Pivot3 Releases Acuity To Meet Rapidly Evolving Demands On Hyper-Converged Systems

Pivot3, a pioneer in the hyper-converged infrastructure market, released a new software platform Tuesday designed to power a greater variety of enterprise applications, and more of those applications simultaneously, on its hardware.

The Austin, Texas-based vendor introduced Acuity, which implements support for a state-of-the-art flash storage protocol, and adds advanced policy management features that can extend across hybrid cloud environments.

The upgraded product responds to growing demand for hyper-converged systems to enable use cases previously only implemented on more complex and expensive infrastructure, Pivot3 CEO Ron Nash told CRN.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Nutanix, SimpliVity, Pivot3 Are Tops In New Forrester Hyper-Converged Report]

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"This allows many more applications to run on our platform and run well on our platform," Nash said.

"It's kind of like putting a turbocharger on hyper-converged."

A Pivot3 partner told CRN that Acuity will give Pivot3 a leg up over larger hyper-converged players Nutanix and SimpliVity, which was recently purchased by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

"It's really going to be that differentiating factor when competing with those guys," said Stephen Pyott, national sales manager at Toronto-based Pivot3 partner Stage2Data.

In 2015, some 90 percent of Pivot3's new customers were looking to run one enterprise application on the infrastructure, such as virtual desktops or disaster recovery, often to supplement service to a regional outpost of the business, Nash told CRN.

But last year saw a new wave of adopters, the CEO said. One-third of those customers were buying hyper-converged infrastructure on which to launch multiple applications, looking for the systems to replace core data center functions.

Acuity delivers two enhancements that will support those broader use cases.

Pivot3 rearchitected its software and data path to support Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), a protocol from a consortium of vendors developed to accelerate access to flash storage.

NVMe, still relatively new to hyper-converged infrastructure, is five times faster than SATA flash, and twice as fast as SAS.

Around half of typical enterprise apps demand response times that can't be satisfied on hyper-converged infrastructure without leveraging NVMe, Pivot3's Nash told CRN. But the performance benefits that technology delivers enable 80 percent or 90 percent of enterprise workloads to run on Acuity.

Acuity also adds policy-based management, a necessity for modern enterprises that typically have thousands of applications running inside virtual machines.

IT administrators can pre-define response-time characteristics based on how critical each application is to business functions, or select applications that have priority in the case of failures in the cluster. They can also choose data sources to preserve and protect with the new functionality, he said.

Pyott said Stage2Data runs Pivot3's hyper-converged infrastructure in its own data center and resells it to on-premise customers.

Acuity gives the solution provider "the ability to actually run any application that's going to come our way," Pyott told CRN. The new platform unifies applications on one stack, creating "universal appeal."

And with the new management tools, Stage2Data can designate applications as Tier 1 mission-critical, guaranteeing they get resources in the event of a failure.

Businesses are still buying unique hardware for specific applications, he said.

"Organizations aren't really keen on building out silos for applications," Pyott told CRN. "Being able to consolidate that and run it on a single platform is huge."