VMworld ZFS storage system supplier Nexenta has dived into the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) pool, with an automated storage provisioning product, claiming that what took days now takes minutes.
The NexentaVDI product deploys NexentaStor as a virtual storage appliance – the software running inside a virtual machine – across a vSphere cluster. Deployment is based on user-provided data such as desktop pool name and type, desktop user numbers and target performance levels. Nexenta automatically sets up a desktop storage pool, and tunes ZFS and the VSA with these inputs. It says it handles the requirements of both persistent and non-persistent desktops.
Jim Fitzgerald, Nexenta's business development VP, says this can save a lot of time because it has been done manually up to now: "A process that used to take days and an army of storage and virtualisation specialists has been almost fully automated and now takes a matter of minutes.”
Fitzgerald told us that ZFS can use flash to ease the burden on storage I/O caused by VDI's random write workload.
A VMware guy is in agreement. Parag Patel, the company's global strategic alliances veep, had this to say: “The NexentaVDI plug-in offers an improved level of simplicity, validated performance and auto-optimisation."
Nexenta told us it grew revenues 465 per cent in its latest quarter compared to the year-ago quarter. The firm employs nearly 150 people and sales leader John Ash has 30 open posts.
El Reg was told by Nexenta that the company was in the process of selling the VDI product to a big British bank, but no name was provided. We were told during the briefing that we should be thinking of an organisation the size of a major UK High Street banking name. The bank has been evaluating Nexenta for a year. The software won't be used for running mission-critical trading systems; instead it will be used for storing PST files and the like – unstructured data.
What does the bank like about Nexenta? Ash pointed to Nexenta's ZFS functionality, which according to the sales leader is "the equivalent or better than anything EMC and NetApp offer", the flexibility to use any back-end storage hardware down to JBODs, and, naturally, lower storage costs. Ash said: "We're cheaper – aggressively so..."
He talked of another bid somewhere in Asia, where Nexenta is competing against NetApp, which allegedly offered a price 96 per cent below list on some FAS 3000s which Ash said was still more expensive than Nexenta. That sounds fantastical but Ash is insistent: "It's below their costs; they'll buy the business, but will they offer a guarantee to keep those prices for three years?" ®