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Intel-Backed MemVerge Debuts First Channel Program For In-Server Storage

Joseph F. Kovar

With MemVerge Memory Machine, channel partners can use a land-and-expand model where they start with a small deployment for a limited use case and then help customers expand the use cases, says Joe Barnes, MemVerge’s director of channels and alliances.

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MemVerge, a developer of enterprise-class software that virtualizes persistent memory in a pool for use as a high-performance in-memory storage tier, Monday unveiled its first formal channel program, one that includes support from the one of the company’s primary investors, Intel.

The MemVerge Memory Machine is software that virtualizes persistent memory such as Intel Optane with nonpersistent DRAM memory into a single memory pool to replace DRAM or solid-state storage technology, which is slower, to run enterprise applications in a server’s memory, said Joe Barnes, director of channels and alliances for the Milpitas, Calif.-based company.

And, unlike cache memory, the MemVerge Memory Machine makes 100 percent of the DRAM and persistent memory available for high-performance applications. It also includes memory snapshot and replication for fast recovery in case of a system crash, Barnes told CRN.

[Related: The 10 Hottest SSD And Flash Storage Devices Of 2020]

Because MemVerge Memory Machine is a software-defined service, it can also work with new types of future memory including high-band memory, GPU-based memory and memory on GPUs, he said.

“Today, the in-server memory is focused on DRAM,” he said. “DRAM is in every server. But the technology is approaching 60 years old. Intel and Micron got together to develop 3D XPoint persistent memory, which allows larger pools of memory than DRAM at half the cost. And, most important, it lets memory be persistent, so hot applications can take advantage of it. There’s no need to rely on the storage tier.”

Intel Optane technology stems from the joint development of the 3D XPoint memory technology, which is a nonvolatile memory that fits between higher-performance but expensive DRAM memory and the lower-cost ubiquitous NAND technologies common in SSDs and all-flash storage systems.

In addition to taking advantage of persistent memory to run applications, MemVerge Memory Machine increases memory capacity in a server, Barnes said. The typical Intel-based two-socket server has a maximum capacity of 3 TB of memory, or 6 TB if Intel Optane is used, he said. But with the MemVerge software, the maximum increases to up to 9 TB, he said.

“That allows more virtual machines to be deployed per physical server, or fewer servers needed to support a server grid,” he said. “Where memory was the bottleneck, we help eliminate that problem.

Because DRAM is still faster than persistent memory, the MemVerge Memory Machine can tier data between the two types of data and present both as a single pool of memory without needing a change to an application, Barnes said.

MemVerge initially came to market via alliances with nearly all of the server vendors and integrators including Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Penguin Computer, along with joint reference architectures with ISVs, Barnes said.

The company also has a handful of channel partners but no formal channel program, he said.

“Now we’re setting expectations for partners who commit to being a MemVerge partner,” he said.

The new MemVerge M3 channel program offers a unique approach to service with the Intel Tiger Team support, Barnes said. This pairs Intel-badged and MemVerge-badged employees to do sales and validation.

“We’ve found that customers looking for big memory solutions are hearing about MemVerge and Optane for the first time,” he said. “So after customers ask initial questions, we bring in Intel resources to decrease the sales time.”

MemVerge also has a rapid proof-of-concept program under which it keeps Intel servers with Optane in inventory to send out within three days to let partners help customers test the technology, he said.

The new channel program also provides channel partners with guaranteed margins, as well as increased margins for registered deals. Barnes declined to specify the margins other than to say they are above average for software sales.

The program also provides guaranteed renewals and a guarantee the company will remain 100 percent channel-focused, he said.

With MemVerge M3, the company promises to support every new Intel processor going forward, he said.

Partners who work with MemVerge can expect $5 of server and software sales for every $1 in MemVerge sales, Barnes said.

He cited Intesa Bank San Paulo, one of Europe’s largest banks, as an example . The bank was using a Hazelcast in-memory storage grid and was looking to expand it with in-memory cache to accelerate performance for workloads including fraud detection and risk analysis.

“For its first deployment, they needed a high ratio of servers to Hazelcast licenses,” he said. “We allowed them to increase density so they needed only half the number of servers expected. So the partner in Italy not only sold more servers for Hazelcast, but also the MemVerge software. It was the consolidation aspect that allowed them to increase the environment.”

With MemVerge Memory Machine, channel partners can use a land-and-expand model where they start with a small deployment for a limited use case and then help customers expand the use cases, Barnes said.

“This offers partners the opportunity to create recurring revenue streams,” he said. “And we see customers adopt our technology for a limited use case and then expand into new use cases.”

What MemVerge is doing is pretty impressive, said Aaron Cardenas, founder and CEO of P1 Technologies, a Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based solution provider with a history of being an early adopter of new technologies.

Cardenas, who told CRN that his company is currently evaluating the MemVerge technology, said that the use of nonpersistent memory is the next evolution of storage.

“We’ve moved from spinning disk to solid state, and now moving to the use of memory,” he said. “It’s not easy to do without also changing the applications. We’re close to evaluating it in our labs. We’ve exposed it to our teams, and they find it interesting. My CTO and some of our engineers confirm they find it very disruptive.”

Most early stage storage vendors don’t have real channel programs, making MemVerge fairly unique, Cardenas said.

“These guys are ahead of the curve as a startup,” he said. “They’ve hired some really good talent. And they now have a clearly defined channel program. Usually at this stage, a company is building a program or is inviting partners to build it for them. But MemVerge is ready.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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