Gridstore Builds On Scale-Out Storage To Intro Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Gridstore this week said it is building on its node-based scalable storage technology to offer its first hyper-converged appliances, bringing it into the nascent hyper-converged appliance business now dominated by such startups as Nutanix and SimpliVity.

Gridstore is taking advantage of its scale-out storage technology, which allows performance and capacity to automatically increase as new nodes are added, said George Symons, CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor.

The new hyper-converged infrastructure appliances now feature four server nodes per appliance, each with its own dual 10-Gbit Ethernet ports, Symons told CRN.

[Related: The Power Of One: New Converged Infrastructure Solutions]

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Converged infrastructure -- which combines server, storage, networking and/or virtualization resources so they can be managed as a single solution -- is a fast-growing part of the corporate data center. Gartner in June estimated the market for "integrated systems," which is its term for converged infrastructure, will grow more than 50 percent in 2014 over 2013 to reach $6 billion.

Unlike many of the hyper-converged infrastructure solutions on the market, the Gridstore solution scales in three ways, Symons said.

The first is to add additional Gridstore nodes, which increases both capacity and performance. Customers can also add additional Gridstore storage nodes to separately increase capacity or additional industry-standard servers from any vendor to separately increase performance, he said.

The primary initial target market for the new hyper-converged infrastructure appliances is virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, where virtual desktop administrators are looking to get away from their dependence on server and storage administrators, Symons said. Other target markets include remote and branch offices and Microsoft SQL Server customers, he said.

"We also expect a good business as customers look to migrate from Windows Server 2003," he said. "The appliances come with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V installed to provide ease of procurement, drop-in simplicity and a nice mix of performance and capacity."

Gridstore seems to have really thought through on its new hyper-converged infrastructure offerings, said Skip Gould, president and CEO of BrightPanIT, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based solution provider and a Gridstore channel partner for the past half year.

"Their storage is screaming fast," Gould told CRN. "And their hyper-converged solution looks great, too."

BrightPanIT does a lot of VDI implementations, mainly on Microsoft but also on other platforms, Gould said.

NEXT: Finding The Right Use Case For Gridstore's Hyper-converged Infrastructure

"VDI is an especially good fit for the new appliances," Gould said. "Big VDI deployments suffer from the performance of the storage underneath them. Unfortunately, a lot of people use VMware. But we've seen people moving key workloads virtualized on servers with VMware move to Gridstore see improvements."

VDI always seems slow when customers start adding users, Gould said.

"If the network is OK, the problem is always the storage," he said. "However, nothing argues like success. Gridstore's storage is so fast. They advertise four to six times the IOPs of other vendors, but we see six to eight times. If it comes to a bake-off, my bet is on Gridstore."

Gridstore is also depending on solution providers like BrightPanIT.

Symons said the company in the past depended heavily on storage-centric solution providers for a large part of its revenue, but it will be focusing on channel partners with Microsoft and virtualization experience for its new line of appliances.