will Pivot3 keep this momentum in the VDI market heading into the final months of the year?

Caswell:  We're turning the customer qualification process on its head and that has resellers paying attention. Rather than trying to force-fit VDI on all customers, we're helping resellers qualify new opportunities and we have a filter sales model that helps our partners maximize the efficiency of their selling process. That sales process help, combined with our seamless linear scaling message, is taking root in a repeatable and profitable selling motion that is going to be exciting to watch.

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Thanks again to Lee Caswell, founder and chief strategy officer from Pivot3 for taking time out to speak with VMblog and answer a few questions.

Published Friday, October 12, 2012 2:34 PM by David Marshall
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Q&A: Interview with Pivot3, Talking VDI, vSTAC, VMware Mirage and More « VT News - (Author's Link) - October 12, 2012 5:44 PM
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