Home Industry Strategy Tintri taking on ANZ enterprise storage market

'Smart storage' vendor Tintri is setting its sights on local banks, insurance companies, telcos and service providers.

"We're late to market in ANZ," Tintri's APAC vice president Peter Molloy admitted to iTWire - the company's local operation wasn't established until early 2014 - but he sees that as an advantage because Tintri is now shipping its fourth-generation products, it has a recognisable installed base in other regions (eg, AMD), and good systems-management features.

Tintri's application-aware and virtualisation-aware approach to storage dramatically reduces setup and ongoing management by removing the "knobs and dials," he said.

Initial setup only takes around 10 minutes; head of ANZ channels and marketing Roger Mannett pointed out that is less time than it takes to physically install the device into a rack.

One of the company's first Australian companies was Deakin University, and when Tintri staff arrived to carry out the installation they found university employees had already done the job.

The migration of data from old storage systems to a Tintri array is also very simple: just drag and drop, said Mr Mannett.

This is in marked contrast to the situation with other storage vendors, where data migration is the biggest pain-point of the project, Mr Molloy said. But with Tintri, you just copy data until the performance or capacity gauge shows the array is reaching its limit.

Furthermore, multiple devices - currently up to 64 - can be managed from a single console, making it possible for one person to look after a global network, providing they could call on the services of someone on-site to hot-swap any modules that needed replacement.

Tintri Molloy Mannett

Peter Molloy and Roger Mannett

The application-aware and virtualisation-aware approach provides visibility of all I/O requests, he said, so it's easy to see where any bottlenecks are occurring, preventing the usual finger-pointing between the server, storage and network teams.

It also provides performance isolation, so "you don't suffer from 'noisy neighbours'," he said. "For a service provider, that's almost nirvana."

As for performance, the 'flash first' design means 99% of I/O is handled by flash, with disk storage used to lower the average cost per gigabyte. Inline compression and deduplication is applied, and only cold data blocks are moved to disk.

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Tintri is experiencing an 2.5x repurchase rate in the same year - organisations are buying an array, realising it lives up to the company's claims, and then buying additional units. "Seeing is believing," Mr Molloy said.

The problem is that potential customers think it sounds too good to be true, he said, but Tintri users find that as little as one person-hour per week is enough to manage storage for thousands of virtual machines.

In some circumstances this simplicity can work against Tintri as storage managers sometimes see the product as a threat to their jobs, so the company sometimes has to reach C-level executives to ensure the benefits are properly considered. On the other hand, virtualisation teams recognise the value of the product as it makes configuring storage much like configuring virtual machines.

Tintri Architecture

"We take the grunt work out of managing data," Mr Molloy said, freeing up skilled staff to work on orchestration and automation requirements that are specific to the organisation.

Furthermore, around 70% of Australian enterprise IT groups have moved to a shared services model, resulting in a more complex environment - but using Tintri and other products to operate an internal cloud can actually simplify things.

Asked whether this week's deal between Dell and Nutanix is likely to have any effect on Tintri, Mr Molloy thought that the potential channel conflict might provide additional opportunities for Tintri, otherwise "nothing really changes for us. All of Nutanix's weaknesses, which are inherent to Nutanix's software architecture, are still applicable when Dell OEMs Nutanix's software to run on their hardware. We don't see Nutanix's N+1 redundant architecture as being scalable for our target market, which are large scale enterprise and cloud environments, due to performance and latency issues, as well as complex sizing requirements."

Current Tintri products are for use with VMware and Citrix XenDesktop, but as reported last month, the company has announced it will ship Tintri for Hyper-V later this year.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

 

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