PernixData Expands Multivendor Storage Performance Portfolio, Intros Free Version

Storage performance acceleration software developer PernixData Tuesday unveiled a platform that provides the data necessary to help customers optimize multivendor storage performance.

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor also introduced a new free version of its software for optimizing the memory and storage capacities of customers' servers to increase storage performance.

PernixData also has brought in an experienced channel executive to revamp its channel programs and communications.

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Kristen Carnes, who joined PernixData about four weeks ago after helping launch Nimble Storage's channel program, said she is looking to increase PernixData's channel velocity.

Carnes told CRN that she is now working on documenting PernixData's deal registration program to make it work consistently for partners. The company also is increasing its channel communications with its first-ever team dedicated to that task.

PernixData early next year plans to launch new channel programs, she said.

PernixData's software ties the flash storage and SSDs in multiple servers into a cluster to provide a high-performance storage tier for virtualized environments. The software also ties flash storage inside a server to storage capacity in a storage array.

PernixData's software is focused on managing the challenges of storage performance in virtualized environments by clustering customers' existing CPU, storage and memory resources to eliminate the need to purchase more hardware for the job, said Jeff Aaron, vice president of marketing.

"This is a real channel-friendly offering," Aaron told CRN. "It complements partners' existing server and storage business."

The ability of the PernixData FVP solution to work in multivendor storage environments is a key reason to partner with the company, said Ryan Makamson, data center engineer at Compunet, a Meridian, Idaho-based solution provider and a partner with PernixData for more than a year.

"One of the best things about PernixData is that its solutions are universal from a storage vendor perspective," Compunet's Makamson told CRN. "But it's not priced at a point that's exclusive. The software is very accessible."

PernixData Tuesday unveiled version 3.0 of its PernixData FVP, Aaron said.

New to FVP 3.0 is support for VMware's new vSphere 6.0 hypervisor, a new HTML 5 interface and PernixPlus, a health monitoring application that proactively sends notices to users or channel partners if it detects any issues.

More important, Aaron said, is the pending availability of FVP Freedom, a new version of FVP the company is making available to any customer for free with no limits on platform or on how long a customer can use it.

FVP Freedom differs in a few key areas from the full version of FVP, Aaron said. Unlike FVP, which optimizes storage performance for both read and write operations, FVP Freedom supports read operations only, he said. FVP Freedom supports RAM but not flash storage. Furthermore, he said, support for FVP Freedom will come from a community the vendor is building, and not directly from the vendor itself, he said.

FVP Freedom competes directly with performance acceleration software applications developed by storage vendors, Aaron said. "You can work with one vendor's hybrid flash array, and the vendor might try to sell you a $15,000 read cache," he said. "Why spend $15,000 when you can get our software for free?"

Compunet's Makamson said FVP Freedom makes the FVP technology more accessible then ever, even to mom-and-pop-size customers who might not otherwise be able to afford software to improve storage performance.

"I try to position FVP as an additional tool that customers can add to new or existing data centers," he said. "Now if the customer doesn't have the financial means to use the full version of the software, I can still suggest they use FVP Freedom. It may not do everything, but it cannot hurt a customer's environment."

Also new from PernixData is Architect, a software platform providing real-time analytics for storage devices and virtualized applications regardless of the underlying hardware.

Architect is a single tool for servers, virtualization and storage that sits in the hypervisor to collect data about virtual machines and storage hardware and provide real-time descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, Aaron said.

That data is targeted at providing solution providers with information they can use to configure the right mix of flash and disk storage to optimize storage environments both when deployed and into the future, he said.

"If a customer needs a certain level of performance for virtual machines, Architect provides recommendations," he said. "And it continuously monitors the environment so that if changes are needed, it provides new recommendations."

FVP 3.0 and Architect can be used as stand-alone applications, or can be tied so that Architect feeds the performance data to FVP 3.0 to provide an easy way to optimize the storage and server resources, Aaron said.

PernixData has not yet added the ability to automate the provisioning of resources based on information from Architect, but it may do so in the future, Aaron said.

"Some customers don't want the process automated," he said. "They want to learn about the issues, about what needs to be fixed. But we have received some requests for automation, and will add more automation over time."

Makamson said he is looking forward to seeing Compunet deploy Architect in its lab later this week.

Architect will help take the place of many vendor-specific tools from storage vendors like EMC and NetApp, he said.

"Before, customers had to rely on VMware to provide the information they need, or rely on the storage vendors," he said. "But that makes them beholden to the storage vendors who are in any case not looking at the virtual machines.

PernixData's Architect goes far beyond what VMware and the storage vendors can do, Makamson said. "It gets things at the hypervisor layer," he said. "These are data points we previously couldn't get at. That will help us as pre-sales engineers and implementation engineers."