If you've ever worked in a remote office or branch office (ROBO), then you know sometimes you feel like you're far removed from all the good stuff happening back at HQ, such as regular backups, rapid problem fixes, and the other added perks of having an IT staff on site. Atlantis Computing can't put IT staff in your ROBO sites, but it can help you put a hyper-converged appliance in those locations.
I spoke with Seth Knox, VP of Product Marketing, from Atlantis Computing about his new hyper-converged appliance known as the Atlantis Hyperscale CX-4 for a podcast covering the announcement of the new appliance offering plus some other exciting news.
Seth Knox Podcast. Length: 16:54 mins. MP3 format. Rated G for all audiences.
Seth and I discuss the Hyperscale CX-4's performance, applications, ROBO setup, and its scalability. You'll find out why the CX-4 is a great storage, compute, networking, and virtualization device.
From the Atlantis Computing website:
IT organizations are being challenged more than ever to deliver information to the enterprise seamlessly across distributed locations throughout the world. Traditional remote or branch office site infrastructure is expensive, and very difficult to properly manage. With limited power, space, bandwidth, and on-site IT expertise, responding to the needs of the business can seem impossible.
Atlantis enables organizations to simplify their remote and branch office infrastructure with less hardware and at significantly less cost. The Atlantis Hyperscale appliance allows IT to deploy in less than an hour an entire infrastructure that is simple and easy to centrally manage with limited resources. Organizations can be confident delivering mission critical applications with powerful data protection to maintain business continuity.
At one time (two years ago), I would not have been excited about an all flash array. One reason is because of the sheer expense. For the amount of money a company would have spent on a comparable appliance, the company could have built a very attractive SAN. But now that flash storage has dropped in price to the point where it makes sense to leverage its efficiency and its speed, it's time to reconsider it as a reasonable choice. The fact that you can get into a 4 TB all flash array appliance with the extensive list of features for as little as $43,000 is almost an unbelievable statement.
The second reason is that flash speeds and durabilities were a bit questionable. Now that the technology has risen to meet those needs, it's no longer an issue. Flash storage is reliable and far more durable than its magnetic counterparts. MTBFs measured in millions of hours instead of tens of thousands is a huge improvement in durability.
But the SAN solution that a company would have purchased would have also come bundled with a lot of complexity--so much complexity that usually requires a storage technician to handle. Atlantis' appliances have removed the complexity to the point where anyone at a remote office can plug one in and proceed through the easy setup. I don't believe that Atlantis' plan is to replace all SAN environments, but it does plan to replace complex and unwieldy storage, compute, and virtualization environments in ROBOs where such systems could not be supported.
My final reason for disliking flash arrays, and I hate to admit this, was that I felt that the technology was too new. I'm not one to jump on every new technological bandwagon that comes along. I needed to see a bit of proof and some improvement before taking the flash leap. At technology shows, I would see people looking in awe at the new flash arrays like they were something other worldly and often making a wide path past the booths that housed them.
Yes, I'm a techno-skeptic. I need to see some real world case studies. I need to hear the pain points. I need to live vicariously through someone else who has felt the pain, paid the price, and come out on the other side a bit wiser.
These days flash arrays are common. The difference in flash arrays is not really in speed or in efficiency anymore, it's in the management software, the controllers, the deduplication technology, and the customer service. You'll notice in the partner solutions graphic (above) that the price of the device includes three years of support. That's three years of global 24x7 support, four hours parts replacement standard, centralized support by Atlantis Computing and backend support by its partners: Dell, Cisco, HP, Lenovo, and Supermicro.
For those of you who want to solve the problem of data replication between sites and reducing the complexity of your environment, especially for the folks in your ROBOs, a simple, efficient, and modular storage, compute, and virtualization solution might be right for you.
I would love to hear of pain points associated with managing ROBOs and how you've dealt with them. I'd also like to know if any of you take the Hyperscale CX-4 appliance for a spin. Tell me what you're doing and how you're doing it. Use the comments section to start the discussion.